The inhabitants of the area of Oman have long prospered from Indian Ocean trade. In the late 18th century, the nascent sultanate in Muscat signed the first in a series of friendship treaties with Britain. Over time, Oman's dependence on British political and military advisors increased, although the Sultanate never became a British colony. In 1970, QABOOS bin Said Al-Said overthrew his father, and has since ruled as sultan, but he has not designated a successor. His extensive modernization program has opened the country to the outside world, while preserving the longstanding close ties with the UK and US. Oman's moderate, independent foreign policy has sought to maintain good relations with its neighbors and to avoid external entanglements. Inspired by the popular uprisings that swept the Middle East and North Africa beginning in January 2011, some Omanis staged demonstrations, calling for more jobs and economic benefits and an end to corruption. In response to those protester demands, QABOOS in 2011 pledged to implement economic and political reforms, such as granting legislative and regulatory powers to the Majlis al-Shura and increasing unemployment benefits. Additionally, in August 2012, the Sultan announced a royal directive mandating the speedy implementation of a national job creation plan for thousands of public and private sector Omani jobs. As part of the government's efforts to decentralize authority and allow greater citizen participation in local governance, Oman successfully conducted its first municipal council elections in December 2012. Announced by the Sultan in 2011, the municipal councils have the power to advise the Royal Court on the needs of local districts across Oman's 11 governorates. The Sultan returned to Oman in March 2015 after eight months in Germany, where he received medical treatment. He has since appeared publicly on a few occasions.



Middle East, bordering the Arabian Sea, Gulf of Oman, and Persian Gulf, between Yemen and the UAE

Geographic coordinates

21 00 N, 57 00 E

Map references

Middle East


total: 309,500 sq km
land: 309,500 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Area - comparative

twice the size of Georgia; slightly smaller than Kansas

Land boundaries

total: 1,561 km
border countries (3): Saudi Arabia 658 km, UAE 609 km, Yemen 294 km


2,092 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm


dry desert; hot, humid along coast; hot, dry interior; strong southwest summer monsoon (May to September) in far south


central desert plain, rugged mountains in north and south


mean elevation: 310 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Arabian Sea 0 m
highest point: Jabal Shams 2,980 m

Natural resources

petroleum, copper, asbestos, some marble, limestone, chromium, gypsum, natural gas

Land use

agricultural land: 4.7%
arable land 0.1%; permanent crops 0.1%; permanent pasture 4.5%
forest: 0%
other: 95.3% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

590 sq km (2012)

Natural hazards

summer winds often raise large sandstorms and dust storms in interior; periodic droughts

Environment - current issues

rising soil salinity; beach pollution from oil spills; limited natural freshwater resources

Environment - international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note

consists of Oman proper and two northern exclaves, Musandam and Al Madhah; the former is a peninsula that occupies a strategic location adjacent to the Strait of Hormuz, a vital transit point for world crude oil

People and Society

Ethnic groups

Arab, Baluchi, South Asian (Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, Bangladeshi), African


3,355,262 (July 2016 est.)
note: immigrants make up over 40% of the total population, according to UN data (2015)


noun: Omani(s)
adjective: Omani


Arabic (official), English, Baluchi, Urdu, Indian dialects


Muslim (official; majority are Ibadhi, lesser numbers of Sunni and Shia) 85.9%, Christian 6.5%, Hindu 5.5%, Buddhist 0.8%, Jewish <0.1%, other 1%, unaffiliated 0.2% (2010 est.)
note: approximately 75% of Omani citizens, who compose almost 70% of the country's total population, are Ibadhi Muslims; the Omani government does not keep statistics on religious affiliation (2013)

Birth rate

24.3 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 30.14% (male 518,600/female 492,782)
15-24 years: 19.11% (male 336,310/female 304,871)
25-54 years: 43.41% (male 843,531/female 613,004)
55-64 years: 3.91% (male 69,904/female 61,248)
65 years and over: 3.43% (male 56,816/female 58,196) (2016 est.)

Median age

total: 25.4 years
male: 26.5 years
female: 24 years (2016 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 30%
youth dependency ratio: 26.7%
elderly dependency ratio: 3.4%
potential support ratio: 29.8% (2015 est.)

Population growth rate

2.05% (2016 est.)

