Ruled by the Al Thani family since the mid-1800s, Qatar within the last 60 years transformed itself from a poor British protectorate noted mainly for pearling into an independent state with significant oil and natural gas revenues. The continuous siphoning off of petroleum revenue through the mid-1990s by Qatari amirs permanently residing in Europe had stunted Qatar’s economic growth. Former amir HAMAD bin Khalifa Al Thani, who overthrew his father in a bloodless coup in 1995, ushered in wide-sweeping political and media reforms, unprecedented economic investment, and a growing Qatari regional leadership role, in part through the creation of the pan-Arab satellite news network Al-Jazeera and Qatar's mediation of some regional conflicts. In the 2000s, Qatar resolved its longstanding border disputes with both Bahrain and Saudi Arabia and by 2007 had attained the highest per capita income in the world. Qatar did not experience domestic unrest or violence like that seen in other Near Eastern and North African countries in 2010-11, due in part to its immense wealth. Since the outbreak of regional unrest, however, Doha has prided itself on its support for many of these popular revolutions, particularly in Libya and Syria, although to the detriment of Qatar’s relations with Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which temporarily recalled their respective ambassadors from Qatar. In mid-2013, HAMAD transferred power to his 33 year-old son, the current Amir TAMIM bin Hamad - a peaceful abdication rare in the history of Arab Gulf states. TAMIM oversaw a warming of Qatar’s relations with Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE by later in 2014 and prioritized improving the domestic welfare of Qataris, including establishing advanced healthcare and education systems and expanding the country's infrastructure in anticipation of Doha's hosting of the 2022 World Cup.



Middle East, peninsula bordering the Persian Gulf and Saudi Arabia

Geographic coordinates

25 30 N, 51 15 E

Map references

Middle East


total: 11,586 sq km
land: 11,586 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Area - comparative

almost twice the size of Delaware; slightly smaller than Connecticut

Land boundaries

total: 87 km
border countries (1): Saudi Arabia 87 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


mean elevation: 28 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Persian Gulf 0 m
highest point: Tuwayyir al Hamir 103 m

Natural resources

petroleum, natural gas, fish

Land use

agricultural land: 5.6%
arable land 1.1%; permanent crops 0.2%; permanent pasture 4.3%
forest: 0%
other: 94.4% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

130 sq km (2012)

Natural hazards

haze, dust storms, sandstorms common

Environment - current issues

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

Environment - international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note

the peninsula occupies a strategic location in the central Persian Gulf near major petroleum deposits

People and Society

Population growth rate

2.64% (2016 est.)


2,258,283 (July 2016 est.)


noun: Qatari(s)
adjective: Qatari

Ethnic groups

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


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


Muslim 77.5%, Christian 8.5%, other (includes mainly Hindu and other Indian religions) 14% (2004 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 12.57% (male 143,859/female 140,027)
15-24 years: 12.62% (male 206,775/female 78,271)
25-54 years: 70.45% (male 1,321,973/female 269,072)
55-64 years: 3.41% (male 59,418/female 17,578)
65 years and over: 0.94% (male 13,610/female 7,700) (2016 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 20.1%
youth dependency ratio: 18.6%
elderly dependency ratio: 1.4%
potential support ratio: 70.4% (2015 est.)

Median age

total: 33 years
male: 24.1 years
female: 28.1 years (2016 est.)

Birth rate

9.7 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)

Death rate

1.5 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)

Net migration rate

18.2 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)

Population distribution

most of the population is clustered in or around the capital of Doha on the eastern side of the peninsula


urban population: 99.2% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 6.02% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

DOHA (capital) 718,000 (2015)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.02 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 2.64 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 4.91 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 3.38 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.71 male(s)/female
total population: 3.41 male(s)/female (2016 est.)

Maternal mortality rate

13 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 6.2 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 6.4 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 6 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 78.7 years
male: 76.7 years
female: 80.8 years (2016 est.)

