Qatar (Listeni/ˈkɑːtɑr/, Listeni/ˈkɑːtər/ or Listeni/kəˈtɑr/; Arabic: قطر Qaṭar [ˈqɑtˤɑr]; local vernacular pronunciation: [ɡɪtˤɑr]), officially the State of Qatar (Arabic: دولة قطر Dawlat Qaṭar), is a sovereign Arab emirate, located in Western Asia, occupying the small Qatar Peninsula on the northeasterly coast of the much larger Arabian Peninsula. Its sole land border is with Saudi Arabia to the south, with the rest of its territory surrounded by the Persian Gulf. A strait in the Persian Gulf separates Qatar from the nearby island state of Bahrain.
The Qatari peninsula just 100 miles (161 km) north into the Persian Gulf from Saudi Arabia. It lies between latitudes 24° and 27° N, and longitudes 50° and 52° E.
Much of the country consists of a low, barren plain, covered with sand. To the southeast lies the Khor al Adaid (“Inland Sea”), an area of rolling sand dunes surrounding an inlet of the Persian Gulf. There are mild winters and very hot, humid summers.
The highest point in Qatar is Qurayn Abu al Bawl at 103 metres (338 ft) in the Jebel Dukhan to the west, a range of low limestone outcroppings running north-south from Zikrit through Umm Bab to the southern border. The Jebel Dukhan area also contains Qatar's main onshore oil deposits, while the natural gas fields lie offshore, to the northwest of the peninsula.
First records about the demographics of Qatar dated back to 1892 which was prepared by Ottoman governors in the region. Based on this census, which only includes the residents in cities, total population of Qatar in 1892 was 9,830
Source: Qatar Statistics Authority (1904–2004); 2010 Census; 2013 est.
The 2010 census recorded the total population at 1,699,435. In January 2013, the Qatar Statistics Authority estimated the country's population at 1,903,447, of which 1,405,164 were males and 498,283 females. At the time of the first census, held in 1970, the population was 111,133. The population has tripled in the decade to 2011, up from just over 600,000 people in 2001, leaving Qatari nationals as less than 15% of the total population. The influx of male labourers has skewed the gender balance, and women are now just one-quarter of the population.
Non-Arabs make up the majority of Qatar's population, and government statistics refer to them as non-Qatari. As of 2013, the four largest ethnic groups are Arab 40%, Indian 18%, Pakistani 18%, and Iranian 10%. Of the remaining 24%, the most prevalent ethnicities are Nepali, Filipino, and Sri Lankan; however, exact percentages are unavailable.
Projections released by Qatar Statistical Authourity indicates that the total population of Qatar could reach 2.8 million by 2020. Qatar's National Development Strategy (2011–16) had estimated that the country's population would reach 1.78m in 2013, 1.81m in 2014, 1.84m in 2015 and 1.86m in 2016 – the yearly growth rate being merely 2.1 percent. But the country's population have soared to 1.83 million by the end of 2012, showing 7.5 percent growth over the previous year.
Since 2004, Qatar has been divided into seven municipalities (Arabic: baladiyah).
- Madinat ash Shamal
- Al Khor
- Umm Salal
- Al Daayen
- Al Rayyan
- Al Wakrah
For statistical purposes, the municipalities are further subdivided into 98 zones (as of 2010), which are in turn subdivided into blocks.
Before the discovery of oil, the economy of the Qatari region focused on fishing and pearl hunting. Report prepared by local governors of Ottoman Empire in 1892 states that total income from pearl hunting in year of 1892 is 2,450,000 kran. After the introduction of the Japanese cultured pearl onto the world market in the 1920s and 1930s, Qatar's pearling industry crashed. Oil was discovered in Qatar in 1940, in Dukhan Field. The discovery transformed the state's economy. Now, the country has a high standard of living. With no income tax, Qatar (along with Bahrain) is one of the countries with the lowest tax rates in the world. The unemployment rate in June 2013 was 0.1%.
Qatar has the highest GDP per capita in the world as of 2012, according to the CIA World Factbook and approximately 14% of households are dollar millionaires. It relies heavily on foreign labor to grow its economy, to the extent that migrant workers comprise 94% of the workforce. The economic growth of Qatar has been almost exclusively based on its petroleum and natural gas industries, which began in 1940. Qatar is the leading exporter of liquefied natural gas. In 2012, it was estimated that Qatar would invest over $120 billion in the energy sector in the next ten years. The country is a member state of OPEC, having joined the organisation in 1961.
In 2012, Qatar retained its title of richest country in the world (according to per capita income) for the third time in a row, having first overtaken Luxembourg in 2010. According to the study published by the Washington based Institute of International Finance, Qatar's per capita GDP at purchasing power parity (PPP) was $106,000 (QR387,000) in 2012, helping the country retain its ranking as the world's wealthiest nation. Luxembourg came a distant second with nearly $80,000 and Singapore third with per capita income of about $61,000. The research put Qatar's GDP at $182bn in 2012 and said it had climbed to an all-time high due to soaring gas exports and high oil prices. Its population stood at 1.8 million in 2012. The same study published that Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), with assets of $115bn, was ranked 12th among the richest sovereign wealth funds in the world.
Qatar's native culture is similar to that of other countries in the Arab Peninsula. The Qatar National Day hosted every 18 December is the day Qataris celebrate their national identity and history. On that day, expressions of affection and gratitude are conveyed to the people of Qatar who cooperated in solidarity and vowed allegiance and obedience to Sheikh Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani as a leader in 1878.
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