According to the 1974 (1393/94 AH) census, the Kingdom's population was just over 7 million. But, since then, by all accounts the population has grown dramatically. The official estimate in 1987 (1407/08 AH) was 13.6 million. Preliminary results of the 1992 (1412/13 AH) census gave a figure for total population of 16.9 million, of which 12.3 million were Saudi nationals. In 2006, the Central Department of Statistics' Demographic Survey put the population of the Kingdom at 23.6 million.
As an indication of the growth of urbanization, we quote the population figures for the city of Riyadh, capital of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. In 1862 (1372/73 AH), the population (as estimated by W. Palgrave) was 7,500. One hundred years later it was 169,000 (Riyadh City Planning Office). By 1982 (1402/03 AH), the estimate was 1.5 million; and by 1985 (1405/06 AH), the figure exceeded 2 million. In 1999, it had reached 3.4 million and in 2006 it was 5.8 million.