Total fertility rate

1.9 children born/woman (2016 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

38% (2012)

Health expenditures

2.2% of GDP (2014)

Physicians density

7.74 physicians/1,000 population (2010)

Hospital bed density

1.2 beds/1,000 population (2012)

Drinking water source

urban: 100% of population
rural: 100% of population
total: 100% of population
urban: 0% of population
rural: 0% of population
total: 0% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation facility access

urban: 98% of population
rural: 98% of population
total: 98% of population
urban: 2% of population
rural: 2% of population
total: 2% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate


HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS


HIV/AIDS - deaths


Obesity - adult prevalence rate

41% (2014)

Education expenditures

3.5% of GDP (2014)


definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 97.3%
male: 97.4%
female: 96.8% (2015 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 13 years
male: 13 years
female: 14 years (2011)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 1.1%
male: 0.4%
female: 6.2% (2013 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 is gattar or cottar
etymology: the origin of the name is uncertain, but it dates back at least 2,000 years since a term "Catharrei" was used to describe the inhabitants of the peninsula by Pliny the Elder (1st century A.D.), and a "Catara" peninsula is depicted on a map by Ptolemy (2nd century A.D.)

Government type

absolute monarchy


name: Doha
geographic coordinates: 25 17 N, 51 32 E
time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions

8 municipalities (baladiyat, singular - baladiyah); Ad Dawhah, Al Khawr wa adh Dhakhirah, Al Wakrah, Ar Rayyan, Ash Shamal, Ash Shihaniyah, Az Za'ayin, Umm Salal


3 September 1971 (from the UK)

National holiday

National Day, 18 December (1878), anniversary of Al Thani family accession to the throne; Independence Day, 3 September (1971)


previous 1972 (provisional); latest drafted 2 July 2002, approved by referendum 29 April 2003, endorsed 8 June 2004, effective 9 June 2005 (2016)

Legal system

mixed legal system of civil law and Islamic law (in family and personal matters)

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt


citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: the father must be a citizen of Qatar
dual citizenship recognized: no
residency requirement for naturalization: 20 years; 15 years if an Arab national


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: Amir TAMIM bin Hamad Al Thani (since 25 June 2013)
head of government: Prime Minister ABDALLAH bin Nasir bin Khalifa Al Thani (since 26 June 2013); Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad bin Abdallah al-MAHMUD (since 20 September 2011)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the amir
elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; prime minister and deputy prime minister appointed by the amir

Legislative branch

description: unicameral Advisory Council or Majlis al-Shura (15 seats; members appointed by the monarch); note - the 2003 constitutional referendum called for the election of 30 members, however; the first election scheduled for 2013 was postponed and the current term was initially extended until 2016, but in June 2016, the Amir extended it until at least 2019
note: although the Advisory Council has limited legislative authority to draft and approve laws, the Amir has final vote on all legislation; Qatar's first legislative elections were expected to be held in 2013, but HAMAD postponed them in a final legislative act prior to handing over power to TAMIM; in principle, the public would elect 30 members and the Amir would appoint 15; the Advisory Council would have authority to approve the national budget, hold ministers accountable through no-confidence votes, and propose legislation; the 29-member Central Municipal Council - first elected in 1999 - has limited consultative authority aimed at improving municipal services; members elected for a 4-year term; next election scheduled for May 2019

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Court or Court of Cassation (consists of the court president and several judges); Supreme Constitutional Court (consists of the chief justice and 6 members)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges nominated by the Supreme Judiciary Council, a 9-member independent body consisting of judiciary heads appointed by the Amir; judges appointed for 3-year renewable terms; Supreme Constitutional Court members nominated by the Supreme Judiciary Council and appointed by the monarch; term of appointment NA
subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal; Administrative Court; courts of first instance; sharia courts; Courts of Justice; Qatar International Court and Dispute Resolution Center, established in 2009, provides dispute services for institutions and bodies in Qatar, as well as internationally

Political parties and leaders

political parties are banned

Political pressure groups and leaders


National symbol(s)

a maroon field surmounted by a white serrated band with nine white points; national colors: maroon, white

International organization participation

ABEDA, AFESD, AMF, CAEU, CD, CICA (observer), EITI (implementing country), FAO, G-77, GCC, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, LAS, MIGA, NAM, OAPEC, OAS (observer), OIC, OIF, OPCW, OPEC, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Muhammad bin Jaham Abd al-Aziz al-KUWARI (since 10 March 2014)
chancery: 2555 M Street NW, Washington, DC 20037
telephone: [1] (202) 274-1600
FAX: [1] (202) 237-0682
consulate(s) general: Houston, Los Angeles

