The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the largest and most populous of the six Gulf Cooperation Council states. It covers an area similar in size to Western Europe, and has a growing population of around 31 million people, with a large youth population.
The majority of the population is based in its urban centres, with the three largest being the capital, Riyadh; Jeddah, on the Red Sea; and Dammam, in the Eastern Province, close to the largest oil producing regions. The country is also home to two of Islam's holiest sites, Mecca and Madinah.
Saudi Arabia is one of the world's largest producers of oil and gas. In recent years the country, like many of the Gulf States, has invested in the diversification of its economy, as well as in developing the country's education and healthcare systems.