Death rate

3.3 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)

Net migration rate

-0.4 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)

Population distribution

the vast majority of the population is located in and around the Al Hagar Mountains in the north of the country; another smaller cluster is found around the city of Salalah in the far south; most of the country remains sparsely poplulated


urban population: 77.6% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 8.54% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

MUSCAT (capital) 838,000 (2015)

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 (2016 est.)

Maternal mortality rate

17 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 13.2 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 13.5 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 12.8 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 75.5 years
male: 73.5 years
female: 77.5 years (2016 est.)

Total fertility rate

2.84 children born/woman (2016 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

24.4% (2007/08)

Health expenditures

3.6% of GDP (2014)

Physicians density

2.43 physicians/1,000 population (2012)

Hospital bed density

1.7 beds/1,000 population (2012)

Drinking water source

urban: 95.5% of population
rural: 86.1% of population
total: 93.4% of population
urban: 4.5% of population
rural: 13.9% of population
total: 6.6% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation facility access

urban: 97.3% of population
rural: 94.7% of population
total: 96.7% of population
urban: 2.7% of population
rural: 5.3% of population
total: 3.3% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

0.16% (2014 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

2,400 (2014 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

less than 100 (2014 est.)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

26.5% (2014)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

9.7% (2014)

Education expenditures

5% of GDP (2013)


definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 91.1%
male: 93.6%
female: 85.6% (2015 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 14 years
male: 14 years
female: 14 years (2011)


Country name

conventional long form: Sultanate of Oman
conventional short form: Oman
local long form: Saltanat Uman
local short form: Uman
former: Sultanate of Muscat and Oman
etymology: the origin of the name is uncertain, but it apparently dates back at least 2,000 years since an "Omana" is mentioned by Pliny the Elder (1st century A.D.) and an "Omanon" by Ptolemy (2nd century A.D.)

Government type

absolute monarchy


name: Muscat
geographic coordinates: 23 37 N, 58 35 E
time difference: UTC+4 (9 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions

11 governorates (muhafazat, singular - muhafazat); Ad Dakhiliyah, Al Buraymi, Al Wusta, Az Zahirah, Janub al Batinah (Al Batinah South), Janub ash Sharqiyah (Ash Sharqiyah South), Masqat (Muscat), Musandam, Shamal al Batinah (Al Batinah North), Shamal ash Sharqiyah (Ash Sharqiyah North), Zufar (Dhofar)


1650 (expulsion of the Portuguese)

National holiday

Birthday of Sultan QABOOS, 18 November (1940)


1996 (the Basic Law of the Sultanate of Oman serves as the constitution); amended by royal decree in 2011 (2016)

Legal system

mixed legal system of Anglo-Saxon law and Islamic law

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt


citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: the father must be a citizen of Oman
dual citizenship recognized: no
residency requirement for naturalization: unknown


21 years of age; universal; note - members of the military and security forces by law cannot vote

Executive branch

chief of state: Sultan and Prime Minister QABOOS bin Said Al-Said (sultan since 23 July 1970 and prime minister since 23 July 1972); note - the monarch is both chief of state and head of government
head of government: Sultan and Prime Minister QABOOS bin Said Al-Said (sultan since 23 July 1970 and prime minister since 23 July 1972)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the monarch
elections/appointments: members of the Ruling Family Council determine a successor from the sultan's extended family; if the Council cannot form a consensus within 3 days of the sultan's death or incapacitation, the Defense Council will relay a predetermined heir as chosen by the sultan

Legislative branch

description: bicameral Council of Oman or Majlis Oman consists of the Council of State or Majlis al-Dawla (85 seats including the chairman; members appointed by the sultan from among former government officials and prominent educators, businessmen, and citizens) and the Consultative Council or Majlis al-Shura (85 seats; members directly elected in single- and two-seat constituencies by simple majority popular vote to serve renewable 4-year terms); note - following political reforms in 2011, legislation from the Consultative Council is submitted to the Council of State for review by the Royal Court
elections: Consultative Assembly - last held on 25 October 2015 (next to be held in October 2019)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA; note - organized political parties in Oman are legally banned

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of 5 judges)
judge selection and term of office: judges nominated by the 9-member Supreme Judicial Council (chaired by the monarch) and appointed by the monarch; judges appointed for life
subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal; Administrative Court; Courts of First Instance; sharia courts; magistrates' courts; military courts

