Manama: Qatar's total population could reach 2.1 million by 2018 and 2.5 million by 2020, official statistics indicate.
According to projections released by Qatar Statistics Authority, the population of Qatar has grown at an average rate of 14 per cent per year since 2004, and reached around 1.7 million by April 2010.
In 2018, the country is expected to have a population of 2.1 million according to the highest estimate, and it could reach 2.5 million in 2020. The lowest estimates indicate that the population will grow to 1.8 million in 2018 and to 1.9 million in 2020.
The QSA projections were announced alongside the 2010 Census of Population, Housing and Establishments, which was completed in April this year.
The final results were published by QSA on Wednesday to coincide with World Statistics Day, Qatari daily The Peninsula reported.
Saudi Arabia is the most populated country in the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (made up of 29 million nationals and expatriates), followed by the UAE (8.19 million), Oman (3.5 million), Kuwait (2.7 million), Qatar (1.7 million) and Bahrain (1.05 million).
The overall population growth in Qatar is 180 per cent between 2004 and 2010. Men make up 76 per cent of the population and women only 24 per cent. This gap is more evident in the age groups between 20 and 59 years, due to the presence of a large male expatriate workforce in the country. The median age for the total population of Qatar is 31, the Qatari daily said.
The overall population density is 146 people per square kilometer, while 74 per cent of the population lives in Doha and Al Rayyan.
In Doha, the density is 3,394 people per square kilometre, and almost half of the total population lives in Doha city.
According to the data, Qataris, particularly women, are now showing an increased interest in joining the private sector, which accounts for 75 per cent of all the jobs in the country.
Although 71 per cent of the Qatari workforce is still employed in the public sector, the number of Qataris taking up private sector jobs grew by 215 per cent between 2004 and 2010. However, the increase for women reached 620 per cent.
The GDP growth at current prices, between 2004 and 2009 was 210 per cent and the total government expenditure increased by 316 per cent during the same period.
Illiteracy in Qatar has fallen by half since 2004, while secondary and post-secondary education among Qataris has increased significantly. The literacy rate was 94.7 per cent for males and 92.9 per cent for females in 2009.
Employment has seen a growth of 290 per cent since 2004.
Jobs in the private and mixed sectors grew by 356 per cent and 348 per cent, respectively, against 125 per cent growth in government jobs.