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Dana Shell SMITH (since 8 September 2014)
embassy: 22 February Road, Al Luqta District, Doha
mailing address: P. O. Box 2399, Doha
telephone: [974] 4496-6000
FAX: [974] 4488-4298

Flag description

maroon with a broad white serrated band (nine white points) on the hoist side; maroon represents the blood shed in Qatari wars, white stands for peace; the nine-pointed serrated edge signifies Qatar as the ninth member of the "reconciled emirates" in the wake of the Qatari-British treaty of 1916
note: the other eight emirates are the seven that compose the UAE and Bahrain; according to some sources, the dominant color was formerly red, but this darkened to maroon upon exposure to the sun and the new shade was eventually adopted

National anthem

name: "Al-Salam Al-Amiri" (The Amiri Salute)
lyrics/music: Sheikh MUBARAK bin Saif al-Thani/Abdul Aziz Nasser OBAIDAN
note: adopted 1996; anthem first performed that year at a meeting of the Gulf Cooperative Council hosted by Qatar


Industrial production growth rate

1.5% (2016 est.)

Economy - overview

Qatar has prospered in the last several years with continued high real GDP growth, but low oil prices have dampened the outlook. Qatar was the only Gulf Cooperation Council member that avoided a budget deficit in 2015, but it had a $12 billion deficit, 7.

GDP is driven largely by the oil and gas sector; however, growth in manufacturing, construction, and financial services have lifted the non-oil sectors to just over half of Qatar’s nominal GDP. Economic policy is focused on sustaining Qatar's non-associat

Qatar's successful 2022 World Cup bid is accelerating large-scale infrastructure projects such as its metro system, light rail system, construction of a new port, roads, stadiums and related sporting infrastructure.

GDP (purchasing power parity)

$334.5 billion (2016 est.)
$325.9 billion (2015 est.)
$314.4 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$156.6 billion (2015 est.)

GDP - real growth rate

2.6% (2016 est.)
3.7% (2015 est.)
4% (2014 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP)

$129,700 (2016 est.)
$134,600 (2015 est.)
$140,700 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars

Gross national saving

42.3% of GDP (2016 est.)
47% of GDP (2015 est.)
57.6% of GDP (2014 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 25.7%
government consumption: 22.6%
investment in fixed capital: 44.8%
investment in inventories: 1.7%
exports of goods and services: 46.5%
imports of goods and services: -41.3% (2016 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 0.1%
industry: 51.1%
services: 48.8% (2016 est.)

Agriculture - products

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


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

Labor force

1.691 million (2016 est.)

Unemployment rate

0.7% (2016 est.)
0.4% (2015 est.)

Population below poverty line


Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 1.3%
highest 10%: 35.9% (2007)


revenues: $41.71 billion
expenditures: $53.95 billion (2016 est.)

Taxes and other revenues

26.6% of GDP (2016 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-7.8% of GDP (2016 est.)

Public debt

55.6% of GDP (2016 est.)
41.6% of GDP (2015 est.)

Fiscal year

1 April - 31 March

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

3.8% (2016 est.)
1.7% (2015 est.)

Central bank discount rate

4.5% (31 December 2012)
4.93% (31 December 2011)

Commercial bank prime lending rate

5% (31 December 2016 est.)
4.5% (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of narrow money

$34.45 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$34.87 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of broad money

$155.8 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$138.5 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of domestic credit

$218.7 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$200.6 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares

$142.6 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$185.9 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$152.6 billion (31 December 2013 est.)

Current account balance

-$2.885 billion (2016 est.)
$13.75 billion (2015 est.)


$64.69 billion (2016 est.)
$77.29 billion (2015 est.)

Exports - commodities

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

Exports - partners

Japan 25.4%, India 14.6%, China 8.4%, UAE 6.8%, Singapore 5.6%, UK 5.5%, Thailand 4.2% (2015)


$33.76 billion (2016 est.)
$28.5 billion (2015 est.)

Imports - commodities

machinery and transport equipment, food, chemicals

Imports - partners

China 11.9%, US 11.3%, UAE 9%, Germany 7.7%, Japan 6.7%, UK 5.9%, Italy 4.6%, Saudi Arabia 4.4% (2015)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$36.03 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$37.26 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Debt - external

$159.2 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$141.6 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home

$35.38 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$34.53 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad

$52.66 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$49.73 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Exchange rates

Qatari rials (QAR) per US dollar -
3.64 (2016 est.)
3.64 (2015 est.)
3.64 (2014 est.)
3.64 (2013 est.)
3.64 (2012 est.)


