Report: Qatari families earn almost three times as much as expats

Qataris at Souq Waqif

Jan Smith / Flickr

The average Qatari household earns QR72,700 ($19,918) a month, nearly three times the average expat household income of QR24,400 ($6,685), new figures from the Ministry of Development and Planning Statistics (MDPS) show.

When taking into account housing, free electricity and water, the Qatari income figure increases to QR88,200 ($24,164).

The figures come ahead of a new MDPS publication on Household Expenditure and Income Survey for 2012/13, which is expected to be released in full next month.

The survey’s findings are based on information compiled from 3,723 households between September 2012 and September 2013. Just over half the households were expat (1,897), while the remainder were Qatari (1,826).

Each household was asked to keep a daily diary of their income and outgoings for one month.

The average Qatari household surveyed was made up of 8.7 people, more than twice the size of the average expat household of 4.3 people – a difference that may help explain the expenditure and earnings gaps between the two groups.

Five-year comparison

The figures also show that a Qatari household will spend on average QR49,600 ($13,589) a month, while the average expat household will spend QR18,000 ($4,932).

The expenditure marks 21.5 percent increase for Qataris compared to 2007 figures, in which the average household spent QR40,800/month ($11,178).

For expats, the increase was even more marked, with expenditure going up by 35 percent from 2007, when expenses were QR13,329/month ($3,652).

However, the past seven years represent a slower increase in expenditure than the 2001 to 2007 period, when the average monthly spend by Qatari families rose by a staggering 82.2 percent (from QR22,400 per month to QR40,800), according to the MDPS Qatar Social Statistics 2003-2012 report.

The report also shows that in 2012-13, salaries and wages made up almost all (97 percent) of the average expat household income, while it accounted for just two-thirds (67 percent) of the average Qatari monthly income.

Detailed results

According to the latest survey results, the average expat household spends more than one-third of its monthly outgoings on rent (QR6,177).

Meanwhile, the biggest single expense for the average Qatari household is transport and communications, which account for one-fifth of its monthly budget (QR9,560).

Food is the next biggest expense for both Qataris and non-Qataris, taking up 16 percent (Qr8,033) and 15 percent (QR2,700) of outgoings, respectively.

Dining out took up the biggest single spend on food costs across the board, with Qataris spending nearly a quarter of their food bills in restaurants (QR1,922 a month), and expats almost one-third (QR852).

Rising cost of living

According to the report, other monthly spending habits included:

  • Traveling abroad: Qatari households spent QR5,711 (11.5 percent), while expats spent QR1,648 (9 percent)
  • Clothes and shoes: Qataris spent QR2,800 (5.7 percent); expats spent QR621 (3.4 percent)
  • Personal care: Qataris spent QR2,536 (5 percent); expats spent QR404 (2 percent)
  • Education: Qataris spent QR1,571 (3 percent); expats spent QR1,008 (5.6 percent)
  • Medical care: Qataris spent QR1,523 (3 percent); expats spent QR178 (1 percent)
  • Tobacco, cigarettes and alcohol: Qataris spent QR80 (0.16 percent); expats spent QR69 (0.4 percent).

Some of the increased expenditure could be explained by the ongoing rise in cost of living in Qatar.

The consumer price index (CPI) – which measures the average cost of goods and services – continues to be on the rise in Qatar.

MDPS figures for February 2014 showed a rise of 2.7 percentage points on the cost of the same basket of goods one year before.

Prices were pushed higher in particular by a nearly 6 percent rise in the cost of rent, fuel and energy.

And overall, Qatar’s rate of inflation in May 2014 was recorded at 3.4 percent.

Here’s the full press release:

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