Government figures shed light on education, crime and deaths on the road, providing a snapshot of life in the emirate.
Statistics illuminate life in Abu Dhabi, from cradle to grave
ABU DHABI // Drawn from government data and surveys, the Statistical Yearbook of Abu Dhabi 2010 paints a detailed picture of life in the emirate, from the danger on its roads to its rates of marriage and divorce. The yearbook, which was released by the Statistics Centre - Abu Dhabi (Scad) on Tuesday, contains 350 figures that provide an overview of the country's progress during 2009 and its needs for the future.
"The yearbook is a compendium of vital statistics," said Dr Peter Crossman, the assistant director general for technical affairs at Scad. "It gives authoritative figures which people can rely on for policy and decision making." As well as economic data it sheds light on social and demographic trends. However, Dr Natasha Ridge, a research fellow at the Dubai School of Government specialising in education, said the region still had some catching up to do. "There is a great lack of available statistics," she said. "Publications like the year book are useful, they provide good snapshot statistics, but as researchers what we really need is raw data that we can analyse ourselves. In the US and Australia this is always available online but there's a lack in the GCC in general."
Scad estimated the population of the emirate had grown by 4.5 per cent to 1.64 million, but without a census, this figure was based on underlying trends and sample surveys, said Dr Crossman. The centre will release more accurate figures this year, based on a door to door survey currently being conducted. The data showed a rapid increase in the youth population. There were an estimated 406,797 Emiratis, more than 40 per cent of whom were below the age of 15. Emiratis accounted for around 25 per cent of the total population. For expatriates, there was an imbalance between the sexes, with 2.3 men to every woman. The birth rate declined slightly from 18.1 per 1,000 population in 2008, to 17.7 last year. The rate among Emiratis showed a similar decline, from 33.4 per 1,000 to 33.1 per 1,000.
The UAE is often cited as one of the world's safest countries. Last year there were 55,691 crimes, according to the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department. At 3.4 crimes per 1,000 people, this would be one of the lowest rates in the world, however, it was unclear whether the statistics included reported crimes, or only those heard in court.
3.1 per cent of crimes were classified as felonies, including murder, rape, serious burglaries and fraud. The number of lawsuits filed by individuals and companies jumped dramatically, more than doubling from 2008 to 328,665 cases. As the financial crisis hit and grievances over unpaid wages became more commonplace the number of "workers related" cases doubled to 4,162 last year, from 2,119 in 2008 and 245 in 2007. The number of fires dropped by four per cent to 1,131 during 2009, but the number of deaths caused by fires increased from 23 to 28.
The divorce rate for Emirati women (calculated using statistics for the number married during 2009 divided by the number divorced) was 33 per cent, with a slightly lower rate of 30 per cent for men. These matched figures released by bodies in Sharjah and Dubai, which also showed roughly a third of marriages ended in divorce. The number of registered divorces declined by 1.4 per cent from 2008. Emirati women got married at an average age of 25.8 last year, while men were an average of 26.5, according to figures from the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department. For expatriates the average marital age was 25.3 for women, and 26.6 for men.
6.8 per cent of Emirati boys dropped out of secondary education in the 2008/2009 school year, compared to 3 per cent of girls. Regionally, the drop out rate for boys was highest in Al Ain where 8.5 per cent of boys dropped out.
6.3 per cent of Emiratis over 10 years old were illiterate. The vast majority of these, 71 per cent, were women. Meanwhile, 8.9 per cent of expatriates were illiterate, but 83 per cent of these were male. A clear shift from government to private education was also evident. The number of pupils in government schools dropped every year since 2005. In 2005 there were 127,136 students in state education in the emirate, compared to 121,565 in 2009, while the number in private schools rose from 123,773 to 157,199.
With one of the highest rates of road fatalities per capita in the world, accidents remained a major concern. Accidents increased by 4.4 per cent to 3,221 in 2009. However, the number of deaths fell from 376 in 2008 to 339 last year. The number of injuries also declined, according to the Ministry of Interior statistics. During 2009, 648 people were run over, while there were 541 accidents involving a car rolling over and 11 collisions involving animals. The majority of roads in the country (757km) were four lane dual-carriageways and there were 356.6 cars per 1,000 people, a similar rate to Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Ireland. In the capital the number of taxis rose to 6,777, an increase of 42 per cent, while Al Ain recorded a 4.6 per cent increase. The number of public transport vehicles in the capital rose by 22 per cent to 66,534 as new routes and buses were added.