Oman population

Oman population DEFAULT

Oman Population 2021 (Live)

Oman Demographics

Oman is a very ethnically diverse country with at least 12 spoken languages that represents its imperial past. Many Omani are from Baluchistan and the Swahili coast, and there are about 600,000 foreigners, mostly guest workers from Egypt, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, and the Philippines.

Oman is composed of Arabs, ethnic Balochis, ethnic Lurs, Swahilis, Hindus and Mehri. The Balochi are the largest non-Arab ethnicity and they are Iranian.

The median age is currently at 25.6 years of age, with a total life expectancy of 75.7 years.

The birth rate is at 24 births per 1,000 population. In contrast, Oman carries a death rate of 3.3 deaths per 1,000 population. This, in addition with immigration/emigration, contributes to a growth rate of 4.18% yearly as of 2018.

In terms of quality of life, less than 7% of the population struggles with access to either clean water or improved sanitation facilities. In addition, there are also more than 1.5 physicians and hospital beds available per 1,000 individuals residing in Oman.

The literacy rate in Oman is fairly strong, if somewhat divided between the sexes. The total percent ofthe population over the age of 15 that can read and write is estimated to be 93%, with males at 96% and females at only 86%.

Oman Religion, Economy and Politics

Religion among the population in Oman is widespread, with statistics from 2010 showing affiliation at Muslim 85.9%, Christian 6.5%, Hindu 5.5%, Buddhist 0.8%, Jewish <0.1%, other 1%, and unaffiliated at 0.2% of the population. Within the Muslim population, roughly three-quarters follow the Ibadi school of Islam. Sunni and Shias make up the rest of the population. Ibadism is very strict and followers must adhere to Sharia law both in private and public.

The economy in Oman is based largely in agriculture, fishing, and overseas trading. Since the discovery of oil in 1964, petroleum revenues have accounted for roughly 40% of Oman's GDP. In recent years, the country has been focusing on non-oil alternatives in anticipation for eventually running out of this natural resource, and natural gas has largely taken its place. In terms of agriculture, Oman grows a lot of bananas, mangos, alfalfa, wheat, vegetables, melons, and dates.

Politically, Oman is an absolute monarchy, meaning that there is a Sultan that is head of both the state and the entire government. The Sultan is decided through family lineage, and he gets to assign positions throughout the rest of the government. There are three levels of courts in Oman: the Elementary Court, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.

Oman Population History

Arab people have been known to live in the land that is now Oman since at least 700 AD. The Portuguese temporarily conquered the area in 1507, but they were forced out 150 years later. The Persians invaded the area in 1737, but their reign was much shorter and they were driven out by 1749.

Oil reserves were discovered in 1967, which set the foundation for the modern Oman economy. The Sultan of Oman was overthrown by his son in 1970 to liberalize and modernize the country. Fortunately, the new sultan was true to his word and extended voting rights to women and anyone over 21, and improved trading relations with the US.



Country in southwestern Asia

This article is about the Arabian sultanate. For the adjacent historical confederation named Trucial Oman, see Trucial States. For other uses, see Oman (disambiguation).

Not to be confused with Amman, which has the same spelling in Arabic as Oman.

Coordinates: 21°N57°E / 21°N 57°E / 21; 57

Sultanate of Oman

سلطنة عُمان (Arabic)
Salṭanat ʻUmān

Anthem: نشيد السلام السلطاني
"as-Salām as-Sultānī"
"Sultanic Salutation"
Location of Oman in the Arabian Peninsula (dark green)

Location of Oman in the Arabian Peninsula (dark green)


and largest city

23°35′20″N58°24′30″E / 23.58889°N 58.40833°E / 23.58889; 58.40833
Official languagesArabic[1]
Religion Islam (official)
GovernmentUnitaryIslamicabsolute monarchy

• Sultan

Haitham bin Tariq

• Crown Prince

Theyazin bin Haitham
LegislatureCouncil of Oman

• Upper house

Council of State (Majlis al-Dawla)

• Lower house

Consultative Assembly (Majlis al-Shura)

• The Azd tribe migration


• Al-Julanda


• Imamate established[2]


• Nabhani dynasty


• Yaruba dynasty


• Al Said dynasty


• Muscat and Oman

8 January 1856

• Jebel Akhdar War


• Dhofar Rebellion

9 June 1965 – 11 December 1975

• Sultanate of Oman

9 August 1970

• Admitted to the United Nations

7 October 1971

• Current constitution

11 January 2021

• Total

309,500 km2 (119,500 sq mi) (70th)

• Water (%)


• 2018 estimate

4,829,473[3][4] (125th)

• 2010 census


• Density

15/km2 (38.8/sq mi) (177th)
GDP (PPP)2018 estimate

• Total

$203.959 billion[6] (67th)

• Per capita

$47,366[6] (23rd)
GDP (nominal)2020 estimate

• Total

$62.305 billion[6] (75th)

• Per capita

$14,423[6] (49th)
Gini (2018)30.75[7]
HDI (2019)Decrease 0.813[8]
very high · 60th
CurrencyOmani rial (OMR)
Time zoneUTC+4 (GST)
Driving sideright
Calling code+968
ISO 3166 codeOM
Internet, عمان.


Oman (oh-MAHN; Arabic: عُمَان‎ ʿUmān[ʕʊˈmaːn]), officially the Sultanate of Oman (Arabic: سلْطنةُ عُمان‎ Salṭanat(u) ʻUmān), is a country on the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. Formerly a maritime empire, Oman is the oldest continuously independent state in the Arab world.[9][10] Located in a strategically important position at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, the country shares land borders with the United Arab Emirates to the northwest, Saudi Arabia to the west, and Yemen to the southwest, and shares maritime borders with Iran, and Pakistan. The coast is formed by the Arabian Sea on the southeast, and the Gulf of Oman on the northeast. The Madha and Musandam exclaves are surrounded by the UAE on their land borders, with the Strait of Hormuz (which it shares with Iran) and the Gulf of Oman forming Musandam's coastal boundaries. Muscat is its capital and largest city.

From the late 17th century, the Omani Sultanate was a powerful empire, vying with the Portuguese and British empires for influence in the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean. At its peak in the 19th century, Omani influence or control extended across the Strait of Hormuz to modern-day Iran, and Pakistan, and as far south as Zanzibar.[11] When its power declined in the 20th century, the sultanate came under the influence of the United Kingdom. For over 300 years, the relations built between the two empires were based on mutual benefit. The UK recognized Oman's geographical importance as a trading hub that secured their trading lanes in the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean and protected their empire in the Indian sub-continent. Historically, Muscat was the principal trading port of the Persian Gulf region. Muscat was also among the most important trading ports of the Indian Ocean.

SultanQaboos bin Said was the hereditary leader of the country, which is an absolute monarchy, from 1970 until his death on 10 January 2020.[12] According to the rules for succession to the sultanic throne of Oman, the son of the Sultan is usually announced as the new monarch. However, Sultan Qaboos bin Said did not have any children, and decreed in his last will and testament that his successor should be whichever member of the dynasty was deemed most suitable. Therefore, upon the death of Qaboos, the sultanic family named his cousin, Haitham bin Tariq, as the new Sultan of Oman.[13]

Oman is a member of the United Nations, the Arab League, the Gulf Cooperation Council, the Non-Aligned Movement and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation. It has sizeable oil reserves, ranking 22nd globally.[9][14] In 2010, the United Nations Development Programme ranked Oman as the most improved nation in the world in terms of development during the preceding 40 years.[15] A significant portion of its economy involves tourism and trading fish, dates and other agricultural produce. Oman is categorized as a high-income economy and ranks as the 69th most peaceful country in the world according to the Global Peace Index.[16]


The origin of Oman's name is uncertain. It seems to be related to Pliny the Elder's Omana[17] and Ptolemy's Omanon (Ὄμανον ἐμπόριον in Greek),[18] both probably the ancient Sohar.[19] The city or region is typically etymologized in Arabic from aamen or amoun ("settled" people, as opposed to the Bedouin),[19] although a number of eponymous founders have been proposed (Oman bin Ibrahim al-Khalil, Oman bin Siba' bin Yaghthan bin Ibrahim, Oman bin Qahtan and the Biblical Lot) and others derive it from the name of a valley in Yemen at Ma'rib presumed to have been the origin of the city's founders, the Azd, a tribe migrating from Yemen.[20]


Main article: History of Oman

Prehistory and ancient history[edit]

At Aybut Al Auwal, in the Dhofar Governorate of Oman, a site was discovered in 2011 containing more than 100 surface scatters of stone tools, belonging to a regionally specific African lithic industry—the late Nubian Complex—known previously only from the northeast and Horn of Africa. Two optically stimulated luminescence age estimates place the Arabian Nubian Complex at 106,000 years old. This supports the proposition that early human populations moved from Africa into Arabia during the Late Pleistocene.[21]

In recent years surveys have uncovered Palaeolithic and Neolithic sites on the eastern coast. Main Palaeolithic sites include Saiwan-Ghunaim in the Barr al-Hikman.[22] Archaeological remains are particularly numerous for the Bronze Age Umm an-Nar and Wadi Suq periods. Sites such as Bat show professional wheel-turned pottery, excellent hand-made stone vessels, a metals industry and monumental architecture .[23] The Early (1300‒300 BC) and Late Iron Ages (100 BC‒300 AD) show more differences than similarities to each other. Thereafter, until the coming of Ibadi Islam, little or nothing is known.

During the 8th century BC, it is believed that the Yaarub, the descendant of Qahtan, ruled the entire region of Yemen, including Oman. Wathil bin Himyar bin Abd-Shams(Saba) bin Yashjub(Yaman) bin Yarub bin Qahtan later ruled Oman.[24] It is thus believed that the Yaarubah were the first settlers in Oman from Yemen.[25]

In the 1970s and 1980s scholars like John C. Wilkinson[26] believed by virtue of oral history that in the 6th century BC, the Achaemenids exerted control over the Omani peninsula, most likely ruling from a coastal centre such as Suhar.[27] Central Oman has its own indigenous Samad Late Iron Age cultural assemblage named eponymously from Samad al-Shan. In the northern part of the Oman Peninsula the Recent Pre-Islamic Period begins in the 3rd century BC and extends into the 3rd A.D. century. Whether or not Persians brought south-eastern Arabian under their control is a moot point, since the lack of Persian finds speak against this belief. M. Caussin de Percevel suggests that Shammir bin Wathil bin Himyar recognized the authority of Cyrus the Great over Oman in 536 B.C.[24]

Sumerian tablets referred to Oman as "Magan"[28][29] and in the Akkadian language "Makan",[30][31] a name which links Oman's ancient copper resources.[32] Mazoon, a Persian name used to refer to Oman's region, which was part of the Sasanian Empire.

