In a dramatic revision of previous population growth predictions, Qatar could see its numbers swell to 2.4 million over the next 13 months, a senior official from the Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics (formerly Qatar Statistics Authority) has said.
That would be an increase of some 332,000 people, based on the latest population figures of 2,068,050 residents at the end of November.
Frank Harrigan, director of QSA’s Department of Economic Development, made his prediction during opening remarks at this week’s 2013 Qatar Energy and Water Efficiency Conference.
According to the Peninsula, he said forecasting the numbers is important so that Qatar can also prepare for the subsequent rising demand for electricity, water and services such as education and healthcare. He continued:
“Today’s population is heavily tilted towards lesser skilled expat workers. The demand for services they are placing is quite different from the demand that would be placed in future by a larger Qatari population and population of expats with high human capital content, with more women and children.”
“Modest increases in population will accompany the expected economic expansion. The total population of Qatar is expected to grow steadily at an average of about 2.1% a year during 2011–2016, with the total population rising from 1.64 million at the end of 2010 to just less than 1.9 million in 2016. The rapid population growth of the recent past is not expected to continue.”
Instead, the population saw a 7.6 percent increase last year – from 1.7 million at the end of 2011 to 1.84 million at the end of 2012.
And it has so far jumped by more than 231,000 people in 2013 – an increase of more than 12 percent from last year. If Harrigan’s prediction comes true, the growth from 2013 to 2014 would be 15 percent.
According to the official, the population will continue to grow to a peak of 2.5 million until projects for the 2022 World Cup are completed.
“By 2015 or 2016 when most of projects should be working in full capacity, the population will reach its peak level. But as these projects reach their completion many workers will start returning home, and we would see the population declining.”