About Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia
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As the world's 13th largest country by area, it is no surprise that Saudia Arabia is also one of the most populous countries in the world. The city of Riyadh is the country's largest, boasting a population of over 4 million, which contributes heavily to the total population. In addition to Riyadh, there are three additional cities that have populations exceeding one million. There are also 19 cities that have over 100,000 residents, and an additional 44 that each surpass the 10,000 person milestone. These cities are spread across Saudi Arabia's 13 different regions. Each region also has a capital and governorates, which are further divided into sub-governorates. There are a total of 118 governorates in this country.

With such a large population, the majority of Saudi Arabian residents live in the urbanized cities. Just 17% of the population lives in the country's rural areas, while the remaining 83% live in the larger cities that provide more opportunities, both in industries including oil, finance and agriculture, and education. This is a dramatic decrease from the 1960 recorded rural population of 69% of the population. Like many other countries, however, the development and expansion of cities, combined with migrants and natives moving to the cities, has contributed to the decline in rural populations. 

Saudi Arabia has 4 cities with more than a million people, 20 cities with between 100,000 and 1 million people, and 45 cities with between 10,000 and 100,000 people. The largest city in Saudi Arabia is Riyadh, with a population of 4,205,961 people.


Map of Saudi Arabia, Middle East

The map shows Saudi Arabia, officially the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a desert country in southwestern Asia (Middle East) that occupies most of the Arabian Peninsula.

The kingdom is bounded by the Gulf of Aqaba and the Red Sea in the west and the Persian Gulf in the east. Border countries are Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. Saudi Arabia shares maritime boundaries with Egypt, Sudan, and Eritrea in the Red Sea, and with Iran, and Bahrain in the Persian Gulf.

The country is the largest Arab state with a land area of more than two million km²; compared, the sheikdom is about four times the size of France, or somewhat larger than one quarter the size of the contiguous United States.

Saudi Arabia has a population of 34.8 million people (in 2020); more than 10 million people are expatriates, mainly from Asia and the Middle East.
Saudi Arabia is the homeland of Arab Bedouins and the Arabian language, the historic birthplace of Islam and the Arab-Islamic culture which originated in the towns of Mecca and Medina at the beginning of the 7th century.

The country's capital and largest city is Riyadh. Other major towns are Jiddah, Ta'if (At Taif), Dammam, Buraydah, and Al Khobar, part of the Dammam metropolitan area. Spoken language is Arabic.

Geographical Regions of Saudi Arabia

The Arabian Desert covers large parts of the country's landscape. The vast area consists of a number of interconnected desert regions including the An Nafud in the north, and the Rub' al Khali ("the Empty Quarter") in the southern part of the country. The Rub' al Khali is one of the world's largest contiguous sand deserts.

The coastal plain in western Saudi Arabia along the Red Sea is known as the Tihamah, the east of the plain is dominated by the escarpments of two mountain ranges, the Hejaz and the Asir mountain range, separated by a gap in the area of Mecca. The highest point of Saudi Arabia is Jabal Sawda, the peak of about 3,000 m is located in the Abha region in the Asir mountains in the southwestern corner of the sheikdom. The one hundred kilometers wide strip of coastal plains and the western mountain ranges is known as the Hejaz ('the Barrier'). The Hejaz separates the coastal area from the Najd, the central region of Saudi Arabia. The Najd is bounded to the east by the historical region of Eastern Arabia, and in the north by the Syrian Desert.

There are no rivers or bodies of water in the country, only ancient river channels, now buried by the seas of sand. There are wadis, i.e. valleys or river courses, which often carry water temporarily only after heavy or prolonged rainfall. Nonrenewable fossil water from aquifers and underground rivers, water from seasonal floods, and desalinated saltwater are used for human consumption and irrigation.

Saudi Arabia has a predominantly hot and dry environment. The continental climate in the interior of the country features considerable temperature differences, especially between day and night. In summer, maximum temperatures of 50° C are possible during the day, in winter, the freezing point can be reached at night. The average annual temperature is 28° C.


