World main menu
World fact files



Flag of Qatar

map (opens in new window)


Ruled by the al-Thani family since the mid-1800s, Qatar transformed itself from a poor British protectorate noted mainly for pearling into an independent state with significant oil and natural gas revenues. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Qatari economy was crippled by a continuous siphoning off of petroleum revenues by the amir, who had ruled the country since 1972. His son, the current Amir HAMAD bin Khalifa al-Thani, overthrew him in a bloodless coup in 1995. In 2001, Qatar resolved its longstanding border disputes with both Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. Oil and natural gas revenues enable Qatar to have one of the highest per capita incomes in the world.


Middle East, peninsula bordering the Persian Gulf and Saudi Arabia

Geographic coordinates:

25 30 N, 51 15 E


total: 11,437 sq km
land: 11,437 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Land boundaries:

total: 60 km
border countries: Saudi Arabia 60 km


563 km

Maritime claims:

territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: as determined by bilateral agreements or the median line


arid; mild, pleasant winters; very hot, humid summers


mostly flat and barren desert covered with loose sand and gravel

Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Persian Gulf 0 m
highest point: Qurayn Abu al Bawl 103 m

Natural resources:

petroleum, natural gas, fish

Land use:

arable land: 1.64%
permanent crops: 0.27%
other: 98.09% (2005)

Irrigated land:

130 sq km (2002)

Natural hazards:

haze, dust storms, sandstorms common

Environment - current issues:

limited natural fresh water resources are increasing dependence on large-scale desalination facilities

Geography - note:

strategic location in central Persian Gulf near major petroleum deposits


885,359 (July 2006 est.)

Age structure:

0-14 years: 23.4% (male 105,546/female 101,371)
15-64 years: 73% (male 446,779/female 199,133)
65 years and over: 3.7% (male 24,059/female 8,471) (2006 est.)

Median age:

total: 31.7 years
male: 37.1 years
female: 22.7 years (2006 est.)

Population growth rate:

2.5% (2006 est.)

Birth rate:

15.56 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Death rate:

4.72 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Net migration rate:

14.12 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 2.24 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 2.84 male(s)/female
total population: 1.87 male(s)/female (2006 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 18.04 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 21.27 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 14.63 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 73.9 years
male: 71.37 years
female: 76.57 years (2006 est.)

Total fertility rate:

2.81 children born/woman (2006 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

0.09% (2001 est.)


noun: Qatari(s)
adjective: Qatari

Ethnic groups:

Arab 40%, Indian 18%, Pakistani 18%, Iranian 10%, other 14%


Muslim 95%


Arabic (official), English commonly used as a second language


definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 89%
male: 89.1%
female: 88.6% (2004 est.)

Country name:

conventional long form: State of Qatar
conventional short form: Qatar
local long form: Dawlat Qatar
local short form: Qatar
note: closest approximation of the native pronunciation falls between cutter and gutter, but not like guitar

Government type:

traditional monarchy



Administrative divisions:

10 municipalities (baladiyat, singular - baladiyah); Ad Dawhah, Al Ghuwayriyah, Al Jumayliyah, Al Khawr, Al Wakrah, Ar Rayyan, Jarayan al Batinah, Madinat ash Shamal, Umm Sa'id, Umm Salal


3 September 1971 (from UK)

National holiday:

Independence Day, 3 September (1971)


ratified by public referendum on 29 April 2003, endorsed by the amir on 8 June 2004, effective on 9 June 2005

Legal system:

discretionary system of law controlled by the amir, although civil codes are being implemented; Shari'a law dominates family and personal matters


18 years of age; universal

Legislative branch:

unicameral Advisory Council or Majlis al-Shura (35 seats; members appointed)
note: no legislative elections have been held since 1970 when there were partial elections to the body; Council members have had their terms extended every four years since; the new constitution, which came into force on 9 June 2005, provides for a 45-member Consultative Council, or Majlis al-Shura; the public would elect two-thirds of the Majlis al-Shura; the amir would appoint the remaining members; preparations are underway to conduct elections to the Majlis al-Shura in early 2007

Judicial branch:

Court of Appeal
note: under a judiciary law issued in 2003, the former two court systems, civil and Islamic law, were merged under a higher court, the Court of Cassation, established for appeals

Economy - overview:

Oil and gas account for more than 60% of GDP, roughly 85% of export earnings, and 70% of government revenues. Oil and gas have given Qatar a per capita GDP about 80% of that of the leading West European industrial countries. Proved oil reserves of 16 billion barrels should ensure continued output at current levels for 23 years. Qatar's proved reserves of natural gas exceed 25 trillion cubic meters, more than 5% of the world total and third largest in the world. Qatar has permitted substantial foreign investment in the development of its gas fields during the last decade and is expected to become the world's top liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporter by 2007. In recent years, Qatar has consistently posted trade surpluses largely because of high oil prices and increased natural gas exports, becoming one of the world's fastest growing and highest per-capita income countries.

GDP (purchasing power parity):

$22.51 billion (2005 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):

$29.44 billion (2005 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

8.8% (2005 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$26,100 (2005 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 0.2%
industry: 81%
services: 18.8% (2005 est.)

Labor force:

440,000 (2005 est.)

Unemployment rate:

2.7% (2001)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

7.8% (2005 est.)

Investment (gross fixed):

20.9% of GDP (2005 est.)


revenues: $17.31 billion
expenditures: $11.31 billion; including capital expenditures of $2.2 billion (2005 est.)

Public debt:

36.7% of GDP (2005 est.)

Agriculture - products:

fruits, vegetables; poultry, dairy products, beef; fish


crude oil production and refining, ammonia, fertilizers, petrochemicals, steel reinforcing bars, cement, commercial ship repair

Industrial production growth rate:

10% (2003 est.)

Electricity - production:

9.735 billion kWh (2003)

Electricity - consumption:

9.053 billion kWh (2003)

Oil - production:

790,500 bbl/day (2005 est.)

Oil - consumption:

33,000 bbl/day (2003 est.)

Oil - proved reserves:

16 billion bbl (2005 est.)

Natural gas - production:

30.8 billion cu m (2003 est.)

Natural gas - consumption:

11.61 billion cu m (2003 est.)

Natural gas - exports:

18.2 billion cu m (2004 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves:

25.77 trillion cu m (2005)

Current account balance:

$10.53 billion (2005 est.)


$24.9 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)

Exports - commodities:

liquefied natural gas (LNG), petroleum products, fertilizers, steel

Exports - partners:

Japan 41.9%, South Korea 15.8%, Singapore 9.1%, India 5.4% (2004)


$6.706 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)

Imports - commodities:

machinery and transport equipment, food, chemicals

Imports - partners:

France 26.6%, US 9.5%, Saudi Arabia 9.4%, UAE 6.3%, Germany 5.2%, Japan 5.2%, UK 5.1% (2004)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:

$4.754 billion (2005 est.)

Debt - external:

$20.63 billion (2005 est.)

Currency (code):

Qatari rial (QAR)

Fiscal year:

1 April - 31 March

Telephones - main lines in use:

190,900 (2004)

Telephones - mobile cellular:

490,300 (2004)

Telephone system:

general assessment: modern system centered in Doha
domestic: NA
international: country code - 974; tropospheric scatter to Bahrain; microwave radio relay to Saudi Arabia and UAE; submarine cable to Bahrain and UAE; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (1 Atlantic Ocean and 1 Indian Ocean) and 1 Arabsat

Radio broadcast stations:

AM 6, FM 5, shortwave 1 (1998)

Television broadcast stations:

1 (plus three repeaters) (2001)

Internet country code:


Internet hosts:

204 (2005)

Internet users:

165,000 (2005)


5 (2005)

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 3
over 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2005)

Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2005)


1 (2005)


condensate 319 km; condensate/gas 209 km; gas 1,024 km; liquid petroleum gas 87 km; oil 702 km; oil/gas/water 41 km (2004)


total: 1,230 km
paved: 1,107 km
unpaved: 123 km (1999)

Merchant marine:

total: 21 ships (1000 GRT or over) 579,533 GRT/852,015 DWT
by type: cargo 2, chemical tanker 4, container 8, liquefied gas 2, petroleum tanker 4, roll on/roll off 1
foreign-owned: 8 (Kuwait 7, UAE 1) (2005)

Ports and terminals:


Military branches:

Qatari Amiri Land Force (QALF), Qatari Amiri Navy (QAN), Qatari Amiri Air Force (QAAF)