Arab settlement[edit]

Over centuries tribes from western Arabia settled in Oman, making a living by fishing, farming, herding or stock breeding, and many present day Omani families trace their ancestral roots to other parts of Arabia. Arab migration to Oman started from northern-western and south-western Arabia and those who chose to settle had to compete with the indigenous population for the best arable land. When Arab tribes started to migrate to Oman, there were two distinct groups. One group, a segment of the Azd tribe migrated from the southwest of Arabia in A.D. 120[33]/200 following the collapse of Marib Dam, while the other group migrated a few centuries before the birth of Islam from central and northern Arabia, named Nizari (Nejdi). Other historians believe that the Yaarubah from Qahtan which belong to an older branch, were the first settlers of Oman from Yemen, and then came the Azd.[25]

The Azd settlers in Oman are descendants of Nasr bin Azd, a branch of Nabataeans, and were later known as "the Al-Azd of Oman".[33] Seventy years after the first Azd migration, another branch of Alazdi under Malik bin Fahm, the founder of Kingdom of Tanukhites on the west of Euphrates, is believed to have settled in Oman.[33] According to Al-Kalbi, Malik bin Fahm was the first settler of Alazd.[34] He is said to have first settled in Qalhat. By this account, Malik, with an armed force of more than 6000 men and horses, fought against the Marzban, who served an ambiguously named Persian king in the battle of Salut in Oman and eventually defeated the Persian forces.[25][35][36][38] This account is, however, semi-legendary and seems to condense multiple centuries of migration and conflict into a story of two campaigns that exaggerate the success of the Arabs. The account may also represent an amalgamation of various traditions from not only the Arab tribes but also the region's original inhabitants. Furthermore, no date can be determined for the events of this story.[36][39][40]

In the 7th century AD, Omanis came in contact with and accepted Islam.[41][42] The conversion of Omanis to Islam is ascribed to Amr ibn al-As, who was sent by the prophet Muhammad during the Expedition of Zaid ibn Haritha (Hisma). Amer was dispatched to meet with Jaifer and Abd, the sons of Julanda who ruled Oman. They appear to have readily embraced Islam.[43]

Imamate of Oman[edit]

Omani Azd used to travel to Basra for trade, which was a centre of Islam during the Umayyad empire. Omani Azd were granted a section of Basra, where they could settle and attend their needs. Many of the Omani Azd who settled in Basra became wealthy merchants and under their leader Muhallab bin Abi Sufrah started to expand their influence of power eastwards towards Khorasan. Ibadhi Islam originated in Basra by its founder Abdullah ibn Ibada around the year 650 CE, which the Omani Azd in Iraq followed. Later, Al-hajjaj, the governor of Iraq, came into conflict with the Ibadhis, which forced them out to Oman. Among those who returned to Oman was the scholar Jaber bin Zaid. His return and the return of many other scholars greatly enhanced the Ibadhi movement in Oman.[44] Alhajjaj also made an attempt to subjugate Oman, which was ruled by Suleiman and Said, the sons of Abbad bin Julanda. Alhajjaj dispatched Mujjaah bin Shiwah who was confronted by Said bin Abbad. The confrontation devastated Said's army. Thus, Said and his forces resorted to the Jebel Akhdar. Mujjaah and his forces went after Said and his forces and succeeded in besieging them from a position in "Wade Mastall". Mujjaah later moved towards the coast where he confronted Suleiman bin Abbad. The battle was won by Suleiman's forces. Alhajjaj, however, sent another force under Abdulrahman bin Suleiman and eventually won the war and took over the governance of Oman.[45][46][47]

The first elective Imamate of Oman is believed to have been established shortly after the fall of the Umayyad Dynasty in 750/755 AD when Janah bin Abbada Alhinawi was elected.[44][48] Other scholars claim that Janah bin Abbada served as a Wali (governor) under Umayyad dynasty and later ratified the Imamate, while Julanda bin Masud was the first elected Imam of Oman in A.D. 751.[49][50] The first Imamate reached its peak power in the ninth A.D. century.[44] The Imamate established a maritime empire whose fleet controlled the Gulf during the time when trade with the Abbasid Dynasty, the East and Africa flourished.[51] The authority of the Imams started to decline due to power struggles, the constant interventions of Abbasid and the rise of the Seljuk Empire.[52][49]

Nabhani dynasty[edit]

Further information: Nabhani dynasty

During the 11th and 12th centuries, the Omani coast was in the sphere of influence of the Seljuk Empire. They were expelled in 1154, when the Nabhani dynasty came to power.[52] The Nabhanis ruled as muluk, or kings, while the Imams were reduced to largely symbolic significance. The capital of the dynasty was Bahla.[53] The Banu Nabhan controlled the trade in frankincense on the overland route via Sohar to the Yabrin oasis, and then north to Bahrain, Baghdad and Damascus.[54] The mango-tree was introduced to Oman during the time of Nabhani dynasty, by ElFellah bin Muhsin.[25][55] The Nabhani dynasty started to deteriorate in 1507 when Portuguese colonisers captured the coastal city of Muscat, and gradually extended their control along the coast up to Sohar in the north and down to Sur in the southeast.[56] Other historians argue that the Nabhani dynasty ended earlier in A.D. 1435 when conflicts between the dynasty and Alhinawis arose, which led to the restoration of the elective Imamate.[25]

Portuguese occupation of the coast of Oman[edit]

Further information: Ottoman–Portuguese conflicts (1538–1559), Battle of the Strait of Hormuz (1553), and Battle of the Gulf of Oman

A decade after Vasco da Gama's successful voyage around the Cape of Good Hope and to India in 1497–98, the Portuguese arrived in Oman and occupied Muscat for a 143-year period, from 1507 to 1650. In need of an outpost to protect their sea lanes, the Portuguese built up and fortified the city, where remnants of their Portuguese architectural style still exist. Later, several more Omani cities were colonized in the early 16th century by the Portuguese, to control the entrances of the Persian Gulf and trade in the region as part of a web of fortresses in the region, from Basra to Hormuz.

However, in 1552 an Ottoman fleet briefly captured the fort in Muscat, during their fight for control of the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean, but soon departed after destroying it.[57]

Several cities were sketched in the 17th century and appear in the António Bocarro Book of fortress.[58]

Portuguese presence in the 16th and 17th century in the Persian Gulf.

Yaruba dynasty (1624-1744)[edit]

Further information: Omani Empire

The Ottoman Turks temporarily captured Muscat from the Portuguese again in 1581 and held it until 1588. During the 17th century, the Omanis were reunited by the Yaruba Imams. Nasir bin Murshid became the first Yaarubah Imam in 1624, when he was elected in Rustaq. Nasir's energy and perseverance is believed to have earned him the election.[60] Imam Nasir and his successor succeeded in the 1650s in expelling the Portuguese from their coastal domains in Oman.[44] The Omanis over time established a maritime empire that pursued the Portuguese and expelled them from all their possessions in East Africa north of Mozambique, which were then incorporated into the Omani domains. To capture Zanzibar Saif bin Sultan, the Imam of Oman, pressed down the Swahili Coast. A major obstacle to his progress was Fort Jesus, housing the garrison of a Portuguese settlement at Mombasa. After a two-year siege, the fort fell to Imam Saif bin Sultan in 1698. Thereafter the Omanis easily ejected the Portuguese from other African coastal regions including Kilwa and Pemba. Saif bin Sultan occupied Bahrain in 1700. Qeshm was captured in 1720.[51][61] The rivalry within the house of Yaruba over power after the death of Imam Sultan in 1718 weakened the dynasty. With the power of the Yaruba Dynasty dwindling, Imam Saif bin Sultan II eventually asked for help against his rivals from Nader Shah of Persia. A Persian force arrived in March 1737 to aid Saif. From their base at Julfar, the Persian forces eventually rebelled against the Yaruba in 1743. The Persian empire then tried to take possession of the coast of Oman until 1747.[44][62]

18th and 19th centuries[edit]

After the Omanis expelled the Persians, Ahmed bin Sa'id Albusaidi in 1749 became the elected Imam of Oman, with Rustaq serving as the capital. Since the revival of the Imamate with the Yaruba dynasty, the Omanis continued with the elective system but, provided that the person is deemed qualified, gave preference to a member of the ruling family.[63] Following Imam Ahmed's death in 1783, his son, Said bin Ahmed became the elected Imam. His son, Seyyid Hamed bin Said, overthrew the representative of his father the Imam in Muscat and obtained the possession of Muscat fortress. Hamed ruled as "Seyyid". Afterwards, Seyyid Sultan bin Ahmed, the uncle of Seyyid Hamed, took over power. Seyyid Said bin Sultan succeeded Sultan bin Ahmed.[64][65] During the entire 19th century, in addition to Imam Said bin Ahmed who retained the title until he died in 1803, Azzan bin Qais was the only elected Imam of Oman. His rule started in 1868. However, the British refused to accept Imam Azzan as a ruler, as he was viewed as inimical to their interests. This view played an instrumental role in supporting the deposition of Imam Azzan in 1871 by his cousin, Sayyid Turki, a son of the late Sayyid Said bin Sultan, and brother of Sultan Barghash of Zanzibar, who Britain deemed to be more acceptable.[66]

Oman's Imam Sultan, defeated ruler of Muscat, was granted sovereignty over Gwadar, an area of modern-day Pakistan. Gwadar was a part of Oman from 1783 to 1958 . This coastal city is located in the Makran region of what is now the far southwestern corner of Pakistan, near the present-day border of Iran, at the mouth of the Gulf of Oman.[note 1][67] After regaining control of Muscat, this sovereignty was continued via an appointed wali ("governor"). Currently, Gwadar's residence speak Urdu and Balochi with many also knowledgeable in Arabic.

