Qatar Qatar

Statistical Snapshot


Qatar has an estimated population of 2.8 million. After winning the bid to host the 2022 FIFA world cup, major infrastructure projects and substantial international investment programs were planned, increasing the population by 63 percent since 2010 due to a massive inflow of foreign workers.  According to the latest data published by the Planning and Statistics Authority, the number of non-Qatari workers was estimated at 2 million, of which around 800,000 are employed in construction. It is estimated that of the 2 million foreign workers, 1.8 million were men; overall men outnumbered women by almost four to one in 2019. The working age population of 15-64 years makes up the highest share of total population at 84.6 percent.[1] 


Qatar’s Human Development Index value for 2018 is 0.848, which positioned the country among the very high human development group — ranking 41st out of 189 countries and territories and the third among Arab countries.[2] The heath sector in Qatar has seen remarkable progress in the past decade. Maternal mortality ratio per 100,000 live births dropped from 4.7 deaths in 2012 to zero in 2017 and the infant mortality rate per 1,000 live births was at 6.1 in 2018.  Additionally, all births are performed in hospitals under medical supervision by skilled personnel, indicating a full coverage of maternal health care services at birth. The availability of essential health services reached 100 percent of the total population covered by primary health care, contributing to the elimination of many diseases.[1]

Qatar’s economy relies heavily on its hydrocarbon resources, with oil and gas constituting 83.3 percent of government’s total revenues. Qatar has been the world’s leading exporter of Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) since 2006, constituting around 61.5 percent of total exports in 2018.[3] Additionally, the country is the world’s fifth-largest gas producer and second-largest gas exporter.[4] 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.[5] Qatar’s status as the world’s biggest gas exporter has made it the world’s richest country per capita, with a Gross National Income (GNI) per capita (Purchasing Power Parity) at $124,410.[6]


In the last few years, Qatar has been facing economic headwinds driven by the plunge in energy prices in 2014-2016 and the recent Covid-19 outbreak. According to data from Qatar Central Bank (QCB), real GDP growth has declined from 3.7 percent in 2015 down to 1.4 percent in 2018.[3] In 2019, the Qatari economy grew at 0.07 percent as reported by the latest IMF World Economic Outlook statistics.[7] This slow growth reflects the sluggishness in the oil and gas and non-oil sectors. Hydrocarbon GDP contracted to -1.5 percent in 2019, mainly due to self-imposed moratorium on development of the world’s biggest natural gas field and oil production cuts. Real growth in non-hydrocarbon sector fell to 1.5 percent of GDP in 2019 from 3.2 percent in 2018,[7] reflecting a contraction in the construction and manufacturing sectors as a result of the completion of a large number of infrastructure projects related to the World Cup, Hamad Port, Hamad International Airport, and roads and bridges. Faced by a dual shock of the spread of the Coronavirus and the sharp decline of hydrocarbon prices, growth is projected to drop to -4.3 percent in 2020. Growth is expected to pick up in 2021, up to 5 percent, the highest among GCC countries, driven by stronger activity in the service sector due to the world cup.[7]


The overall fiscal balance has been fluctuating. According to data from Qatar Central Bank, the budget registered deficits of 9.2 and 6.6 percent of GDP in 2016 and 2017, respectively, prompting the government to accelerate fiscal reforms and to spur economic diversification as laid out by Qatar’s National Vision (QNV) 2030. Higher total revenues driven by higher energy prices in 2018 alongside lower government expenditures has resulted in a surplus of 15.1 billion Qatari Riyal (QR), equivalent to 2.2 percent of GDP.[3] Despite economic disturbances caused by the pandemic, Qatar is expected to be the only country in the Arab region to register a fiscal surplus in 2020 and 2021 according to the IMF. The fiscal surplus is projected at 5.2 percent of GDP in 2020 but expected to decline to 1.4 percent of GDP in 2021.[7]


Similarly, the current account balance recorded an increasing surplus of 60.6 billion QR, equivalent to 8.7 percent of GDP in 2018, up from 3.8 percent of GDP in 2017, mainly due to strong exports growth and recovery in energy prices.[4] Lower projected hydrocarbon revenues and disrupted LNG sales in 2020 will also weigh on the country’s current account balance, which will shift from a surplus of 2.4 percent of GDP in 2019 to a deficit of 1.9 percent of GDP this year.[7]


In response to the COVID-19 crisis, Qatar has announced a 75 billion QR ($20.6 billion) stimulus package on 16 Mach, to provide financial and economic incentives to the private sector. This program aims at supporting small businesses, especially in hospitality, tourism, retail, and commercial sectors through six-month exemptions on utilities and rent payments.[8]



This overview was last updated in April 2020. Priority is given to the latest available official data published by national statistical offices and/or public institutions. 


[1] Planning and Statistics Authority. 2020 [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 24 April 2020].
[2] United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). 2019. Human Development Report 2019. [ONLINE] Available at:   [Accessed 24 April 2020].
[3] Qatar Central Bank. 2018. The forty second annual report. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 24 April 2020].
[4] World Bank. April 2020. Qatar’s Economic Update. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 24 April 2020]
[5] Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). 3 December 2018. Press Releases 2018: Qatar gives notice of its withdrawal from OPEC. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 24 April 2020]
[6] The World Bank. 2020. World Development Indicators. [ONLINE] Available at:[Accessed 25 April 2020].
[7] International Monetary Fund (IMF). April 2020. World Economic Outlook Database. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 25 April 2020].
[8] International Monetary Fund. April 2020.  IMF Policy Tracker. [ONLINE] Available at:  [Accessed 25 April 2020].

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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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