More about Saudi Arabia

Al-Masjid Al-Ḥarām mosque and Abraj Al Bait hotel in Mecca, Saudi Arabia
Al-Masjid Al-Ḥarām, the Great Mosque of Mecca. Located within the largest mosque in the world is the Kaaba, the holy shrine of Islam. Abraj Al Bait in background, a megatall hotel complex of seven skyscrapers.
Photo: neo saed

Saudi Arabia is divided into 13 administrative regions (or states).

The regions are (region capital in parenteses:)

Al-Bahah State (Al-Bahah)
Al Jawf State (Sakakah)
Al-Qassim State (Buraidah)
'Asir State (Abha)
Eastern Province (Dammam)
Ha'il Region (Ha'il)
Jizan State (Jizan)
Madinah State (Medina)
Makkah State (Mecca)
Najran State (Najran)
Northern Borders Region ('Ar'ar)
Riyadh State (Riyadh)
Tabuk State (Tabuk)

Saudi Arabian Cities and Towns:

The map shows the location of following Saudi Arabian cities and towns:

The most populous cities are: Riyadh, Jiddah, Mecca, Medina, Ta'if (At Taif), Dammam, Buraydah, and Al Khobar, part of the Dammam metropolitan area.

Arar ('Ar'ar), Abha, Al Aziziyah, Al Bahah, Al-Hofuf, the major urban center in the Al-Ahsa Oasis, Al Jawf, Jubail (Al Jubayl), Al Majma'ah, Al Uwayqilah, Al Qurayyat, Ar Rass, As Sulaymaniyah, Dahran, Ha'il, Hafar al Batin, Jizan, Najran, Rafha, Sakakah, Salwa, Sharurah (Sharorah), Tabuk, Tayma, Turaif (Turayf), Unayzah, Yanbu (Yanbu' al Bahr), and Zalim.


Population of All Cities in Saudi Arabia

Name 2021 Population 
Riyadh 4,205,961
Jeddah 2,867,446
Mecca 1,323,624
Medina 1,300,000
Sultanah 946,697
Dammam 768,602
Ta'if 530,848
Tabuk 455,450
Al Kharj 425,300
Buraydah 391,336
Khamis Mushait 387,553
Al Hufuf 293,179
Al Mubarraz 290,802
Hafar Al-Batin 271,642
Ha'il 267,005
Najran 258,573
Al Jubayl 237,274
Abha 210,886
Yanbu 200,161
Khobar 165,799
Arar 148,540
Sakakah 128,332
Jizan 105,198
Qurayyat 102,903
Dhahran 99,540
Al Qatif 98,259
Al Bahah 88,419
Tarut 85,371
Qal`at Bishah 81,828
Ar Rass 81,728
Ash Shafa 72,190
Sayhat 66,702
Al Mithnab 60,870
Al Khafji 54,857
Ad Dawadimi 54,474
Sabya 54,108
Az Zulfi 53,144
Abu `Arish 49,171
Safwa 45,876
Afif 45,525
Rabigh 41,759
Rahimah 41,188
Turaif 40,819
Tubarjal 40,019
Ad Dilam 35,371
Umm Lajj 33,874
Al-`Ula 32,413
Abqaiq 29,474
Badr Hunayn 27,257
Samitah 26,945
Al Wajh 26,636
Al Bukayriyah 25,153
An Nimas 24,153
As Sulayyil 24,097
Turabah 23,235
Al Jumum 22,207
Duba 22,000
At Taraf 21,386
Qaisumah 20,685
Al Battaliyah 16,606
Al Munayzilah 16,296
Adh Dhibiyah 15,000
Al Majaridah 14,830
Tanumah 13,594
Al Qurayn 12,013
Umm as Sahik 11,813
Sajir 11,717
Al Awjam 11,460
Farasan 10,527
Al Mindak 9,218
Al Artawiyah 9,152
Al Jubayl 9,108
Al Qarah 9,106
Marat 8,885
Al Jafr 8,715
Suwayr 8,515
Tumayr 8,246
At Tubi 7,740
Al Jaradiyah 7,396
Al Muwayh 7,364
As Saffaniyah 7,014
Al Hada 6,885
Al Markaz 6,464
Misliyah 6,117
Al Mutayrifi 5,962
Mizhirah 5,529
Ad Darb 5,378
Julayjilah 5,359
Mulayjah 5,247
Al Fuwayliq 5,205
Tabalah 5,151