British de facto colonisation[edit]

The British empire was keen to dominate southeast Arabia to stifle the growing power of other European states and to curb the Omani maritime power that grew during the 17th century.[68][51] The British empire over time, starting from the late 18th century, began to establish a series of treaties with the sultans with the objective of advancing British political and economic interest in Muscat, while granting the sultans military protection.[51][68] In 1798, the first treaty between the British East India Company and the Albusaidi dynasty was signed by Sayyid Sultan bin Ahmed. The treaty aimed to block commercial competition of the French and the Dutch as well as obtain a concession to build a British factory at Bandar Abbas.[69][44][70] A second treaty was signed in 1800, which stipulated that a British representative shall reside at the port of Muscat and manage all external affairs with other states.[70] As the Omani Empire weakened, the British influence over Muscat grew throughout the nineteenth century.[59]

In 1854, a deed of cession of the Omani Kuria Muria islands to Britain was signed by the sultan of Muscat and the British government.[72] The British government achieved predominating control over Muscat, which, for the most part, impeded competition from other nations.[73] Between 1862 and 1892, the Political Residents, Lewis Pelly and Edward Ross, played an instrumental role in securing British supremacy over the Persian Gulf and Muscat by a system of indirect governance.[66] By the end of the 19th century, and with the loss of its African dominions and its revenues, British influence increased to the point that the sultans became heavily dependent on British loans and signed declarations to consult the British government on all important matters.[68][74][75][76] The Sultanate thus came de facto under the British sphere.[75][77]

Zanzibar was a valuable property as the main slave market of the Swahili Coast as well as being a major producer of cloves, and became an increasingly important part of the Omani empire, a fact reflected by the decision of the Sayyid Sa'id bin Sultan, to make it the capital of the empire in 1837. Sa'id built impressive palaces and gardens in Zanzibar. Rivalry between his two sons was resolved, with the help of forceful British diplomacy, when one of them, Majid, succeeded to Zanzibar and to the Omani domains on the Swahili Coast. The other son, Thuwaini, inherited Oman and the Asian domains. Zanzibar's influences in the Comoros archipelago in the Indian Ocean indirectly introduced Omani customs to the Comorian culture. These influences include clothing traditions and wedding ceremonies.[78] In 1856, under British arbitration, Zanzibar and Muscat became two different sultanates.[61]

Treaty of Seeb[edit]

The split between the interior region (orange) and the coastal region (red) of Oman and Muscat.

The Al Hajar Mountains, of which the Jebel Akhdar is a part, separate the country into two distinct regions: the interior, and the coastal area dominated by the capital, Muscat.[79] The British imperial development over Muscat and Oman during the 19th century led to the renewed revival of the cause of the Imamate in the interior of Oman, which has appeared in cycles for more than 1,200 years in Oman.[51] The British Political Agent, who resided in Muscat, owed the alienation of the interior of Oman to the vast influence of the British government over Muscat, which he described as being completely self-interested and without any regard to the social and political conditions of the locals.[80] In 1913, Imam Salim Alkharusi instigated an anti-Muscat rebellion that lasted until 1920 when the Sultanate established peace with the Imamate by signing the Treaty of Seeb.The treaty was brokered by Britain, which had no economic interest in the interior of Oman during that point of time. The treaty granted autonomous rule to the Imamate in the interior of Oman and recognized the sovereignty of the coast of Oman, the Sultanate of Muscat.[68][81][82][83] In 1920, Imam Salim Alkharusi died and Muhammad Alkhalili was elected.[44]

On 10 January 1923, an agreement between the Sultanate and the British government was signed in which the Sultanate had to consult with the British political agent residing in Muscat and obtain the approval of the High Government of India to extract oil in the Sultanate.[84] On 31 July 1928, the Red Line Agreement was signed between Anglo-Persian Company (later renamed British Petroleum), Royal Dutch/Shell, Compagnie Française des Pétroles (later renamed Total), Near East Development Corporation (later renamed ExxonMobil) and Calouste Gulbenkian (an Armenian businessman) to collectively produce oil in the post-Ottoman Empire region, which included the Arabian peninsula, with each of the four major companies holding 23.75 percent of the shares while Calouste Gulbenkian held the remaining 5 percent shares. The agreement stipulated that none of the signatories was allowed to pursue the establishment of oil concessions within the agreed on area without including all other stakeholders. In 1929, the members of the agreement established Iraq Petroleum Company (IPC).[85] On 13 November 1931, Sultan Taimur bin Faisal abdicated.[86]

Reign of Sultan Said (1932–1970)[edit]

Said bin Taimur became the sultan of Muscat officially on 10 February 1932. The rule of sultan Said bin Taimur, a very complex character, was backed by the British government, and has been characterised, not totally justly, as being feudal, reactionary and isolationist.[83][51][75][87] The British government maintained vast administrative control over the Sultanate as the defence secretary and chief of intelligence, chief adviser to the sultan and all ministers except for one were British.[75][88] In 1937, an agreement between the sultan and Iraq Petroleum Company (IPC), a consortium of oil companies that was 23.75% British owned, was signed to grant oil concessions to IPC. After failing to discover oil in the Sultanate, IPC was intensely interested in some promising geological formations near Fahud, an area located within the Imamate. IPC offered financial support to the sultan to raise an armed force against any potential resistance by the Imamate.[89][90]

In 1955, the exclave coastal Makran strip acceded to Pakistan and was made a district of its Balochistan province, while Gwadar remained in Oman. On 8 September 1958, Pakistan purchased the Gwadar enclave from Oman for US$3 million.[note 2][91] Gwadar then became a tehsil in the Makran district.

Jebel Akhdar War[edit]

Further information: Jebel Akhdar War

Sultan Said bin Taimur expressed his interest in occupying the Imamate right after the death of Imam Alkhalili, thus taking advantage of any potential instability that might occur within the Imamate when elections were due, to the British government.[92] The British political agent in Muscat believed that the only method of gaining access to the oil reserves in the interior was by assisting the sultan in taking over the Imamate.[93] In 1946, the British government offered arms and ammunition, auxiliary supplies and officers to prepare the sultan to attack the interior of Oman.[94] In May 1954, Imam Alkhalili died and Ghalib Alhinai was elected Imam.[95] Relations between the Sultan Said bin Taimur, and Imam Ghalib Alhinai frayed over their dispute about oil concessions. Under the terms of the 1920 treaty of Seeb, the Sultan, backed by the British government, claimed all dealings with the oil company as his prerogative. The Imam, on the other hand, claimed that since the oil was in the Imamate territory, anything concerning it was an internal matter.[79]

In December 1955, Sultan Said bin Taimur sent troops of the Muscat and Oman Field Force to occupy the main centres in Oman, including Nizwa, the capital of the Imamate of Oman, and Ibri.[81][96] The Omanis in the interior led by Imam Ghalib Alhinai, Talib Alhinai, the brother of the Imam and the Wali (governor) of Rustaq, and Suleiman bin Hamyar, who was the Wali (governor) of Jebel Akhdar, defended the Imamate in the Jebel Akhdar War against British-backed attacks by the Sultanate. In July 1957, the Sultan's forces were withdrawing, but they were repeatedly ambushed, sustaining heavy casualties.[81] Sultan Said, however, with the intervention of British infantry (two companies of the Cameronians), armoured car detachments from the British Army and RAF aircraft, was able to suppress the rebellion.[97] The Imamate's forces retreated to the inaccessible Jebel Akhdar.[97][89]

Colonel David Smiley, who had been seconded to organise the Sultan's Armed Forces, managed to isolate the mountain in autumn 1958 and found a route to the plateau from Wadi Bani Kharus.[98] On 4 August 1957, the British Foreign Secretary gave the approval to carry out air strikes without prior warning to the locals residing in the interior of Oman.[87] Between July and December 1958, the British RAF made 1,635 raids, dropping 1,094 tons and firing 900 rockets at the interior of Oman targeting insurgents, mountain top villages, water channels and crops.[75][87] On 27 January 1959, the Sultanate's forces occupied the mountain in a surprise operation.[98] Imam Ghalib, his brother Talib and Sulaiman managed to escape to Saudi Arabia, where the Imamate's cause was promoted until the 1970s.[98] The exiled partisans of the now abolished Imamate of Oman presented the case of Oman to the Arab League and the United Nations.[99][100] On 11 December 1963, the UN General Assembly decided to establish an Ad-Hoc Committee on Oman to study the 'Question of Oman' and report back to the General Assembly.[101] The UN General Assembly adopted the 'Question of Oman' resolution in 1965, 1966 and again in 1967 that called upon the British government to cease all repressive action against the locals, end British control over Oman and reaffirmed the inalienable right of the Omani people to self-determination and independence.[102][103][77][104][105][106]

Dhofar Rebellion[edit]

Further information: Dhofar Rebellion

Oil reserves in Dhofar were discovered in 1964 and extraction began in 1967. In the Dhofar Rebellion, which began in 1965, pro-Soviet forces were pitted against government troops. As the rebellion threatened the Sultan's control of Dhofar, Sultan Said bin Taimur was deposed in a bloodless coup (1970) by his son Qaboos bin Said, who expanded the Sultan of Oman's Armed Forces, modernised the state's administration and introduced social reforms. The uprising was finally put down in 1975 with the help of forces from Iran, Jordan, Pakistan and the British Royal Air Force, army and Special Air Service.

Reign of Sultan Qaboos (1970–2020)[edit]

After deposing his father in 1970, Sultan Qaboos opened up the country, embarked on economic reforms, and followed a policy of modernisation marked by increased spending on health, education and welfare.[107]Slavery, once a cornerstone of the country's trade and development, was outlawed in 1970.[78]

In 1981, Oman became a founding member of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council. Political reforms were eventually introduced. Historically, a limited franchise of voters for the State Consultative Council, later Majlis Al-Shura, had been chosen from among tribal notables, intellectuals, degree holders, and businessmen. In 1997, a royal decree was issued granting women the right to vote, and stand for election to the Majlis al-Shura, the Consultative Assembly of Oman. Two women were duly elected to the body.

In 2002, voting rights were extended to all citizens over the age of 21, and the first elections to the Consultative Assembly under the new rules were held in 2003. In 2004, the Sultan appointed Oman's first female minister with portfolio, Sheikha Aisha bint Khalfan bin Jameel al-Sayabiyah. She was appointed to the post of National Authority for Industrial Craftsmanship, an office that attempts to preserve and promote Oman's traditional crafts and stimulate industry.[108] Despite these changes, there was little change to the actual political makeup of the government. The Sultan continued to rule by decree. Nearly 100 suspected Islamists were arrested in 2005 and 31 people were convicted of trying to overthrow the government. They were ultimately pardoned in June of the same year.[9]

Inspired by the Arab Spring uprisings that were taking place throughout the region, protests occurred in Oman during the early months of 2011. While they did not call for the ousting of the regime, demonstrators demanded political reforms, improved living conditions and the creation of more jobs. They were dispersed by riot police in February 2011. Sultan Qaboos reacted by promising jobs and benefits. In October 2011, elections were held to the Consultative Assembly, to which Sultan Qaboos promised greater powers. The following year, the government began a crackdown on internet criticism. In September 2012, trials began of 'activists' accused of posting "abusive and provocative" criticism of the government online. Six were given jail terms of 12–18 months and fines of around $2,500 each.[109]

Qaboos died on 10 January 2020, and the government declared 40 days of national mourning. He was buried the next day.[110]

Reign of Sultan Haitham (2020–present)[edit]

On 11 January 2020, Qaboos was succeeded by his first cousin Sultan Haitham bin Tariq.[111] Sultan Qaboos did not have any children.[112]


Main article: Geography of Oman

Oman lies between latitudes 16° and 28° N, and longitudes 52° and 60° E. A vast gravel desert plain covers most of central Oman, with mountain ranges along the north (Al Hajar Mountains) and southeast coast (Qara or Dhofar Mountains),[113][114] where the country's main cities are located: the capital city Muscat, Sohar and Sur in the north, and Salalah in the south and Musandam. Oman's climate is hot and dry in the interior and humid along the coast. During past epochs, Oman was covered by ocean, as evidenced by the large numbers of fossilized shells found in areas of the desert away from the modern coastline.

