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Flag of the United Arab Emirates.svg
Regions with significant populations
 United Arab Emirates
c. 1,000,000[1]
 United Kingdom12,314[3]
 United States12,000[3]
 South Africa1,000[7]
Arabic (Gulf, Emirati, Modern Standard), English
Predominantly Sunni Islam
Minority Shia Islam
Related ethnic groups
other Arabs

The Emiratis (Arabic: الإماراتيون) are the native Arab citizen population of the United Arab Emirates. Their largest concentration is in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where there are about approximately 1.5 million Emiratis.[8]

Formerly known as the Trucial States or Trucial Sheikhdoms, the United Arab Emirates is made up of seven emirates, each of which had a dominant or ruling family. Abu Dhabi was home to the Bani Yas tribal confederation; Dubai settled in 1833 by an offshoot of the Bani Yas, the Al Bu Falasah; Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah are the home to the Al Qasimi or Qawasim; Ajman to the Al Na'im and Fujeirah to the Sharqiyin.


Sheikh Juma Al Maktoum (left) and Sheikh Saeed bin Maktoum Al Maktoum (right) of the Maktoum family

The United Arab Emirates is a union of seven emirates in which their history is entwined with various empires, such as those of Portugal and the United Kingdom. Envoys from the Islamic prophet Muhammad saw the islands convert to Islam around 630 C.E.

Later in the 16th century the Portuguese would battle the then dominant force in the Persian Gulf, the Safavid dynasty, for control of the region. During the 17th century, the Ottomans took control of the islands and UAE was known as the "Pirate Coast." By the 19th century, the British Empire had taken complete control of the land then called the Trucial States.[9] Oil was discovered in 1959. The Trucial States were under the control of the British Empire until 1971. Consequently, with weakening British control, the Trucial States became the UAE in 1971 with Ras al-Khaimah joining in 1972.[9]

The term Emirati comes from the plural of the Arabic word emirate (Arabic: إمارة), with adding the suffix -i. Each emirate is ruled by a Sheikh. The Bani Yas tribe forms the basis of many clans within the UAE. Sub-clans of the Bani Yas include[10]

The term "Emirati" also refers to Arabs with origins in the UAE. Many modern Emirati names are derived from these tribal names or offshoots of these tribes, for instance Mazroui (from Mazari), Nuaimi (from Naim) and Al Sharqi (from Sharqiyin).[11]


Reem Al Hashimi, Minister of State and Managing Director for the Dubai Expo 2020 Bid.

Emiratism (or Emirianism) is the advocacy of Emirati national identity. The government introduced a scheme in order to promote Emiratism by giving them jobs in the private sector and encouraging them to join private sector establishments in the workplace.[12] This is accomplished through several means, such as increasing the visibility of Emirati culture, by preserving Emirati cultural identity, and by preferentially employing Emiratis in the workforce. The latter policy is referred to as Emiratisation by the government.[13]


The word Emirati is a word derived from a combination of the word emir, which means "prince," and the Greek suffix -ate. It gradually came to mean the United Arab Emirates. The demonym Emirian has a similar root from except with the suffix -ian being added to emir. Rarer Emirian demonyms and adjectives include Emiri and Emiratian, both of which are unofficial and informal alternatives.[14] However, due to strong tribal allegiances, many Emiratis also self-identify by their tribal affiliations.[15] Historically, Emiratis were called Trucial Coasters[16] or Trucials.[17] Emiratis in ancient history were called Maganites.[18]

National symbols[edit]

Falcon training is one of the UAE's national symbols. These birds can be seen on the coat of arms of the United Arab Emirates. They were traditionally used for hunting, and trained by the Bedouin tribes. Most Emiratis view Sheikh Zayed as an essential component of Emirati nationalism,[19] Emiratis are proud of their nation's global name associated with tourist prospects, prefer interactions with fellow nationals, most are computer literate and adult Emiratis past born in the 21st century are more likely to be bilingual[20][21] There are many landmarks and sculptures in the country of teapots, water jugs and coffeemakers to symbolize the hospitality of the Emirati people. Due to the pearl-diving history of the Emirates, nautical sailing and other activities at sea are sometimes emphasized.[22] Due to its prominence throughout Emirati history in cultivation, date fruits play an important role in Emirati life. Another national symbol is the Arabic coffee pot with the elongated thin spout called a Dallah; a sign of Emirati generosity.

A dallah is a traditional Arabic coffee pot for serving Arabian coffee. It is a symbol of the Emirati culture, featuring on the United Arab Emirates dirham coin


The population of the UAE as of 2019 was 9.7 million[23] with a minority being Emiratis. UAE nationals make up 1 million.[1] Statistics for UAE nationals in 2018 as it follows:[citation needed]

Emirate Male Female Total Source
Abu Dhabi 204,108 200,438 404,546
Ajman 21,600 20,586 42,186
Dubai 127,641 126,959 254,600 [24]
Fujairah 32,486 32,374 64,860
Ras Al Khaimah 49,181 48,348 97,529
Sharjah 78,818 74,547 153,365
Flag of Umm al-Qaiwain.svg Umm Al Quwain 8,671 8,811 17,482
United Arab Emirates 522,505 512,063 1,034,568

Non-Emirati origin populations form the vast majority of the UAE (88.52%) and is composed of expatriates, with the largest groups hailing from South Asian countries such as India (2.62 million), Pakistan (1.21 million) and Bangladesh (706,000). There are also nationals of other GCC and Arab countries who live in the UAE. Members of other Asian communities, including Iran (454,000), the Philippines (530,000).[25]


Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan aka MBZ, the third president of the United Arab Emirates and the ruler of Abu Dhabi.

