Demographic transition in Sultanate of Oman: emerging demographic dividend and challenges

M. Mazharul Islam*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The sharp fall in fertility and mortality in Oman in recent time is quite stunning and more than expected, which is largely remained unexplored. This paper examined the characteristics of demographic changes and the emerging windows of opportunities and challenges for Oman. It also discussed the policy options. Data come from the national level surveys and censuses as well as the World Population Prospects 2019 Revision of the United Nations. Results: The population of Oman grew from less than half a million in 1950 to more than four million in 2015, and expected to reach to seven million by 2055. After 1970, the annual growth rate of population accelerated due to increased immigration of working age population which has increased from less than 1% in 1970 to 44% in 2015. The fertility rate has declined from 8.6 births per woman in 1988 to 3.3 births per woman in 2008, a decline of 5.3 births per woman or 62% decline within a short period of 20 years. Under-five mortality also declined from 359 deaths per 1000 live births in 1950 to nine deaths per 1000 live births in 2015. Demographic transitions leads to many changes in the size and age structure of the population in Oman that open up the opportunities of accruing demographic dividend for economic development of the country. The dependency ratio has decreased from 98% in 1970 to 32% in 2015. Two opening of demographic dividend period has been observed—first from 1958 to 2000 and the second one has opened in 2010 which will reach its peak during the 2020s and will remain open until 2040. Conclusion: Oman has been experiencing a period of youth bulge over the years and it is expected to continue for at least next 20 years. To reap the benefits of the emerged demographic dividend, necessary steps need to be taken in a timely manner to develop human resources. Understanding the demographic challenges must be a priority for the government of Oman, and formulate policies to harvest the benefits of the demographic windows.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7
Number of pages14
JournalMiddle East Fertility Society Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 18 2020


  • Age structural transition
  • Demographic dividend
  • Demographic transition
  • Oman
  • Window of opportunity


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