An Omani desert landscape

The peninsula of Musandam (Musandem) exclave, which is strategically located on the Strait of Hormuz, is separated from the rest of Oman by the United Arab Emirates.[115] The series of small towns known collectively as Dibba are the gateway to the Musandam peninsula on land and the fishing villages of Musandam by sea, with boats available for hire at Khasab for trips into the Musandam peninsula by sea.

Oman's other exclave, inside UAE territory, known as Madha, located halfway between the Musandam Peninsula and the main body of Oman,[115] is part of the Musandam governorate, covering approximately 75 km2 (29 sq mi). Madha's boundary was settled in 1969, with the north-east corner of Madha barely 10 m (32.8 ft) from the Fujairah road. Within the Madha exclave is a UAE enclave called Nahwa, belonging to the Emirate of Sharjah, situated about 8 km (5 mi) along a dirt track west of the town of New Madha, and consisting of about forty houses with a clinic and telephone exchange.[116]

The central desert of Oman is an important source of meteorites for scientific analysis.[117]


Main article: Climate of Oman

Like the rest of the Persian Gulf, Oman generally has one of the hottest climates in the world—with summer temperatures in Muscat and northern Oman averaging 30 to 40 °C (86.0 to 104.0 °F).[118] Oman receives little rainfall, with annual rainfall in Muscat averaging 100 mm (3.9 in), occurring mostly in January. In the south, the Dhofar Mountains area near Salalah has a tropical-like climate and receives seasonal rainfall from late June to late September as a result of monsoon winds from the Indian Ocean, leaving the summer air saturated with cool moisture and heavy fog.[119] Summer temperatures in Salalah range from 20 to 30 °C (68.0 to 86.0 °F)—relatively cool compared to northern Oman.[120]

The mountain areas receive more rainfall, and annual rainfall on the higher parts of the Jabal Akhdar probably exceeds 400 mm (15.7 in).[121] Low temperatures in the mountainous areas leads to snow cover once every few years.[122] Some parts of the coast, particularly near the island of Masirah, sometimes receive no rain at all within the course of a year. The climate is generally very hot, with temperatures reaching around 54 °C (129.2 °F) (peak) in the hot season, from May to September.[123] Drought and limited rainfall contribute to shortages in the nation's water supply. Maintaining an adequate supply of water for agricultural and domestic use is one of Oman's most pressing environmental problems, with limited renewable water resources.

On 26 June 2018 the city of Qurayyat set the record for highest minimum temperature in a 24-hour period, 42.6 °C (108.7 °F).[124]

In terms of climate action, major challenges remain to be solved, per the United Nations Sustainable Development 2019 index. The CO
2 emissions from energy (tCO
2/capita) and CO
2 emissions embodied in fossil fuel exports (kg per capita) rates are very high, while imported CO
2 emissions (tCO
2/capita) and people affected by climate-related disasters (per 100,000 people) rates are low.[125]


See also: Wildlife of Oman

Desert shrub and desert grass, common to southern Arabia, are found in Oman, but vegetation is sparse in the interior plateau, which is largely gravel desert. The greater monsoon rainfall in Dhofar and the mountains makes the growth there more luxuriant during summer; coconut palms grow plentifully on the coastal plains of Dhofar and frankincense is produced in the hills, with abundant oleander and varieties of acacia. The Al Hajar Mountains are a distinct ecoregion, the highest points in eastern Arabia with wildlife including the Arabian tahr.

Indigenousmammals include the leopard, hyena, fox, wolf, hare, oryx and ibex. Birds include the vulture, eagle, stork, bustard, Arabian partridge, bee eater, falcon and sunbird. In 2001, Oman had nine endangered species of mammals, five endangered types of birds,[126] and nineteen threatened plant species. Decrees have been passed to protect endangered species, including the Arabian leopard, Arabian oryx, mountain gazelle, goitered gazelle, Arabian tahr, green sea turtle, hawksbill turtle and olive ridley turtle. However, the Arabian Oryx Sanctuary is the first site ever to be deleted from UNESCO's World Heritage List, following the government's 2007 decision to reduce the site's area by 90% in order to clear the way for oil prospectors.[127]

Osprey in Yiti Beach, Oman

Local and national entities have noted unethical treatment of animals in Oman. In particular, stray dogs (and to a lesser extent, stray cats) are often the victims of torture, abuse or neglect.[128] The only approved method of decreasing the stray dog population is shooting by police officers. The Oman government has refused to implement a spay and neuter programme or create any animal shelters in the country. Cats, while seen as more acceptable than dogs, are viewed as pests and frequently die of starvation or illness.[129][130]

In recent years, Oman has become one of the newer hot spots for whale watching, highlighting the critically endangered Arabian humpback whale, the most isolated and only non-migratory population in the world, sperm whales and pygmy blue whales.[131]


Main articles: Politics of Oman and Human rights in Oman

Oman is a unitary state and an absolute monarchy,[132] in which all legislative, executive and judiciary power ultimately rests in the hands of the hereditary Sultan. Consequently, Freedom House has routinely rated the country "Not Free".[133]

The sultan is the head of state and directly controls the foreign affairs and defence portfolios.[134] He has absolute power and issues laws by decree.[135][136]

Legal system[edit]

Oman is an absolute monarchy, with the Sultan's word having the force of law. The judiciary branch is subordinate to the Sultan. According to Oman's constitution, Sharia law is one of the sources of legislation. Sharia court departments within the civil court system are responsible for family-law matters, such as divorce and inheritance.

While ultimate power is concentrated in the Sultan,[12] and Oman does not have an official separation of powers.[12] the late Sultan Qaboos declined to grant the full title Minister of Defence, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Finance to the ministers exercising those responsibilities, preferring to keep them within the Royal Domain. The current Sultan Haitham, has granted the ministers responsible of those portfolios the full titles, whilst elevating the defense portfolio to that of a deputy prime minister.[12] Since 1970 all legislation has been promulgated through royal decrees, including the 1996 Basic Law.[12] The Sultan appoints the ministers, the judges, and can grant pardons and commute sentences.[12] The Sultan's authority is inviolable and the Sultan expects total subordination to his will.[12]

The administration of justice is highly personalized, with limited due process protections, especially in political and security-related cases.[137] The Basic Statute of the State[138] is supposedly the cornerstone of the Omani legal system and it operates as a constitution for the country. The Basic Statute was issued in 1996 and thus far has only been amended once, in 2011,[139] in response to protests.

Though Oman's legal code theoretically protects civil liberties and personal freedoms, both are regularly ignored by the regime.[12] Women and children face legal discrimination in many areas.[12] Women are excluded from certain state benefits, such as housing loans, and are refused equal rights under the personal status law.[12] Women also experience restrictions on their self-determination in respect to health and reproductive rights.[12]

The Omani legislature is the bicameral Council of Oman, consisting of an upper chamber, the Council of State (Majlis ad-Dawlah) and a lower chamber, the Consultative Council (Majlis ash-Shoura).[140] Political parties are banned, as are any affiliations based on religion.[136] The upper chamber has 71 members, appointed by the Sultan from among prominent Omanis; it has only advisory powers.[141] The 84 members of the Consultative Council are elected by universal suffrage to serve four-year terms.[141] The members are appointed for three-year terms, which may be renewed once.[140] The last elections were held on 27 October 2019, and the next is due in October 2023. Oman's national anthem, As-Salam as-Sultani is dedicated to former Sultan Qaboos.

Foreign policy[edit]

Main article: Foreign relations of Oman

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerrymeets with Sultan Qaboos in Muscat, May 2013.

Since 1970, Oman has pursued a moderate foreign policy, and has expanded its diplomatic relations dramatically. Oman is among the very few Arab countries that have maintained friendly ties with Iran.[142][143]WikiLeaks disclosed US diplomatic cables which state that Oman helped free British sailors captured by Iran's navy in 2007.[144] The same cables also portray the Omani government as wishing to maintain cordial relations with Iran, and as having consistently resisted US diplomatic pressure to adopt a sterner stance.[145][146][147]Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah is the Sultanate's Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs.

Oman allowed the British Royal Navy and Indian Navy access to the port facilities of Al Duqm Port & Drydock.[148]


Main article: Sultan of Oman's Armed Forces

SIPRI's estimation of Oman's military and security expenditure as a percentage of GDP in 2020 was 11 percent, making it the world's highest rate in that year, higher than Saudi Arabia (8.4 percent).[149] Oman's on-average military spending as a percentage of GDP between 2016 and 2018 was around 10 percent, while the world's average during the same period was 2.2 percent.[150]

Oman's military manpower totalled 44,100 in 2006, including 25,000 men in the army, 4,200 sailors in the navy, and an air force with 4,100 personnel. The Royal Household maintained 5,000 Guards, 1,000 in Special Forces, 150 sailors in the Royal Yacht fleet, and 250 pilots and ground personnel in the Royal Flight squadrons. Oman also maintains a modestly sized paramilitary force of 4,400 men.[151]

The Royal Army of Oman had 25,000 active personnel in 2006, plus a small contingent of Royal Household troops. Despite a comparative large military spending, it has been relatively slow to modernise its forces. Oman has a relatively limited number of tanks, including 6 M60A1, 73 M60A3 and 38 Challenger 2 main battle tanks, as well as 37 aging Scorpion light tanks.[151]

The Royal Air Force of Oman has approximately 4,100 men, with only 36 combat aircraft and no armed helicopters. Combat aircraft include 20 aging Jaguars, 12 Hawk Mk 203s, 4 Hawk Mk 103s and 12 PC-9 turboprop trainers with a limited combat capability. It has one squadron of 12 F-16C/D aircraft. Oman also has 4 A202-18 Bravos and 8 MFI-17B Mushshaqs.[151]

The Royal Navy of Oman had 4,200 men in 2000, and is headquartered at Seeb. It has bases at Ahwi, Ghanam Island, Mussandam and Salalah. In 2006, Oman had 10 surface combat vessels. These included two 1,450-ton Qahir classcorvettes, and 8 ocean-going patrol boats. The Omani Navy had one 2,500-ton Nasr al Bahr class LSL (240 troops, 7 tanks) with a helicopter deck. Oman also had at least four landing craft.[151] Oman ordered three Khareef class corvettes from the VT Group for £400 million in 2007. They were built at Portsmouth.[152] In 2010 Oman spent US$4.074 billion on military expenditures, 8.5% of the gross domestic product.[153] The sultanate has a long history of association with the British military and defence industry.[154] According to SIPRI, Oman was the 23rd largest arms importer from 2012 to 2016.[155]