Emirati Arabic is a variety of Arabic used in the UAE. Emiratis mainly speak the Emirati Arabic dialect that is part of Gulf Arabic, but some speak Shihhi Arabic and Achomi or Larestani.[26]


Emirati culture has been described as a blend of Eastern Arabian, Islamic, and Persian cultures, with influences from the cultures of East Africa, the Indian Subcontinent and in recent years the West.[27]



Emirati man wearing a traditional Emirati headdress

The traditional dress often worn by Emirati men includes, the Kandura, an ankle-length white shirt woven from wool or cotton, the Ghutra, a traditional headdress usually made from wool, it provides protection from sunburn, dust, and sand, and it is usually worn alongside the Agal which keeps it in place.[28] This attire is particularly well-suited to the UAE's hot, dry climate.

Other traditional Emirati piece of clothing for men include:[28][29][30]

- The Bisht, a long black cloak embroidered and decorated with silver, copper, or gold of Persian origin, it is usually worn over the Kandura at special occasions.

- The Shemagh, similar to the Ghutra but made of heavier material and is more commonly worn by the younger generation.

- The Gahfiyah, also known as Taqiyah, a traditional hat of African origin usually worn under the Ghutra.

- The Faneela, a white vest worn under the Kandura

- The Wizar, a loose piece of undergarment worn under the Kandura that is tied around the waste

- The Na'al, heelless slippers made from leather.

- The Serwaal, an alternative to the Woozar, wide and baggy trousers held up by a drawstring or an elastic belt usually worn the Kandura

- The Tarboush, a long loose tassel attached to the Kandura

Emirati women wearing the traditional Emirati dress


The traditional dress most commonly worn by Emirati women is the Abaya, a simple, loose-over garment, usually black in color, it is often worn alongside the Shayla, a long rectangular headscarf, it usually either wrapped around the neck and tucked or pinned in place at the shoulders.[31][32][33]

Other traditional Emirati piece of clothing for women include:

- The Gishwah, a light see through fabric that is wrapped around the face

- The Battoulah, also known as Gulf Burqa, a metallic-looking fashion mask[34]

- The Jalabiya, also known as Kaftan, a colourful embroided dress, commonly worn during special occasions such as weddings, the dress is an important aspect of a traditional Emirati dance known as the Khaleeji folk dance.


The influence of Islamic culture on Emirati architecture, music, attire, cuisine and lifestyle are very prominent. Five times every day, Muslims are called to the prayer from the minarets of mosques which are scattered around the country.[35]

A band performs the Ayyala, which is a cultural dance derived from Arab tribes sword battles.

Music and dance[edit]

Emirati band performs Yowlah in an Emirati wedding. Yowlah is a cultural dance native to the UAE derived from tribal sword battles.

Emirati music varies to each area although most are on folklore's, some cultural dances are the horbya which well known all over the United Arab Emirates, The Ayala which is well known in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Other music is shalat which does not involve any type of instruments.


Islam is the largest and the official state religion of the UAE and the government follows a policy of tolerating existence of other religions, through the Ministry of Tolerance.

There are approximately 31 churches throughout the country, one Hindu temple in the region of Bur Dubai, 2 Sikh Gurudwaras,(with the biggest one located in Jebel Ali district of Dubai), and a Buddhist temple in the Al Garhoud of Dubai.[36] Emiratis are all Muslims, approximately 90% of whom are Sunni and the remaining 10% are Shia.[37]

The government gives freedom to people to choose their significant others.[38]

Genetics and Racial Classification[edit]

DNA tests of Y chromosomes from representative sample of Emiratis were analyzed for composition and frequencies of haplogroups, a plurality (45.1%) belong to Haplogroup J1-M267. Other frequent haplogroups divided between E (16.1%), R (11.6%), T (4.9%) and G (4.3%).[39][40]

Racial Classification of Emiratis[edit]

Emiratis, like any other middle easterners, are Caucasians based on a genetic study published in the European Journal of Human Genetics in nature (2019), Middle easterners, Bedouins, Mediterraneans and Emiratis are cacuasians and closely related to europeans and northern africans.[41]

Emiratis diaspora[edit]

