Facts about Qatar

World Facts Index

Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-ThaniRuled 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. As of 2007, oil and natural gas revenues had enabled Qatar to attain the highest per capita income in the world.

Geography of Qatar

Middle East, peninsula bordering the Persian Gulf and Saudi Arabia
25 30 N, 51 15 E
total: 11,437 sq km
water: 0 sq km
land: 11,437 sq km
Area comparative:
slightly smaller than Connecticut
Land boundaries:
total: 60 km
border countries: Saudi Arabia 60 km
563 km
Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: 24 NM
exclusive economic zone: as determined by bilateral agreements or the median line
territorial sea: 12 NM
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
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

Population of Qatar

824,789 (July 2008 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)
Median age:
31.7 years
Growth rate:
Infant mortality:
18.04 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:
73.9 years
Fertility rate:
2.81 children born/woman
noun: Qatari(s)
adjective: Qatari
Ethnic groups:
Arab 40%, Pakistani 18%, Indian 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% 


Country name:
conventional long form: State of Qatar
note: closest approximation of the native pronunciation falls between cutter and gutter, but not like guitar
local long form: Dawlat Qatar
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)
provisional constitution enacted 19 April 1972; in July 1999 Amir HAMAD issued a decree forming a committee to draft a permanent constitution; in the 29 April 2003 referendum, 96.6% of Qatari voters approved the new constitution
Legal system:
discretionary system of law controlled by the amir, although civil codes are being implemented; Islamic law dominates family and personal matters
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: Amir HAMAD bin Khalifa Al-Thani (since 27 June 1995 when, as heir apparent, he ousted his father, Amir KHALIFA bin Hamad Al-Thani, in a bloodless coup); Heir Apparent TAMIM bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, fourth son of the monarch (selected Heir Apparent by the monarch on 5 August 2003); note - Amir HAMAD also holds the positions of Minister of Defense and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces
head of government: Prime Minister HAMAD bin Jasim bin Jabir Al-Thani (since 3 April 2007); Deputy Prime Minister Abdallah bin Hamad al-ATIYAH (since 3 April 2007)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the monarch
elections: the monarch is hereditary.
Legislative branch:
unicameral Advisory Council or Majlis al-Shura (35 seats; members appointed)
Judicial branch:
Court of Appeal


Qatar is in the midst of an economic boom supported by its expanding production of natural gas and oil. Economic policy is focused on development of Qatar's nonassociated natural gas reserves and increasing private and foreign investment in non-energy sectors. Oil and gas account for more than 60% of GDP, roughly 85% of export earnings, and 70% of government revenues. Oil and gas have made Qatar the highest per-capita income country and one of the world's fastest growing. Sustained high oil prices and increased natural gas exports in recent years have helped build Qatar's budget and trade surpluses and foreign reserves. Proved oil reserves of more than 15 billion barrels should ensure continued output at current levels for 22 years. Qatar's proved reserves of natural gas are roughly 25 trillion cubic meters, about 15% 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 became the world's top liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporter in 2007.

$71.42 billion (2007 est.)
GDP growth rate:
GDP per capita:
GDP composition by sector:
agriculture: 0.2%
industry: 80.1%
services: 19.7%
Inflation rate:
Labor force:
revenues: $17.31 billion
expenditures: $11.31 billion
Electricity production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
crude oil production and refining, ammonia, fertilizers, petrochemicals, steel reinforcing bars, cement, commercial ship repair
fruits, vegetables; poultry, dairy products, beef; fish
liquefied natural gas (LNG), petroleum products, fertilizers, steel
Export partners:
Japan 39.6%, South Korea 15.1%, Singapore 8.8%, India 5.2%
machinery and transport equipment, food, chemicals
Import partners:
France 13.2%, Japan 11.9%, US 11.9%, Germany 9%, UK 7.5%, Saudi Arabia 6.7%, Italy 6.7%, UAE 4.5%
Qatari rial (QAR)

SOURCES: The CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State, Area Handbook of the US Library of Congress

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