Political parties and leaders

none; note - organized political parties are legally banned in Oman, and loyalties tend to form around tribal affiliations

Political pressure groups and leaders


International organization participation


Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Hunaina bint Sultan bin Ahmad al-MUGHAIRI (since 9 November 2005)
chancery: 2535 Belmont Road, NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 387-1980
FAX: [1] (202) 745-4933

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Marc J. SIEVERS (since 7 January 2016)
embassy: Jamait Ad Duwal Al Arabiyya Street, Al Khuwair area, Muscat
mailing address: P.O. Box 202, P.C. 115, Madinat Al Sultan Qaboos, Muscat
telephone: [968] 24-643-400
FAX: [968] 24-643-740

Flag description

three horizontal bands of white, red, and green of equal width with a broad, vertical, red band on the hoist side; the national emblem (a khanjar dagger in its sheath superimposed on two crossed swords in scabbards) in white is centered near the top of the vertical band; white represents peace and prosperity, red recalls battles against foreign invaders, and green symbolizes the Jebel al Akhdar (Green Mountains) and fertility

National symbol(s)

khanjar dagger superimposed on two crossed swords; national colors: red, white, green

National anthem

name: "Nashid as-Salaam as-Sultani" (The Sultan's Anthem)
lyrics/music: Rashid bin Uzayyiz al KHUSAIDI/James Frederick MILLS, arranged by Bernard EBBINGHAUS
note: adopted 1932; new lyrics written after QABOOS bin Said al Said gained power in 1970; first performed by the band of a British ship as a salute to the Sultan during a 1932 visit to Muscat; the bandmaster of the HMS Hawkins was asked to write a salutation to the Sultan on the occasion of his ship visit


Population below poverty line


Economy - overview

Oman is heavily dependent on its dwindling oil resources, which generate 84% of government revenue. In 2016, low global oil prices drove Oman’s budget deficit to $11.3 billion, or nearly 19% of GDP. Oman has limited foreign assets and is issuing debt to c

Oman is using enhanced oil recovery techniques to boost production and has actively pursued a development plan that focuses on diversification, industrialization, and privatization, with the objective of reducing the oil sector's contribution to GDP from

Muscat also is focused on creating more jobs to employ the rising number of Omanis entering the workforce. Increases in social welfare benefits, however, particularly since the Arab Spring, dating to 2011, have challenged the government's ability to effec

GDP (purchasing power parity)

$173.1 billion (2016 est.)
$170 billion (2015 est.)
$164.6 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$59.68 billion (2015 est.)

GDP - real growth rate

1.8% (2016 est.)
3.3% (2015 est.)
2.9% (2014 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP)

$43,700 (2016 est.)
$44,300 (2015 est.)
$44,300 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars

Gross national saving

9.7% of GDP (2016 est.)
11.5% of GDP (2015 est.)
27.7% of GDP (2014 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 41%
government consumption: 28.4%
investment in fixed capital: 37%
investment in inventories: -4.7%
exports of goods and services: 49.4%
imports of goods and services: -51.1% (2016 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 1.7%
industry: 45.4%
services: 52.9% (2016 est.)

Agriculture - products

dates, limes, bananas, alfalfa, vegetables; camels, cattle; fish


crude oil production and refining, natural and liquefied natural gas (LNG) production; construction, cement, copper, steel, chemicals, optic fiber

Industrial production growth rate

1.5% (2016 est.)

Labor force

note: about 60% of the labor force is non-national (2007 est.)

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%

Unemployment rate

15% (2004 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%


revenues: $20.26 billion
expenditures: $31.55 billion (2016 est.)

Taxes and other revenues

34% of GDP (2016 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-18.9% of GDP (2016 est.)

Public debt

18.5% of GDP (2016 est.)
8.3% of GDP (2015 est.)

Fiscal year

calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

2% (2016 est.)
0.1% (2015 est.)

Central bank discount rate

2% (31 December 2010)
0.05% (31 December 2009)

Commercial bank prime lending rate

5% (31 December 2016 est.)
4.76% (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of narrow money

$14.24 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$13.96 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of broad money

$40.94 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$39.39 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of domestic credit

$48.49 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$45.1 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares

$41.12 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$37.83 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$36.77 billion (31 December 2013 est.)