Human rights[edit]

Main article: Human rights in Oman

See also: LGBT rights in Oman

Homosexual acts are illegal in Oman.[156] The practice of torture is widespread in Oman state penal institutions and has become the state's typical reaction to independent political expression.[157][158] Torture methods in use in Oman include mock execution, beating, hooding, solitary confinement, subjection to extremes of temperature and to constant noise, abuse and humiliation.[157] There have been numerous reports of torture and other inhumane forms of punishment perpetrated by Omani security forces on protesters and detainees.[159] Several prisoners detained in 2012 complained of sleep deprivation, extreme temperatures and solitary confinement.[160] Omani authorities kept Sultan al-Saadi, a social media activist, in solitary confinement, denied him access to his lawyer and family, forced him to wear a black bag over his head whenever he left his cell, including when using the toilet, and told him his family had "forsaken" him and asked for him to be imprisoned.[160]

Mohammed Alfazari, an exiled Omani writer and journalist now living in the UK, is an author whose books are bannedin Oman. He is also the founder and EIC of Muwatin.[161]

The Omani government decides who can or cannot be a journalist and this permission can be withdrawn at any time.[162] Censorship and self-censorship are a constant factor.[162] Omanis have limited access to political information through the media.[163] Access to news and information can be problematic: journalists have to be content with news compiled by the official news agency on some issues.[162] Through a decree by the Sultan, the government has now extended its control over the media to blogs and other websites.[162] Omanis cannot hold a public meeting without the government's approval.[162] Omanis who want to set up a non-governmental organisation of any kind need a licence.[162] To get a licence, they have to demonstrate that the organisation is "for legitimate objectives" and not "inimical to the social order".[162] The Omani government does not permit the formation of independent civil society associations.[159]Human Rights Watch issued on 2016, that an Omani court sentenced three journalists to prison and ordered the permanent closure of their newspaper, over an article that alleged corruption in the judiciary.[164]

The law prohibits criticism of the Sultan and government in any form or medium.[162] Oman's police do not need search warrants to enter people's homes.[162] The law does not provide citizens with the right to change their government.[162] The Sultan retains ultimate authority on all foreign and domestic issues.[162] Government officials are not subject to financial disclosure laws.[162] Libel laws and concerns for national security have been used to suppress criticism of government figures and politically objectionable views.[162] Publication of books is limited and the government restricts their importation and distribution, as with other media products.[162]

Merely mentioning the existence of such restrictions can land Omanis in trouble.[162] In 2009, a web publisher was fined and given a suspended jail sentence for revealing that a supposedly live TV programme was actually pre-recorded to eliminate any criticisms of the government.[162]

Faced with so many restrictions, Omanis have resorted to unconventional methods for expressing their views.[162] Omanis sometimes use donkeys to express their views.[162] Writing about Gulf rulers in 2001, Dale Eickelman observed: "Only in Oman has the occasional donkey… been used as a mobile billboard to express anti-regime sentiments. There is no way in which police can maintain dignity in seizing and destroying a donkey on whose flank a political message has been inscribed."[162] Some people have been arrested for allegedly spreading fake news about the COVID-19 pandemic in Oman.[165]

Omani citizens need government permission to marry foreigners.[160] The Ministry of Interior requires Omani citizens to obtain permission to marry foreigners (except nationals of GCC countries); permission is not automatically granted.[160] Citizen marriage to a foreigner abroad without ministry approval may result in denial of entry for the foreign spouse at the border and preclude children from claiming citizenship rights.[160] It also may result in a bar from government employment and a fine of 2,000 rials ($5,200).[160] According to HRW, women in Oman face discrimination.[161]

In August 2014, The Omani writer and human rights defender Mohammed Alfazari, the founder and editor-in-chief of the e-magazine Mowatin "Citizen", disappeared after going to the police station in the Al-Qurum district of Muscat.[166] For several months the Omani government denied his detention and refused to disclose information about his whereabouts or condition.[166] On 17 July 2015, Alfazari left Oman seeking political asylum in UK after a travel ban was issued against him without providing any reasons and after his official documents including his national ID and passport were confiscated for more than 8 months.[167] There were more reports of politically motivated disappearances in the country.[160] In 2012, armed security forces arrested Sultan al-Saadi, a social media activist.[160] According to reports, authorities detained him at an unknown location for one month for comments he posted online critical of the government.[160] Authorities previously arrested al-Saadi in 2011 for participating in protests and again in 2012 for posting comments online deemed insulting to Sultan Qaboos.[160] In May 2012 security forces detained Ismael al-Meqbali, Habiba al-Hinai and Yaqoub al-Kharusi, human rights activists who were visiting striking oil workers.[160] Authorities released al-Hinai and al-Kharusi shortly after their detention but did not inform al-Meqbali's friends and family of his whereabouts for weeks.[160] Authorities pardoned al-Meqbali in March.[160] In December 2013, a Yemeni national disappeared in Oman after he was arrested at a checkpoint in Dhofar Governorate.[168] Omani authorities refuse to acknowledge his detention.[168] His whereabouts and condition remain unknown.[168]

The National Human Rights Commission, established in 2008, is not independent from the regime.[12] It is chaired by the former deputy inspector general of Police and Customs and its members are appointed by royal decree.[12] In June 2012, one of its members requested that she be relieved of her duties because she disagreed with a statement made by the Commission justifying the arrest of intellectuals and bloggers and the restriction of freedom of expression in the name of respect for "the principles of religion and customs of the country".[12]

Since the beginning of the "Omani Spring" in January 2011, a number of serious violations of civil rights have been reported, amounting to a critical deterioration of the human rights situation.[12] Prisons are inaccessible to independent monitors.[12] Members of the independent Omani Group of Human Rights have been harassed, arrested and sentenced to jail. There have been numerous testimonies of torture and other inhumane forms of punishment perpetrated by security forces on protesters and detainees.[12] The detainees were all peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression and assembly.[12] Although authorities must obtain court orders to hold suspects in pre-trial detention, they do not regularly do this.[12] The penal code was amended in October 2011 to allow the arrest and detention of individuals without an arrest warrant from public prosecutors.[12]

In January 2014, Omani intelligence agents arrested a Bahraini actor and handed him over to the Bahraini authorities on the same day of his arrest.[169] The actor has been subjected to a forced disappearance. His whereabouts and condition remain unknown.[169]

Migrant workers[edit]

Main article: Migrant workers in the Gulf region

The plight of domestic workers in Oman is a taboo subject.[170][171] In 2011, the Philippines government determined that out of all the countries in the Middle East, only Oman and Israel qualify as safe for Filipino migrants.[172] In 2012, it was reported that every 6 days, an Indian migrant in Oman commits suicide.[173][174] There has been a campaign urging authorities to check the migrant suicide rate.[175] In the 2014 Global Slavery Index, Oman is ranked No. 45 due to 26,000 people in slavery.[176][177] The descendants of servant tribes and slaves are victims of widespread discrimination.[159][178] Oman was one of the last countries to abolish slavery, in 1970.[171]

Administrative divisions[edit]

Main article: Regions and governorates of Oman

The Sultanate is administratively divided into eleven governorates. Governorates are, in turn, divided into 60 wilayats.[179][180]


Main article: Economy of Oman

A proportional representation of Oman exports, 2019

Oman's Basic Statute of the State expresses in Article 11 that the "national economy is based on justice and the principles of a free economy."[181] By regional standards, Oman has a relatively diversified economy, but remains dependent on oil exports. In terms of monetary value, mineral fuels accounted for 82.2 percent of total product exports in 2018.[182] Tourism is the fastest-growing industry in Oman. Other sources of income, agriculture and industry, are small in comparison and account for less than 1% of the country's exports, but diversification is seen as a priority by the government. Agriculture, often subsistence in its character, produces dates, limes, grains and vegetables, but with less than 1% of the country under cultivation, Oman is likely to remain a net importer of food.

Oman's socio-economic structure is described as being hyper-centralized rentier welfare state.[183] The largest 10 percent of corporations in Oman are the employers of almost 80 percent of Omani nationals in the private sector. Half of the private sector jobs are classified as elementary. One third of employed Omanis are in the private sector, while the remaining majority are in the public sector.[184] A hyper-centralized structure produces a monopoly-like economy, which hinders having a healthy competitive environment between businesses.[183]

Since a slump in oil prices in 1998, Oman has made active plans to diversify its economy and is placing a greater emphasis on other areas of industry, namely tourism and infrastructure. Oman had a 2020 Vision to diversify the economy established in 1995, which targeted a decrease in oil's share to less than 10 percent of GDP by 2020, but it was rendered obsolete in 2011. Oman then established 2040 Vision.[183]

A free-trade agreement with the United States took effect 1 January 2009, eliminated tariff barriers on all consumer and industrial products, and also provided strong protections for foreign businesses investing in Oman.[185]Tourism, another source of Oman's revenue, is on the rise.[186] A popular event is The Khareef Festival held in Salalah, Dhofar, which is 1,200 km from the capital city of Muscat, during the monsoon season (August) and is similar to Muscat Festival. During this latter event the mountains surrounding Salalah are popular with tourists as a result of the cool weather and lush greenery, rarely found anywhere else in Oman.[187]

Oman's foreign workers send an estimated US$10 billion annually to their home states in Asia and Africa, more than half of them earning a monthly wage of less than US$400.[188] The largest foreign community is from the Indian states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat and the Punjab,[189] representing more than half of entire workforce in Oman. Salaries for overseas workers are known to be less than for Omani nationals, though still from two to five times higher than for the equivalent job in India.[188]

In terms of foreign direct investment (FDI), total investments in 2017 exceeded US$24billion. The highest share of FDI went to the oil and gas sector, which represented around US$13billion (54.2 percent), followed by financial intermediation, which represented US$3.66billion (15.3 percent). FDI is dominated by the United Kingdom with an estimated value of US$11.56billion (48 percent), followed by the UAE USD 2.6billion (10.8 percent), followed by Kuwait USD 1.1billion (4.6 percent).[190]

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Oman by country as of 2017.[190]

  United Kingdom (48%)

  United Arab Emirates (10.8%)

  Kuwait (4.6%)

  Other (36.6%)

