Less than two million people were inside of Qatar at the end of last month, as population figures hit an annual low following Eid holidays, according to newly released government figures.
Residents currently in Qatar may have noticed less traffic on the roads recently, after some 230,000 people left the country in July, according to the Ministry of Development, Planning and Statistics (formerly known as the Qatar Statistics Authority).
That means the population dropped from 2.15 million in June to 1.91 million at the end of last month.
The figures reflect an annual exodus of people leaving the country’s hot, humid summer months to escape to cooler climates – holidays that many residents postponed by several weeks due to Ramadan.
Out of the 1,919,962 people inside of Qatar on July 31, males outnumbered women by a ratio of 3:1 – a common demographic trend.
With a number of developments under construction, Qatar’s population has been witnessing unparalleled annual growth.
The 2022 World Cup stadiums, New Doha Port, Lusail City, several new expressways and the upcoming rail and metro system are only some of the multi-billion dollar projects currently underway, fueled by an expat labor force.
According to the Qatar Economic Outlook 2013-2014, the country’s population is expected to exceed 2.2 million by the end of this year, a target that will likely be reached if May’s all-time record high population of 2.17 million is any indication.
The high reflects a growth of 10.7 percent compared to the previous year, or 210,911 people.
Frank Harrigan, director of MDPS’s Department of Economic Development, previously forecasted that the country’s population would continue to rise to a peak of 2.5 million until World Cup-related projects are complete:
“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.”
Qatar’s rapid expansion over the years has resulted in a national struggle to balance social development and environmental protection with economic growth.
In a report submitted by Qatar to the UN in April, the government acknowledged several key challenges going forward, including overcrowding in schools and hospitals, erosion of Arab and Islamic values and growing pollution caused by traffic congestion.
But for now, because it’s summer, residents appear to be enjoying the quieter country, and the population will likely dip further at the end of August, before increasing again as people return and school resumes in the fall.
So according to the govt, Arab values = Islamic values and Islamic values = Arab values? Like they’re never mutually exclusive? If that’s true then that’s an interesting take from a govt.
The article states, “erosion of Arab and Islamic values”, which would suggest they are two independent set of values, not that they are one and the same.
I think a thinking person such as yourself recognizes the difference, but an awful lot of people (both inside and outside the Arab world) casually combine the two as one and the same.
OK, I agree with you they are not one and the same. However, nuances of things often get lost in translation in multi-cultural locales, such as Qatar. I kind of wanted to hear how others may have read that statement (or maybe even how it came out in Arabic). I think what makes it a bit confusing for an outsider looking in is that many Arab governments are based on (their interpretation of) Islamic law. There is little to no separation of church and state, so it can certainly look combined to an outsider.
I would say that most would agree that Arabic and Islamic values (whatever those may be, as so many disagree on these points) have been eroded for the better part of two decades. So long as the majority of people in Qatar are not Arab (I’m not sure about Muslim, but it has to be close), Arab values can only be maintained by a minority imposing them on the majority. Historically, such situations nearly always ultimately result in an erosion of the minority’s values whether they are the ruling group or not.
More important, however, is that before concerns are expressed about the erosion of values, people need to come to a consensus on what they are. I’ve lived in a number of Muslim AND Arab countries (definitely not the same thing), and there seems to be an awful lot of disagreement (disagreement that sometimes is violent). For what it is worth, I think such cultural institutions as the Museum of Islamic Art are doing an excellent job in exploring these issues in a meaningful, nonviolent way.
Technology itself would rapidly erode these values, where once the authorities of this region could control what sort of information/entertainment their people could access, the situation has become one where people will inevitably be made aware of (and potentially influenced by) a happening/trend as soon as it occurs in its place of origin, in spite of the various measures taken to filter the internet.
In respect to Arab and Islamic values, the fact remains that both contain certain practices and beliefs that the developed world would consider to be a violation of basic Human Rights. Now I have no desire to argue which side is right or wrong, but would like to highlight how this fact itself would force Arab/Muslim countries to compromise some of those values if they intend to be more accepted by members of that community.
The only viable way of truly preserving Arab and Islamic values would be to either operate like North Korea, or to do away with modern conveniences and live like some of the isolated tribes of South America. Any other way just leads to a lot of creative interpretation and unpredictable and inconsistent application of the law
Interesting post. Well said. Plus the fact that many Arab countries sit on top of huge deposits of fossil fuels definitely brings attention from the rest of the world. So until those fuel deposits dry up the possibility of any such isolation is nil.
Values and cultural change over time. Muslims today would not recognise a Muslim from 300 years ago and the Muslims from the time of Mohd would seem completely alien to what is practised now. Islam like other religions has adapted and be adapted by the rulers of the day to meet the circumstances of that time.
Nothing stays the same, so to try and defend Arab and Islamic values is to stay we want to stop all changes at this point of time, ultimately a futile exercise.