Emirati ancestry, the result of emigration, also exist in other parts of the world, most notably in the Arabian Peninsula, Europe and North America. Population estimates are seen to have a very small diaspora, mainly because the UAE provides them with more than adequate welfare benefits, removing the need to live and work in other developed countries.[42]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Snoj, Jure (12 April 2022). "UAE´s population - by nationality". bq Magazine. Archived from the original on 21 March 2017. Retrieved 28 February 2017.
  2. ^ Canada, Government of Canada, Statistics (25 October 2017). "Immigration and Ethnocultural Diversity Highlight Tables – Immigrant population by place of birth, period of immigration, 2016 counts, both sexes, age (total), Canada, 2016 Census – 25% Sample data". 12.statcan.gc.ca. Retrieved 27 May 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Trends in International Migrant Stock: Migrants by Destination and Origin (United Nations database, POP/DB/MIG/Stock/Rev.2015)" (XLS). United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs. 2015. Retrieved 2 January 2017.
  4. ^ a b "Peoplemovin - A visualization of migration flows".
  5. ^ "Anzahl der Ausländer in Deutschland nach Herkunftsland (Stand: 31. Dezember 2014)". statista. Archived from the original on 7 July 2015. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  6. ^ "Muuttoliike muuttujina Vuosi, Muuttomaa, Maakunta, Sukupuoli, Ikä ja Tiedot". Tilastokeskuksen PX-Web tietokannat.
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  8. ^ "UAE population and statistical trends". Retrieved 25 December 2018.
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  10. ^ : The Government and Politics of the Middle East and North Africa Archived 5 November 2015 at the Wayback Machine. Long, Reich.
  11. ^ Heard-Bey, Frauke (1990). From Trucial States to United Arab Emirates. London: Longman. pp. 27–80. ISBN 0582277280.
  12. ^ Neil Patric (8 November 2008). "Nationalism and Internal Tensions in the UAE". The Institute of Energy Economics, Japan. Archived from the original on 4 July 2015. Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  13. ^ Kalir, Sur, Barak, Malini (2012). Transnational Flows and Permissive Politie.
  14. ^ Douglas, Allen (1994). Arab comic strips. p. 150.
  15. ^ "In the UAE the only tribe is the Emirati". Gulf News. Retrieved 25 December 2018.
  16. ^ Winder, Bayly (1965). Saudi Arabia in the Nineteenth Century. p. 33.
  17. ^ Marc J. O'Reilly. Unexceptional: America's Empire in the Persian Gulf, 1941–2007, p. 66
  18. ^ Winder, Bayly (1965). Saudi Arabia in the Nineteenth Century. p. 33.
  19. ^ Cross, Jay (2011). Informal Learning.
  20. ^ "Emiratis Want Crackdown On Tourists' Skimpy Dresses". Huffington Post. 6 July 2012. Archived from the original on 7 October 2014.
  21. ^ Mahdi, Ali (2003). Teen Life in the Middle East. p. 239.
  22. ^ Bruijn, Liza (2010). Doing the deal, globally. p. 140.
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  27. ^ Hurriez, Sayyid Hamid (16 December 2013). Folklore and Folklife in the United Arab Emirates. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-136-84907-7.
  28. ^ a b "Traditional Dress of UAE Emirati Dress for Men and Women". Retrieved 21 May 2021.
  29. ^ "Traditional Clothing in UAE". Dubai Blog. 26 August 2010. Retrieved 15 June 2022.
  30. ^ "Gulf: What differentiates the Dishdasha from the Kandora?". gulfnews.com. Retrieved 15 June 2022.
  31. ^ "Traditional Dress of UAE Emirati Dress for Men and Women". Retrieved 21 May 2021.
  32. ^ "What's the difference between a hijab, niqab and burka? - CBBC Newsround". Retrieved 15 June 2022.
  33. ^ Yarwood, Doreen (1978). The Encyclopedia of World Costume. Scribner. ISBN 978-0-684-15805-1.
  34. ^ "History Project: The burqa". The National. 1 December 2014. Retrieved 15 June 2022.
  35. ^ "UAE Culture". Uae.gov.ae. 1 June 2000. Archived from the original on 19 July 2009. Retrieved 15 July 2009.
  36. ^ Advanced Digital Technology http://www.adtworld.com (5 April 2008). "Gulfnews: Churches and temples in the UAE". Archive.gulfnews.com. Archived from the original on 31 July 2009. Retrieved 15 July 2009. {{cite web}}: External link in |author= (help)
  37. ^ There are also 2 Sikh Gurudwaras with the biggest one in Jebel Ali and a Buddhist temple in Al Garhoud.United Arab Emirates Religion
  38. ^ "United Arab Emirates". 31 October 2009. Archived from the original on 31 October 2009.
  39. ^ Cadenas, Alicia M.; Zhivotovsky, Lev A.; Cavalli-Sforza, Luca L.; Underhill, Peter A.; Herrera, Rene J. (March 2008). "Y-chromosome diversity characterizes the Gulf of Oman". European Journal of Human Genetics. 16 (3): 374–386. doi:10.1038/sj.ejhg.5201934. ISSN 1476-5438. S2CID 32386262.
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  42. ^ "Emiratisation won't work if people don't want to learn | the National". Archived from the original on 26 April 2016. Retrieved 26 April 2016.