Electricity - access

population without electricity: 45,165
electrification - total population: 98%
electrification - urban areas: 98%
electrification - rural areas: 93% (2012)

Electricity - production

36 billion kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - consumption

34 billion kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - exports

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - imports

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity

8.8 million kW (2014 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels

98.5% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources

1.5% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Crude oil - production

1.532 million bbl/day (2015 est.)

Crude oil - exports

1.303 million bbl/day (2013 est.)

Crude oil - imports

0 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves

25 billion bbl (1 January 2016 es)

Refined petroleum products - production

286,800 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption

238,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports

542,900 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports

2,555 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Natural gas - production

160 billion cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - consumption

41.07 billion cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - exports

118.9 billion cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - imports

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves

24.53 trillion cu m (1 January 2016 es)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy

92 million Mt (2013 est.)


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 428,858
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 20 (July 2015 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular

total: 3.61 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 164 (July 2015 est.)

Telephone system

general assessment: modern system centered in Doha
domestic: combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular telephone subscribership exceeds 180 telephones per 100 persons
international: country code - 974; landing point for the Fiber-Optic Link Around the Globe (FLAG) submarine cable network that provides links to Asia, Middle East, Europe, and the US; tropospheric scatter to Bahrain; microwave radio relay to Saudi Arabia and the UAE; sa (2015)

Broadcast media

TV and radio broadcast licensing and access to local media markets are state controlled; home of the satellite TV channel Al-Jazeera, which was originally owned and financed by the Qatari government but has evolved to independent corporate status; Al-Jaze (2014)

Internet country code


Internet users

total: 2.039 million
percent of population: 92.9% (July 2015 est.)


National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 2
inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 199
annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 25,263,224
annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 7,563,307,390 mt-km (2015)

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

A7 (2016)


6 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 4
over 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2013)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2013)


1 (2013)


condensate 288 km; condensate/gas 221 km; gas 2,383 km; liquid petroleum gas 90 km; oil 745 km; refined products 103 km (2013)


total: 9,830 km (2010)

Merchant marine

total: 28
by type: bulk carrier 3, chemical tanker 2, container 13, liquefied gas 6, petroleum tanker 4
foreign-owned: 6 (Kuwait 6)
registered in other countries: 35 (Liberia 5, Marshall Islands 29, Panama 1) (2010)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Doha, Mesaieed (Umaieed), Ra's Laffan
LNG terminal(s) (export): Ras Laffan


Military branches

Qatari Emiri Land Force (QELF), Qatari Emiri Navy (QEN), Qatari Emiri Air Force (QEAF) (2013)

Military service age and obligation

conscription for males aged 18-35; 4-month general obligation, 3 months for graduates (2014)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international


Refugees and internally displaced persons

stateless persons: 1,200 (2015)

Trafficking in persons

current situation: Qatar is a destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor, and, to a much lesser extent, forced prostitution; the predominantly foreign workforce migrates to Qatar legally for low- and semi-skilled work but often experiences situations of forced labor, including debt bondage, delayed or nonpayment of salaries, confiscation of passports, abuse, hazardous working conditions, and squalid living arrangements; foreign female domestic workers are particularly vulnerable to trafficking because of their isolation in private homes and lack of protection under Qatari labor laws; some women who migrate for work are also forced into prostitution
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List – Qatar does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so; the government investigated 11 trafficking cases but did not prosecute or convict any offenders, including exploitative employers and recruitment agencies; the primary solution for resolving labor violations was to transfer a worker’s sponsorship to a new employer with minimal effort to investigate whether a forced labor violation had occurred; authorities increased their efforts to protect some trafficking victims, although many victims of forced labor, particularly domestic workers, remained unidentified and unprotected and were sometimes punished for immigration violations or running away from an employer or sponsor; authorities visited worksites throughout the country to meet and educate workers and employers on trafficking regulations, but the government failed to abolish or reform the sponsorship system, perpetuating Qatar’s forced labor problem (2015)