Why is Saudi Arabia so Empty | TTC

Saudi Arabia, the world’s 13th largest country by area. Its population is around 40 million. But these 40 million people live in such a strange pattern that is not found anywhere in the world. In Saudi Arabia, the population lives in only two lineages in the entire region. One line runs along the entire western coast along the Red Sea, while the other runs from the Persian coast to the western coast between Saudi Arabia.

After all, what is the reason for this type of settlement in Saudi Arabia? Find out in this blog post.

Why is Saudi Arabia so Empty | TTC
In this picture, the population of Saudi Arabia is represented by two lines. Apart from the area of these two lines, Saudi Arabia is almost empty. People have lived on the Blue Line for centuries, but the Yellow Line has only been settled in the last few years. This means that more than 80% of Saudi Arabia has been empty for all the past centuries.

The area of Saudi Arabia is so large that the whole of Europe can fit in it. That is why, despite the population of 40 million, 75% of the country is empty. It should be remembered that the population of Saudi Arabia has only increased in the last few years. Because according to the data of 1970, the population of Saudi Arabia was 6 Million, but now it is 40 million in 2023. That is, in the last 50 years, more than 30 million people have settled in this country. To understand this whole issue one has to understand the history of Saudi Arabia and its geography.

Geography of Saudi Arabia

The main reason why Saudi Arabia is empty is its harsh and hot geography. If you look at the map of this country, you can see huge deserts everywhere. Like the An-Nafud desert on the Northern side and the dangerous Rub-al-Khali desert on the South side. Which means empty part. 

If we look at Saudi Arabia on Google Maps, we will know that the south side, i.e. towards Rub Al-Khali, is completely deserted. There is no road, house or train system in this entire section. In this desert region, there are so many storms that do not occur in the whole world. Rub-al-Khali experiences extreme heat in summers with temperatures reaching up to 55 degrees, while winters experience extreme cold with temperatures dropping to -7.

Perhaps for this reason, since the beginning of Saudi Arabia, the trade relations with the southern countries, namely Oman and Yemen, have been weak. The main reason for this is the desert on the way.

Before the 20th century, no one even thought of crossing this desert. But in 1931, an English traveler Mark Elwells crossed this desert with a few Arabs in a period of more than 60 days. Subsequently, in 2018, a highway was built across the desert that directly connects Oman to Saudi Arabia. Earlier, if one had to go from Oman to Saudi Arabia by road, he had to pass through the UAE.

This has become one of the reasons for the harsh and dry geographical condition of Saudi Arabia, but another major problem in Saudi Arabia is that there is no permanent river flowing through it. This problem is not only with Saudi Arabia but also with all other Arab countries including Oman, Yemen, Kuwait, Bahrain and UAE.

Since most of the population of Saudi Arabia is on the coast of the Red Sea and the population of Yemen is also on the same side, this is the reason why Saudi Arabia often faces military problems with Yemen and often the Houthi rebels of Yemen. 

Also Read – History of Dubai | TTC

Revenue from Ports

Major cities of Saudi Arabia such as Mecca, Medina and Jeddah are located on the shores of the Red Sea. This is the reason that all the world’s trade convoys passing through here stop here, due to which a large part of the economy of Saudi Arabia comes from these three cities, especially Jeddah. Even before the Suez Canal was built in Egypt, almost all the world’s trade passed through Jeddah.

More about Jeddah Islamic Port | Wikipedia

Why is Saudi Arabia so Empty | TTC
Jeddah Port – 2023

After Riyadh became the Capital

When Al Saud took over Saudi Arabia, it made Riyadh the capital of Saudi Arabia. Since they were also related to Riyadh, there was a great wisdom behind making it the capital. Now Makkah, which is located next to the Red sea, is a few kilometers away from Taif Valley, which is a lush green region of Arabia. But beyond Taif to the Persian Sea, Saudi Arabia was completely empty. Since Riyadh is located in the centre of Saudi Arabia, after making it the capital, traffic between the two coasts of Saudi Arabia began.

Why is Saudi Arabia so Empty | TTC
The importance of Riyadh city can be well understood in this picture.

After making Riyadh the capital, large oil deposits were discovered in the vicinity of Riyadh in 1970. Earlier, Saudi Arabia only met 15% of the world’s oil demand, but after 1970, due to the discovery of Riyadh’s oil reserves, money started flowing into Saudi Arabia like water. At that time, Saudi Arabia was considered one of the best states in the world where there was no tax on the citizens and the government was spending heavily on the citizens.

But here the problem came to the fore that along with the growing economy, the demand for jobs also increased. Since the people of Saudi Arabia were getting all kinds of comforts from the government, they were not ready to work. At the same time, a large number of workers from Pakistani, Indian, Bengali and other developing countries entered Saudi Arabia for livelihood.

Thus, the construction work in Saudi Arabia also started rapidly and Riyadh and Jeddah and other cities were transformed from slums and broken roads into metropolitan cities.

Why is Saudi Arabia so Empty | TTC
Saudi Arabia Today – 2023

Problems Facing Saudi Arabia

80% of Saudi Arabia’s population lives in urban areas. Everyone also knows that all the major cities of Saudi Arabia are located in these two lines which are shown in the pictures. But this kind of settlement is now causing problems for Saudi Arabia.

Following are some of the problems faced by Saudi Arabia.


The biggest problem in Saudi Arabia right now is clean water. Since there is almost no rainfall, water reserves are depleting day by day. Some time ago, the Saudi government decided to discover the natural appearance of the water and restore it, but due to the lack of rain, it was not possible. All the natural water wells that existed have dried up due to high demand and lack of rain. According to the research of scientists, by 2030, all natural water reserves in Saudi Arabia will be exhausted.

To solve this water problem, the Saudi government has now established several water purification plants along both coasts. In which the salt water of the sea is being converted into drinking and clean water. But all these procedures are very expensive. As the economy of Saudi Arabia is currently quite strong and it is also the largest exporter of oil, it is affording all these things.

In this way, sea water is being purified and supplied to the entire country through these plants. This is the reason why water is a bit expensive in Saudi Arabia compared to other countries.

Absence of Agriculture

Less than 1 percent of Saudi Arabia’s land is arable. Since agriculture is non-existent in this country, the country has to import all its food and drink from other countries, which is a huge burden on the country’s economy.

Why is Saudi Arabia so Empty | TTC
Satellite picture of Saudi Arabia which tells exactly about the Agriculture in Saudi Arabia.

Some time ago, the Saudi government started work on agriculture and provided machinery and water supply to the farmers, but due to drought, this project could not be completed. Therefore, the government called the agriculture Bye-Bye.

The growing demand for electric vehicles in the world is a threat to oil-exporting countries. The whole world is trying to switch to electric vehicles as soon as possible to avoid pollution. Saudi Arabia, along with all other oil-selling countries, is concerned about where oil will go if global demand declines. Because more than 80% of Saudi Arabia’s economy depends on oil.

Why is Saudi Arabia so Empty | TTC
EV – Electric Vehicles.
Threat for the Oil-trader countries including Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Sulman has also admitted that we may face difficulties in the coming period. The current Saudi Arabian government is trying to establish sources of income other than oil in order to avoid difficulties in the future.


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