Oman, in 2018 had a budget deficit of 32 percent of total revenue and a government debt to GDP of 47.5 percent.[191][192] Oman's military spending to GDP between 2016 and 2018 averaged 10 percent, while the world's average during the same period was 2.2 percent.[193] Oman's health spending to GDP between 2015 and 2016 averaged 4.3 percent, while the world's average during the same period was 10 percent.[194] Oman's research and development spending between 2016 and 2017 averaged 0.24 percent, which is significantly lower than the world's average (2.2 percent) during the same period.[195] Oman's government spending on education to GDP in 2016 was 6.11 percent, while the world's average was 4.8 percent (2015).[196]

Oil and gas[edit]

Petrochemical tanks in Sohar

Oman's proved reserves of petroleum total about 5.5 billion barrels, 25th largest in the world.[142] Oil is extracted and processed by Petroleum Development Oman (PDO), with proven oil reserves holding approximately steady, although oil production has been declining.[201][202] The Ministry of Oil and Gas is responsible for all oil and gas infrastructure and projects in Oman.[203] Following the 1970s energy crisis, Oman doubled their oil output between 1979 and 1985.[204]

In 2018, oil and gas represented 71 percent of the government's revenues.[191] In 2016, oil and gas share of the government's revenue represented 72 percent.[205] The government's reliance on oil and gas as a source of income dropped by 1 percent from 2016 to 2018. Oil and gas sector represented 30.1 percent of the nominal GDP in 2017.[206]

Between 2000 and 2007, production fell by more than 26%, from 972,000 to 714,800 barrels per day.[207] Production has recovered to 816,000 barrels in 2009, and 930,000 barrels per day in 2012.[207] Oman's natural gas reserves are estimated at 849.5 billion cubic metres, ranking 28th in the world, and production in 2008 was about 24 billion cubic metres per year.[142]

In September 2019, Oman was confirmed to become the first Middle Eastern country to host the International Gas Union Research Conference (IGRC 2020). This 16th iteration of the event will be held between 24 and 26 February 2020, in collaboration with Oman LNG, under the auspices of the Ministry of Oil and Gas.[208]


Main article: Tourism in Oman

Tourism in Oman has grown considerably recently, and it is expected to be one of the largest industries in the country.[209] The World Travel & Tourism Council stated that Oman is the fastest growing tourism destination in the Middle East.[210]

Tourism contributed 2.8 percent to the Omani GDP in 2016. It grew from RO 505 million (US$1.3 billion) in 2009 to RO 719 million (US$1.8 billion) in 2017 (+42.3 percent growth). Citizens of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), including Omanis who are residing outside of Oman, represent the highest ratio of all tourists visiting Oman, estimated to be 48 percent. The second highest number of visitors come from other Asian countries, who account for 17 percent of the total number of visitors.[211] A challenge to tourism development in Oman is the reliance on the government-owned firm, Omran, as a key actor to develop the tourism sector, which potentially creates a market barrier-to-entry of private-sector actors and a crowding out effect. Another key issue to the tourism sector is deepening the understanding of the ecosystem and biodiversity in Oman to guarantee their protection and preservation.[212]

Oman has one of the most diverse environments in the Middle East with various tourist attractions and is particularly well known for adventure and cultural tourism.[186][213]Muscat, the capital of Oman, was named the second best city to visit in the world in 2012 by the travel guide publisher Lonely Planet.[214] Muscat also was chosen as the Capital of Arab Tourism of 2012.[215]

In November 2019, Oman made the rule of visa on arrival an exception and introduced the concept of e-visa for tourists from all nationalities. Under the new laws, visitors were required to apply for the visa in advance by visiting Oman's online government portal.[216]

Industry, innovation and infrastructure[edit]

In industry, innovation and infrastructure, Oman is still faced with "significant challenges", as per United Nations Sustainable Development Goals index, as of 2019. Oman has scored high on the rates of internet use, mobile broadband subscriptions, logistics performance and on the average of top 3 university rankings. Meanwhile, Oman scored low on the rate of scientific and technical publications and on research & development spending.[125] Oman's manufacturing value added to GDP rate in 2016 was 8.4 percent, which is lower than the average in the Arab world (9.8 percent) and world average (15.6 percent). In terms of research & development expenditures to GDP, Oman's share was on average 0.20 percent between 2011 and 2015, while the world's average during the same period was 2.11 percent.[217] The majority of firms in Oman operate in the oil and gas, construction and trade sectors.[212]

Non-hydrocarbon GDP growth2015201620172018
Value (%)[218]

Oman is refurbishing and expanding the ports infrastructure in Muscat, Duqm, Sohar and Salalah to expand tourism, local production and export shares. Oman is also expanding its downstream operations by constructing a refinery and petrochemical plant in Duqm with a 230,000 barrels per day capacity projected for completion by 2021.[190] The majority of industrial activity in Oman takes place in 8 industrial states and 4 free-zones. The industrial activity is mainly focused on mining-and-services, petrochemicals and construction materials.[212] The largest employers in the private-sector are the construction, wholesale-and-retail and manufacturing sectors, respectively. Construction accounts for nearly 48 percent of the total labour force, followed by wholesale-and-retail, which accounts for around 15 percent of total employment and manufacturing, which accounts for around 12 percent of employment in the private sector. The percentage of Omanis employed in the construction and manufacturing sectors is nevertheless low, as of 2011 statistics.[184]

Oman, as per Global Innovation Index (2019) report, scores "below expectations" in innovation relative to countries classified under high income.[219] Oman in 2019 ranked 80 out of 129 countries in innovation index, which takes into consideration factors, such as, political environment, education, infrastructure and business sophistication.[220] Innovation, technology-based growth and economic diversification are hindered by an economic growth that relies on infrastructure expansion, which heavily depends on a high percentage of 'low-skilled' and 'low-wage' foreign labour. Another challenge to innovation is the dutch disease phenomenon, which creates an oil and gas investment lock-in, while relying heavily on imported products and services in other sectors. Such a locked-in system hinders local business growth and global competitiveness in other sectors, and thus impedes economic diversification.[212] The inefficiences and bottlenecks in business operations that are a result of heavy dependence on natural resources and 'addiction' to imports in Oman suggest a 'factor-driven economy'.[184] A third hindrance to innovation in Oman is an economic structure that is heavily dependent on few large firms, while granting few opportunities for SMEs to enter the market, which impedes healthy market-share competition between firms.[212] The ratio of patent applications per million people was 0.35 in 2016 and the MENA region average was 1.50, while the 'high-income' countries' average was approximately 48.0 during the same year.[221]

Agriculture and fishing[edit]

Oman's fishing industry contributed 0.78 percent to the GDP in 2016. Fish exports between 2000 and 2016 grew from US$144 million to US$172 million (+19.4 percent). The main importer of Omani fish in 2016 was Vietnam, which imported almost US$80 million (46.5 percent) in value, and the second biggest importer was the United Arab Emirates, which imported around US$26 million (15 percent). The other main importers are Saudi Arabia, Brazil and China. Oman's consumption of fish is almost two times the world's average. The ratio of exported fish to total fish captured in tons fluctuated between 49 and 61 percent between 2006 and 2016. Omani strengths in the fishing industry comes from having a good market system, a long coastline (3,165 km) and wide water area. Oman, on the other hand, lacks sufficient infrastructure, research and development, quality and safety monitoring, together with a limited contribution by the fishing industry to GDP.[211]

Dates represent 80 percent of all fruit crop production. Further, date farms employ 50 percent of the total agricultural area in the country. Oman's estimated production of dates in 2016 is 350,000 tons, making it the 9th largest producer of dates. The vast majority of date production (75 percent) comes from only 10 cultivars. Oman's total export of dates was US$12.6 million in 2016, almost equivalent to Oman's total imported value of dates, which was US$11.3 million in 2016. The main importer is India (around 60 percent of all imports). Oman's date exports remained steady between 2006 and 2016. Oman is considered to have good infrastructure for date production and support provision to cultivation and marketing, but lacks innovation in farming and cultivation, industrial coordination in the supply chain and encounter high losses of unused dates.[211]


Main article: Demographics of Oman

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Demographics of Oman

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This article's factual accuracy may be compromised due to out-of-date information. Please help update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information.(January 2017)

This article is about the demographic features of the population of Oman, including population density, ethnicity, education level, health of the populace, economic status, religious affiliations and other aspects of the population.

About 50% of the population in Oman lives in Muscat and the Batinah coastal plain northwest of the capital; about 200,000 live in the Dhofar (southern) region; and about 30,000 live in the remote Musandam Peninsula on the Strait of Hormuz.

Since 1970, the government has given high priority to education in order to develop a domestic work force, which the government considers a vital factor in the country's economic and social progress. In 1986, Oman's first university, Sultan Qaboos University, opened. Other post secondary institutions include a law school, technical college, banking institute, teachers' training college, and health sciences institute. Some 200 scholarships are awarded each year for study abroad.

Nine private colleges exist, providing two-year post secondary diplomas. Since 1999, the government has embarked on reforms in higher education designed to meet the needs of a growing population. Under the reformed system, four public regional universities were created, and incentives are provided by the government to promote the upgrading of the existing nine private colleges and the creation of other degree-granting private colleges.


Demographics of Oman, Data of FAO, year 2005 ; Number of inhabitants in thousands.

Census results[1][edit]

Total population Omani population Expatriate population
1993 2,000,000 1,465,000 (73.3%) 535,000 (26.7%)
2003 2,340,815 1,781,558 (76.1%) 559,257 (23.9%)
2010 2,773,479 1,957,336 (70.6%) 816,143 (29.4%)
2014 4,092,000 2,303,000 (56.3%) 1,789,000 (43.7%)
2016 4,550,538 2,462,768 (54.1%) 2,082,478 (46.1%)
2020 5,106,458 2,994,601 (59.98%) 1,997,763 (40.02%)

UN estimates[2][edit]

Total population (thousands) Population aged 0–14 (%) Population aged 15–64 (%) Population aged 65+ (%)
1950 456 42.3 54.6 3.0
1955 501 43.6 53.2 3.2
1960 557 44.6 52.1 3.2
1965 631 45.6 51.2 3.3
1970 732 46.4 50.4 3.2
1975 898 46.1 50.9 3.0
1980 1 181 45.6 51.8 2.6
1985 1 539 46.0 51.6 2.4
1990 1 868 45.6 52.1 2.3
1995 2 232 40.3 57.5 2.2
2000 2 264 36.7 60.8 2.5
2005 2 430 32.1 65.1 2.8
2010 2 782 27.2 70.3 2.5

Structure of the population[4][edit]

Structure of the population (01.07.2009) (Estimates) :

