Qatar gears up for challenges posed by growing population in 2013

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More than 140,000 new people called Qatar home this year, as the population jumped some 7.5 percent since 2011, new Qatar Statistics Authority figures show.

Some 1.84 million people were recorded to be within the country on Dec. 31, 2012.

The all-time high was set in November 2012, when the population reached 1.85 million. Officials expect Qatar to surpass that figure at the end of this month, as residents return from vacations abroad, QNA reports.

Last year’s population increase reflects an 18 percent jump from December 2008’s 1.56 million – an influx of about 280,000 people, according to the earliest available figures from QSA.

Struggling to keep up

Acknowledging the strain the increasing population has put on “hospitals, schools, roads and infrastructure,” Qatar’s Emir this year pledged a 114 percent increase in health spending and a 35 percent jump in education investment over the next three years.

He also said:

“It is not possible to build Qatar society, economy and institutions without this population growth, which include expertise, jobs, workers, services etc. This is normal. While it was difficult to develop services in the same pace of the exceptional population increase, we have done a lot. However, the quality of services must be raised and its range extended.”

Gender imbalance

Most new arrivals to Qatar continue to be men, who account for 1.4 million, or 74 percent, of the population. That puts the male-female ratio at 3:1. 

Last year, when the population hit the 1.7 million-mark on Dec. 31, 2011, QSA provided this explanation for the imbalance: 

It is important to note that the presence of larger numbers of men in the country is due to the employment of large numbers of low-income single workers, mainly in the construction and contracting sectors.

Thoughts?

Credit: Photo courtesy of Qatar Airways

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