Current account balance

-$12.71 billion (2016 est.)
-$11.23 billion (2015 est.)


$30.39 billion (2016 est.)
$34.43 billion (2015 est.)

Exports - commodities

petroleum, reexports, fish, metals, textiles

Exports - partners

China 35.4%, UAE 15.3%, South Korea 6.8%, Saudi Arabia 5.8%, Pakistan 4.2% (2015)


$25.78 billion (2016 est.)
$28.27 billion (2015 est.)

Imports - commodities

machinery and transport equipment, manufactured goods, food, livestock, lubricants

Imports - partners

UAE 29.7%, Japan 10.2%, US 7.5%, China 6.7%, India 6.3% (2015)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$14.54 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$17.54 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Debt - external

$20.85 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$12.94 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home


Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad


Exchange rates

Omani rials (OMR) per US dollar -
0.3845 (2016 est.)
0.3845 (2015 est.)
0.3845 (2014 est.)
0.3845 (2013 est.)
0.3845 (2012 est.)


Electricity - access

population without electricity: 100,000
electrification - total population: 98%
electrification - urban areas: 99%
electrification - rural areas: 93% (2013)

Electricity - production

28 billion kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - consumption

25 billion kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - exports

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - imports

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity

8.2 million kW (2014 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels

100% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Crude oil - production

982,000 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Crude oil - exports

806,000 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Crude oil - imports

7,060 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves

5.3 billion bbl (1 January 2016 es)

Refined petroleum products - production

158,600 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption

160,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports

33,450 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports

14,810 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Natural gas - production

30.9 billion cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - consumption

22.6 billion cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - exports

10.27 billion cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - imports

1.97 billion cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves

688.1 billion cu m (1 January 2016 es)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy

69 million Mt (2013 est.)


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 434,932
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 13 (July 2015 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular

total: 6.647 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 202 (July 2015 est.)

Telephone system

general assessment: modern system consisting of open-wire, microwave, and radiotelephone communication stations; limited coaxial cable; domestic satellite system with 8 earth stations
domestic: fixed-line and mobile-cellular subscribership both increasing with fixed-line phone service gradually being introduced to remote villages using wireless local loop systems
international: country code - 968; the Fiber-Optic Link Around the Globe (FLAG) and the SEA-ME-WE-3 submarine cable provide connectivity to Asia, the Middle East, and Europe; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Indian Ocean), 1 Arabsat (2015)

Broadcast media

1 state-run TV broadcaster; TV stations transmitting from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Yemen available via satellite TV; state-run radio operates multiple stations; first private radio station began operating in 2007 and 2 additional stations now operating (2007)

Internet country code


Internet users

total: 2.438 million
percent of population: 74.2% (July 2015 est.)


National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 1
inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 45
annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 6,365,784
annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 412,234,008 mt-km (2015)

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

A4O (2016)


132 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 13
over 3,047 m: 7
2,438 to 3,047 m: 5
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2013)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 119
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 7
1,524 to 2,437 m: 51
914 to 1,523 m: 33
under 914 m: 26 (2013)


3 (2013)


condensate 106 km; gas 4,224 km; oil 3,558 km; oil/gas/water 33 km; refined products 264 km (2013)


total: 60,230 km
paved: 29,685 km (includes 1,943 km of expressways)
unpaved: 30,545 km (2012)

Merchant marine

total: 5
by type: chemical tanker 1, passenger 1, passenger/cargo 3
registered in other countries: 15 (Malta 5, Panama 10) (2010)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Mina' Qabus, Salalah, Suhar
container port(s) (TEUs): Salalah (3,200,000)
LNG terminal(s) (export): Qalhat


Military branches

Sultan's Armed Forces (SAF): Royal Army of Oman, Royal Navy of Oman, Royal Air Force of Oman (al-Quwwat al-Jawwiya al-Sultanat Oman) (2013)

Military service age and obligation

18-30 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2012)

Military expenditures

12.75% of GDP (2016)
14.58% of GDP (2015)
11.8% of GDP (2014)
15% of GDP (2013)
8.61% of GDP (2012)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

boundary agreement reportedly signed and ratified with UAE in 2003 for entire border, including Oman's Musandam Peninsula and Al Madhah exclave, but details of the alignment have not been made public

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 5,000 (Yemen) (2016)