Qatar is home to an estimated population of 2.8 million. According to the latest data published by the Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics, men outnumber women by almost one to four. This is mainly due to the massive inflow of male migrant workers, where the number of non-Qatari workers is estimated at 1.7 million, in comparison to 0.2 million non-Qatari women. The working age population of 15-64 years makes up 86 percent of the total population.[1] Around 99.1 percent of the population in Qatar lives in urban areas and cities.[2]

Qatar’s economy relies heavily on its hydrocarbon resources, with oil and gas constituting 82.7 percent of total government revenues.[3] Qatar has been the world’s leading exporter of Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) since 2006, constituting  around 34 percent of total exports in 2017.[4] The country has also the third largest reserves of LNG in the world at 25 trillion cubic meters.[5] Since 2013, the amount of oil produced in Qatar has declined from about 728,000 barrels per day in 2013 to about 607,000 barrels per day in 2017,[6] constituting around only 2.1 percent of OPEC total oil reserves.[7] In January 2019, Qatar ended its nearly 60-year-old membership in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and withdrew from OPEC, supported by the authorities’ intention to focus on its plans to increase LNG production.[8]


Due to lower hydrocarbon prices as of mid-2014, the overall fiscal balance has been fluctuating across the years, from a surplus of 5.4 percent of GPD in 2015 to a deficit of 4.7 percent of GDP in 2016. However, the deficit has narrowed to 1.6 percent in 2017 and a surplus of 3.6 percent has been registered in 2018. Real GDP growth rate has declined from 4 percent in 2014 to 1.6 percent in 2017. This rate has slightly increased again to 2.7 percent in 2018 due to recent recovery in oil prices and prudent macroeconomic policies.[9]


The hydrocarbon sector has placed Qatar as the world’s richest country per capita. In 2017, Qatar’s Gross National Income (GNI) per capita (Purchasing Power Parity) recorded Int$ 128,050 and the GDP (Purchasing Power Parity, constant 2011 prices) reached Int$ 308.6 billion.[10]


As outlaid by Qatar’s national vision (QNV) 2030, economic diversification is set as a top priority and the country is determined to contain its dependence on hydrocarbon resources. Major infrastructure programs and investments in the amount of US$200 billion (equivalent to 121 percent of GDP in 2017) are planned for the preparations of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.[4]


Qatar has the second highest Human Development Index in the Arab region at 0.856 after the United Arab Emirates.[11] The country has achieved remarkable accomplishments in the health and education sectors over the past decades. Qatar is ranked top 1 among the Arab countries in the Universal Health Coverage Index at 77 at part with Kuwait.[12] In addition, 100 percent of births are performed in hospitals under medical supervision by skilled personnel, indicating a full coverage of maternal health care services at birth. On education, Qatar has aimed to integrate sustainable development into its educational curricula in order to achieve QNV 2030.  Adult literacy rate was estimated at 98.5 percent and youth literacy rate at 100 percent. Also all schools in Qatar had access to facilities, infrastructure, technology and the internet.[1]


This overview was last updated in February 2019. Priority is given to the latest available official data published by national statistical offices and/or public institutions. 


[1] Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics, Qatar. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 8 February 2019].
[2] Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat. 2017. World Population Prospects. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 8 February 2019].
[3] Qatar Central Bank. 2017. The forty first annual report. [ONLINE] Available at:  [Accessed 27 February 2019].
[4] International Monetary Fund (IMF). May 2018. 2018 Article IV Consultation-Press Release: Staff Report; and statement by the executive director for Qatar. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 11 February 2019].
[5] World Energy Resources, World Energy Council. 2019. [Online] Available at: [Accessed on 11 February 2019].
[6] AlJazeera. December 2018. Qatar to withdraw from OPEC in January 2019. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 27 February 2019].

[7] Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). 2017. OPEC share of world crude oil reserves, 2017. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 26 February 2019].
[8] Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). 2018. Qatar gives notice of its withdrawal from OPEC. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 12 February 2019].
[9] International Monetary Fund (IMF). October 2018.World Economic Outlook Database[ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 11 February 2019].
[10] The World Bank. 2019. World Development Indicators. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 11 January 2019].
[11] United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). 2018. Human Development Report. 2018 statistical update. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed on 11 February 2019].
[12] World Health Organization (WHO). 2018. The Global Health Observatory. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 11 January 2019].

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Data Highlights

  • The cash balance recorded a surplus of 16% of GDP in 2015, up from 14.2% of GDP in 2014, coupled with a slight decrease in Government revenues by 1.8% between 2014 and 2015, and a drop in expenditures by 10.3% over the same period.

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