Age Group Male Female Total %
Total 1 971 115 1 202 802 3 173 917 100
0-4 139 614 132 530 272 144 8,57
5-9 124 776 120 250 245 026 7,72
10-14 129 964 124 646 254 610 8,02
15-19 145 215 139 611 284 826 8,97
20-24 238 483 148 965 387 448 12,21
25-29 327 686 147 717 475 403 14,98
30-34 247 107 120 429 367 536 11,58
35-39 192 483 79 617 272 100 8,57
40-44 149 090 58 112 207 202 6,53
45-49 103 908 41 522 145 430 4,58
50-54 83 057 30 530 113 587 3,58
55-59 40 488 19 402 59 890 1,89
60-64 23 538 16 192 39 730 1,25
65-69 11 811 9 000 20 811 0,66
70-74 7 721 7 212 14 933 0,47
75-79 3 303 3 514 6 817 0,21
80+ 2 871 3 553 6 424 0,20
Age group Male Female Total Percent
0-14 394 354 377 426 771 780 24,32
15-64 1 551 055 802 097 2 353 152 74,14
65+ 25 706 23 279 48 985 1,54

Structure of the population (01.07.2012) (Estimates) :

Age Group Male Female Total %
Total 2 332 687 1 290 314 3 623 001 100
0-4 164 406 158 435 322 841 8,91
5-9 132 469 127 235 259 704 7,17
10-14 111 287 105 301 216 588 5,98
15-19 128 311 119 875 248 186 6,85
20-24 262 201 147 485 409 686 11,31
25-29 438 633 160 772 599 405 16,54
30-34 335 104 131 241 466 345 12,87
35-39 234 343 96 312 330 655 9,13
40-44 177 171 63 301 240 472 6,64
45-49 122 574 47 241 169 815 4,69
50-54 89 917 39 602 129 519 3,57
55-59 56 448 28 380 84 828 2,34
60-64 28 338 20 629 48 967 1,35
65-69 17 199 15 561 32 760 0,90
70-74 13 925 12 439 26 364 0,73
75-79 9 475 7 373 16 848 0,47
80+ 10 882 9 113 19 995 0,55
unknown 4 19 23 <0,01
Age group Male Female Total Percent
0-14 408 162 390 971 799 133 22,06
15-64 1 873 040 854 838 2 727 878 75,29
65+ 51 481 44 486 95 967 2,65

Vital statistics[edit]

UN estimates[2][edit]

Period Live births per year Deaths per year Natural change per year CBR1CDR1NC1TFR1IMR1
1950-1955 23,000 13,000 11,000 48.9 26.2 22.7 7.25 214.1
1955-1960 26,000 13,000 13,000 49.1 23.9 25.2 7.25 194.1
1960-1965 29,000 13,000 17,000 49.3 21.3 28.0 7.25 171.4
1965-1970 34,000 12,000 21,000 49.3 18.2 31.2 7.31 145.4
1970-1975 40,000 12,000 28,000 49.1 14.5 34.6 7.41 114.7
1975-1980 53,000 12,000 41,000 51.2 11.5 39.7 8.10 87.6
1980-1985 67,000 11,000 55,000 48.9 8.4 40.6 8.32 64.4
1985-1990 74,000 10,000 64,000 43.3 5.7 37.6 7.85 42.5
1990-1995 68,000 8,000 60,000 33.1 4.0 29.1 6.27 31.4
1995-2000 60,000 8,000 52,000 26.7 3.4 23.2 4.46 24.4
2000-2005 50,000 7,000 43,000 21.5 3.1 18.4 3.01 15.3
2005-2010 50,000 10,000 40,000 19.1 3.7 15.3 2.52 9.4
1CBR = crude birth rate (per 1000); CDR = crude death rate (per 1000); NC = natural change (per 1000); TFR = total fertility rate (number of children per woman); IMR = infant mortality rate per 1000 births

Births and deaths[4]

Year Population Live births Deaths Natural increase Crude birth rate Crude death rate Rate of natural increase TFR
2000 2,401,256 3.70
2001 2,477,687
2002 2,537,742
2003 2,340,815
2004 2,415,576
2005 2,508,837 2.50
2006 2,577,062 49,494 5,484 44,010 19.20 2.10 17.10
2007 2,743,499 52,500 6,810 45,690 19.10 2.48 16.62 2.589
2008 2,867,428 58,250 7,415 50,835 20.30 2.59 17.71 2.607
2009 3,173,917 64,735 7,098 57,637 20.40 2.24 18.16 2.669
2010 2,773,479 65,528 6,974 58,554 23.30 2.67 20.63 2.974
2011 3,295,298 67,922 7,667 60,255 20.60 2.33 18.27 2.853
2012 3,623,001 72,867 7,884 64,983 20.10 2.18 17.92 2.818
2013 3,855,206 79,417 7,669 71,748 20.60 1.99 18.61 2.882
2014 3,992,893 82,981 7,819 75,162 21.90 1.96 19.94 2.900
2015 4,159,102 86,286 8,167 78,119 19.30 1.96 17.34 2.903
2016 4,414,051 88,346 8,828 79,518 20.00 2.00 18.00 2.888
2017 4,559,963 90,371 8,861 81,510 20.50 1.90 18.60 2.895
2018 4,601,706 89,071 8,979 80,092 19.36 1.90 17.46 2.858
2019 4,617,927 86,819 8,581 78,238 18.80 1.86 16.94 2.689
2020 4,602,777 84,405 10,589 73,816 18.34 2.30 16.04 2.664

Life expectancy at birth[5][edit]

Period Life expectancy in
Period Life expectancy in
1950–1955 36.1 1985–1990 65.6
1955–1960 40.5 1990–1995 68.4
1960–1965 44.7 1995–2000 71.0
1965–1970 48.6 2000–2005 73.2
1970–1975 52.3 2005–2010 75.0
1975–1980 57.4 2010–2015 76.2
1980–1985 61.9

Ethnic groups[edit]

According to the CIA, Oman's population primarily consists of Arab, Baluchi, South Asian (Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, Bangladeshi), and African ethnic groups.[6]

Parts of Asia and Africa were part of Oman.

Omani society is largely tribal.[7][8] Oman has three known types of identities. Two of these identities are 'tribalism' and 'Ibadism'; the third identity is linked to 'maritime trade'. The first two identities are widespread in the interior of Oman; these identities are closely tried to tradition, as a result of lengthy periods of isolation. The third identity, which pertains to Muscat and the coastal areas of Oman, is an identity that has become embodied in business and trade. The third identity is generally seen to be more open and tolerant towards others. Thus, tension between socio-cultural groups in Omani society exists. More important is the existence of social inequality between these three groups.[8]


Because of the combination of a relatively small local Omani population and a fast-growing oil-driven economy, Oman has attracted many migrants. At the 2014 census the total expatriate population was 1,789,000 or 43.7% of the population.[9] Most migrants are males from India (465,660 for both sexes), Bangladesh (107,125) or Pakistan (84,658). Female migrant workers are mainly from Indonesia (25,300), the Philippines (15,651) or Sri Lanka (10,178). Migrants from Arab countries account for 68,986 migrants (Egypt 29,877, Jordan 7,403, Sudan 6,867, UAE 6,426, Iraq 4,159, Saudi Arabia 725, Bahrain 388, Qatar 168, other 12,683) and other Asian countries for 12,939 migrants. There were 8,541 migrants from Europe, 1,540 from the United States and 15,565 from other countries.

CIA World Factbook demographic statistics[edit]

The following demographic statistics are from the CIA World Factbook, unless otherwise indicated.[10]

Age structure

0-14 years: 30.1% (male 528,554/female 502,272)
15-24 years: 18.69% (male 335,764/female 304,207)
25-54 years: 43.8% (male 864,858/female 635,006)
55-64 years: 3.92% (male 71,477/female 62,793)
65 years and over: 3.49% (male 58,561/female 60,894) (2017 est.)

Median age

total: 25.6 years
male: 26.6 years
female: 24.2 years (2017 est.)

Birth rate

24 births/1,000 population (2017 est.)

Death rate

3.3 deaths/1,000 population (2017 est.)

Population growth rate

2.03% (2017 est.)


urban population: 84.5% of total population (2018)
rate of urbanisation: 5.25% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.1 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.38 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 1.14 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.99 male(s)/female
total population: 1.19 male(s)/female (2017 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 12.8 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 13.1 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 12.5 deaths/1,000 live births (2017 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 75.7 years
male: 73.7 years
female: 77.7 years (2017 est

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

27% (2016)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

9.7% (2014)


noun: Omani(s)
adjective: Omani


Main article: Freedom of religion in Oman

Islam 85.9 % (official; 45% Ibadi Muslims, 45% Sunni Muslims and 5% Shia Muslims[12]), Christian 6.5%, Hindu 5.5%, Buddhist 0.8%, Jewish <0.1, Other 1%, Unaffiliated 0.2%


Arabic (official),Bangla, English, Hindi, Malayalam, Baluchi, Kiswahili, Urdu, Lawati (Khojki), Gujarati, Zadjali, Ajami, Kamzari, Jibbali (Qarawi): Shehri, Mehri, Habyoti, Bathari, Hikmani, Harsusi, Tamil and other Indian languages


definition: Literacy has been described as the ability to read for knowledge and write coherently and think critically about the written word.
total population: 91.1%
male: 93.6%
female: 85.6% (2015 est.)

Overseas Omani people[edit]

Today several thousand Omani-born people have emigrated abroad. The figures are shown below (only countries with more than 100 Omani-born residents are listed).[13]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]



Oman Population clock (live)


Current population


Current male population (59.0%)


Current female population (41.0%)


Births year to date


Births today


Deaths year to date


Deaths today


Net migration year to date


Net migration today


Population growth year to date


Population growth today

12-10-2021 18:58:23

Source : United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs: Population Division external link .

Coronavirus Update (Live)

COVID-19 Notice!

Please note that the population clock above does not reflect actual migration situation due to movement restrictions.

Quick facts about the population of Oman

Current population (as of Tuesday, October 12, 2021)
Population rank
116 (0.07% of world population)
Total area
309,500 km2 (119,499 mi2)
Population density
18.8 per km2 (48.7 people/mi2)
Sex ratio
1.44 (3,431,386 men to 2,383,934 women)
Median age
29.0 years
Life expectancy
74.2 years (72.4 - men, 76.2 - women)
94.8 %

(Population figures are estimates by Countrymeters based on the latest United Nations data)

Oman population 2021

During 2021 Oman population is projected to increase by 454,439 people and reach 5,915,132 in the beginning of 2022. The natural increase is expected to be positive, as the number of births will exceed the number of deaths by 98,620. If external migration will remain on the previous year level, the population will be increased by 355,819 due to the migration reasons. It means that the number of people who move into Oman (to which they are not native) in order to settle there as permanent residents (immigrants) will prevail over the number of people who leave the country to settle permanently in another country (emigrants).

