THE QATAR LIFE: Inside The Richest Country On Earth


Photo: flickr

It might be time to move out to the Gulf.The tiny, oil-rich Middle East nation of Qatar recently topped previous leader Luxembourg for the world’s highest per capita Gross Domestic Product, according to Arabian Business.

Using data from the IMF, they found that Qatar’s GDP per capita stands at $88,221, and should rise to $111,963 by 2016.

This is in a country of 850,000 to 1.7 million, depending on which estimate you choose. Qatar has only been independent since 1971, and it has been governed by Amir Hamad since 1995, when he deposed his father in a bloodless coup.

For the 15% of the population that are Qatari citizens, things are even sweeter—electricity, water, and health care are free, the government sends pension checks, and loans can be had at low cost.

So what’s life like in the world’s richest country?

THE WORLD'S THIRD LARGEST NATURAL GAS RESERVES are sitting under a country smaller than Connecticut.

Being rich has become a birthright for native Qataris. The government redistributes money from its resources to citizens, resulting in the record $88,221 GDP per capita. They also get free electricity, health care and other perks.

While government checks keep the people happy, citizens say that employers pass over them in favour of better educated foreigners

Only 15% of Qatar's 1.4 million residents are citizens; the rest are foreign workers, ranging from Western financiers and energy executives to temporary laborers from India, Pakistan, and other Asian countries.

The capital city of Doha is filled with striking architecture and luxury hotels. Here you're looking at the Doha Sheraton

With money has come a vibrant nightlife. One popular location is the Sky View Bar at La Cigale Hotel.

Alcohol is illegal in the ~75% Muslim Qatar, but you can still purchase it at certain hotels as long as you have a permit. Also illegal to import: pork, drugs, and pornography.

There are about 8,000 U.S. citizens living in Qatar. Many work in the energy sector.

Qatar is very young and largely male. Only 1.5% of the population is older than 65, and there are 1.99 males to every female because of the high number of imported laborers.

Things aren't quite as great for women. Women in Qatar are permitted to drive and have more equality than in nations like Saudi Arabia, though many still dress in traditional garb. Also, women aren't allowed to exercise next to men in certain parts of Doha.

The 2022 World Cup will be held in Qatar. The country expects to spend $65 billion preparing for the tournament, including building and air-conditioning new stadiums.

Camel racing plays a major role in Qatari culture. Adults weigh too much to ride the camels, so they used to use children, but after this was outlawed in 2004 owners have used small robotic jockeys.

The leader of the Al Thani ruling family, Sheikh Hamad, is worth $2 billion on his own. Family members are paid in order of their proximity to the Sheikh.

(Source: Forbes)

During the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, non-Muslims are also expected to observe. People seen eating, smoking, drinking, singing, or displaying physical affection in public can be arrested.

Now check out how this compares to another rising nation

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