Population change rates in 2021

According to our estimations, daily change rates of Oman population in 2021 will be the following:

  • 311 live births average per day (12.97 in an hour)
  • 41 deaths average per day (1.71 in an hour)
  • 975 immigrants average per day (40.62 in an hour)
The population of Oman will be increasing by 1,245 persons daily in 2021.

Demographics of Oman 2020

As of 1 January 2021, the population of Oman was estimated to be 5,460,693 people. This is an increase of 8.32 % (419,526 people) compared to population of 5,041,167 the year before. In 2020 the natural increase was positive, as the number of births exceeded the number of deaths by 91,043. Due to external migration, the population increased by 328,482. The sex ratio of the total population was 1.439 (1,439 males per 1,000 females) which is higher than global sex ratio. The global sex ratio in the world was approximately 1,016 males to 1,000 females as of 2020.

Below are the key figures for Oman population in 2020:

  • 104,856 live births
  • 13,813 deaths
  • Natural increase: 91,043 people
  • Net migration: 328,482 people
  • 3,222,704 males as of 31 December 2020
  • 2,237,989 females as of 31 December 2020

Growth Rate 1952 - 2021

Oman population density

Oman population density is 17.6 people per square kilometer (45.7/mi2) as of October 2021. Density of population is calculated as permanently settled population of Oman divided by total area of the country. Total area is the sum of land and water areas within international boundaries and coastlines of Oman. The total area of Oman is 309,500 km2 (119,499 mi2) according to the United Nations Statistics Division external link.

Religion in Oman

ReligionNumber of followersPercentage of
total population
Islam4,994,47085.9 %
Christianity377,9286.5 %
Hinduism319,7865.5 %
Other63,9571.1 %
Buddhism46,5140.8 %
Religiously Unaffiliated11,6290.2 %

Source: Pew Research Center. The Global Religious Landscape external link.

Number of followers estimated by Countrymeters external link (Tuesday, October 12 2021).

Oman age structure

As of the beginning of 2021 according to our estimates Oman had the following population age distribution:

- percentage of population under 15
- percentage of population between 15 and 64 years old
- percentage of population 65+

In absolute figures (estimate):

  • 1,703,081 young people under 15 years old ( 873,383 males / 829,698 females)
  • 3,588,877 persons between 15 and 64 years old ( 2,043,883 males / 1,544,994 females)
  • 168,735 persons above 64 years old ( 86,170 males / 82,566 females)

We prepared a simplified model of the population distribution pyramid which is broken down into 3 main age groups. The groups are the same as we used above: population under 15, between 15 and 64 and population which is over 65 year old.

Note: The pyramid provided is not corresponding to data given above because the age groups have different number of years.

As we can see the Oman population pyramid has an expanding type. This type of pyramid is common for developing countries with high birth and death rates. Relatively short life expectancy, as well as low level of education and poor health care are also describe such kind of population age distribution model.

Source: The estimation data for section "Oman age structure" is based on the latest demographic and social statistics by United Nations Statistics Division external link.

Age dependency ratio

Dependency ratio of population is a ratio of people who are generally not in the labor force (the dependents) to workforce of a country (the productive part of population). The dependent part includes the population under 15 years old and people aged 65 and over. The productive part of population accordingly consists of population between 15 and 64 years.

This ratio shows the pressure on productive population produced by the dependent part of population.

The total dependency ratio of population in Oman is 52.2 %.

What does this value mean? It shows that the dependent part of population is more than a half of the working part. It means that the working population (labor force) in Oman must provide goods for itself and cover expenditure on children and aged persons (this population is more than a half of working population). The value of more than 50% shows that the pressure on productive population in Oman is relatively high.

Child dependency ratio

Child dependency ratio is a ratio of people below working age (under 15) to workforce of a country.

Child dependency ratio in Oman is 47.5 %.

Aged dependency ratio

Aged dependency ratio is a ratio of people above working age (65+) to workforce of a country.

Aged dependency ratio in Oman is 4.7 %.

Source: The estimation data for section "Oman age dependency ratio" is based on the latest demographic and social statistics by United Nations Statistics Division external link.

Life expectancy

Life expectancy at birth is one of the most important demographic indicator. It shows the number of years a newborn infant would live assuming that birth and death rates will remain at the same level during the whole lifetime.

Total life expectancy (both sexes) at birth for Oman is 74.2 years.
This is above the average life expectancy at birth of the global population which is about 71 years (according to Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations). external link

Male life expectancy at birth is 72.4 years.
Female life expectancy at birth is 76.2 years.

Literacy of population

According to our estimates 3,527,836 persons or 93.89% of adult population (aged 15 years and above) in Oman are able to read and write. Accordingly about 229,777 adults are illiterate.

Literacy rate for adult male population is 96.88% (2,063,553 persons). 66,500 are illiterate.
Literacy rate for adult female population is 89.97% (1,464,283 persons). 163,277 are illiterate.

Youth literacy rates are 99.13% and 99.12% for males and females accordingly. The overall youth literacy rate is 99.13%. Youth literacy rate definition covers the population between the ages of 15 to 24 years.

Source: The estimation data for section "Oman population literacy" is based on the latest data published by UNESCO Institute for Statistics (retrieved March 13, 2016) external link.

Oman historical population (1951 - 2021)

The data is given as of 1st of January of an year.

Oman population history

YearPopulationGrowth Rate
1951459,357N/A %
1952465,8201.41 %
1953473,4281.63 %
1954481,9151.79 %
1955491,1091.91 %
1956500,8841.99 %
1957511,2212.06 %
1958522,0752.12 %
1959533,5042.19 %
1960545,5612.26 %
1961558,3672.35 %
1962571,9162.43 %
1963586,2232.50 %
1964601,2362.56 %
1965617,0142.62 %
1966633,5762.68 %
1967651,1362.77 %
1968669,9082.88 %
1969690,2453.04 %
1970712,3793.21 %
1971736,5083.39 %
1972762,7513.56 %
1973791,8113.81 %
1974824,6124.14 %
1975862,1604.55 %
1976904,8604.95 %
1977952,8265.30 %
19781,005,5265.53 %
19791,062,5705.67 %
19801,123,2865.71 %
19811,187,7485.74 %
19821,255,6355.72 %
19831,325,8955.60 %
19841,396,2675.31 %
19851,465,0164.92 %
19861,530,0544.44 %
19871,590,7673.97 %
19881,649,1543.67 %
19891,709,8963.68 %
19901,776,9483.92 %
19911,853,2954.30 %
19921,938,7614.61 %
19932,028,0544.61 %
19942,110,5754.07 %
19952,176,5713.13 %
19962,220,5482.02 %
19972,243,2591.02 %
19982,250,8180.34 %
19992,253,3910.11 %
20002,261,4710.36 %
20012,281,5770.89 %
20022,315,0731.47 %
20032,360,7231.97 %
20042,416,0062.34 %
20052,478,6592.59 %
20062,546,2892.73 %
20072,619,2722.87 %
20082,704,3153.25 %
20092,814,0864.06 %
20102,959,4905.17 %
20113,147,1306.34 %
20123,375,2417.25 %
20133,632,5147.62 %
20143,897,1097.28 %
20154,148,2856.45 %
20164,373,8585.44 %
20174,573,3394.56 %
20184,748,3733.83 %
20194,902,8323.25 %
20205,041,1672.82 %
20215,460,6938.32 %

The data is given as of 1st of January of an year.

Population projection (2020-2100)

YearPopulationGrowth Rate
20205,149,698N/A %
20255,572,1558.20 %
20305,897,4795.84 %
20356,128,5853.92 %
20406,343,5203.51 %
20456,549,8863.25 %
20506,756,5663.16 %
20556,923,0952.46 %
20607,036,5451.64 %
20657,095,5450.84 %
20707,107,2880.17 %
20757,079,886-0.39 %
20807,019,272-0.86 %
20856,930,321-1.27 %
20906,820,029-1.59 %
20956,698,446-1.78 %
21006,572,115-1.89 %

The data is given as of 1st of July of an year (medium fertility variant).

Source : United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs: Population Division external link

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Population oman

Oman Population (LIVE)


The Oman Population (Live) counter shows a continuously updated estimate of the current population of Oman delivered by Worldometer's RTS algorithm, which processes data collected from the United Nations Population Division.

The Population of Oman (1950 - 2019) chart plots the total population count as of July 1 of each year, from 1950 to 2019.

The Yearly Population Growth Rate chart plots the annual percentage changes in population registered on July 1 of each year, from 1951 to 2019. This value can differ from the Yearly % Changeshown in the historical table, which shows the last year equivalent percentage change assuming homogeneous change in the preceding five year period.


Year: as of July 1 of the year indicated.

Population: Overall total population (both sexes and all ages) in the country as of July 1 of the year indicated, as estimated by the United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. World Population Prospects: The 2019 Revision. For forecasted years, the U.N. medium-fertility variant is used.

Yearly % Change: For 2019: percentage change in total population over the last year (from July 1, 2018 to June 30 2019). For all other years: latest year annual percentage change equivalent assuming homogeneous change in the preceding five year period, calculated through reverse compounding.

Yearly Change: For 2019: absolute change in total population (increase or decrease in number of people) over the last year (from July 1, 2018 to June 30 2019). For all other years: average annual numerical change over the preceding five year period.

Migrants (net): The average annual number of immigrants minus the number of emigrants over the preceding five year period (running from July 1 to June 30 of the initial and final years), or subsequent five year period (for 2016 data). A negative number means that there are more emigrants than immigrants.

Median Age: age that divides the population into two numerically equal groups: half of the people are older than the median age indicated and half are younger. This parameter provides an indication of age distribution.

Fertility Rate: (Total Fertility Rate, or TFR), it is expressed as children per woman. It is calculated as the average number of children an average woman will have during her reproductive period (15 to 49 years old) based on the current fertility rates of every age group in the country, and assuming she is not subject to mortality.

Density (P/Km²): (Population Density) Population per square Kilometer (Km²).

Urban Pop % : Urban population as a percentage of total population.

Urban Population: Population living in areas classified as urban according to the criteria used by each country.

Country's Share of World Pop: Total population in the country as a percentage of total World Population as of July 1 of the year indicated.

World Population: Total World Population as of July 1 of the year indicated.

Global Rank: Position held by Oman in the list of all countries worldwide ranked by population (from the highest population to the lowest population) as of July 1 of the year indicated.

Oman Population trends comparison by major religious groups 1951-2050

The vagina squeezed my trunk like a milking machine. This did not last long and Lily finished with a groan. Her body shuddered, her vagina squeezed with strong jerks. To enhance her pleasure, I began to forcefully push the member inside.

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In one of the streets of south London. Anna heard the entrance bell and went to open the door. She stared at the sight before her eyes. "Jane" Mom. Are you out of your mind.

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