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In recently released data, the International Monetary Fund ranked the world’s richest countries. The list compares gross domestic product (GDP) per capita which considers inflation rates and standard costs of living country-to-country.
Named number one this year is a country nestled in the Middle East on the Arabian Sea— Qatar. Despite its small size, the country has one of the highest revenue streams from oil and gas, making the country richer than most.
Highest GDP Per Person In The World
Topping the list of wealthiest countries in the world, Qatar’s per person GDP is a staggering $128,702. With the third largest natural gas and oil reserves in the world, this Middle Eastern country’s revenue relies heavily on the energy industry.
With a focus on gas and oil, it makes it difficult for the country to remain sustainable and environmentally friendly. Qatar emits more than 35.73 tons of carbon dioxide annually— more than any other country.
Because the country relies heavily on young workers coming in to take advantage of this rich energy industry, of the country’s 2.27 million population, most of them are men. In fact, men heavily outweigh the number of women with a 2:1 ratio and only 1.5% are over the age of 65.
Geography Contributes To Wealth
Qatar’s massive oil and gas reserves sit under an area that is smaller than the state of Connecticut. In fact, the 4,468 square miles that make up Qatar is 849 times smaller than the United States.
With a smaller area, the population remains smaller. But, that’s not the only factor. It’s lack of typography created a concentration of the population within its city limits. In fact, 99% of residents live in a populated town or city rather than a rural area.
In addition, it is said that based on where Qatar sits on the map, it is least likely to be struck by a natural disaster which means its infrastructure is relatively secure.
Its Citizens Have Many Perks
Only 15% of Qatar’s population are actual citizens of the country, but those citizens are living a pretty lavish life with many perks.
For people who claim citizenship, the government redistributes their resources in the form of money to its citizens. The government also offers free electricity, water, and healthcare.
The rest of the population is made up of foreign workers who have immigrated to work in the oil and gas industry, 8,000 of which are U.S. citizens.
They Have Diplomatic Issues
In recent years, Qatar has been cut off diplomatically by its surrounding neighbors. Countries such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain don’t even allow Qatar’s airline to fly over their territory. This is due to the group’s concern that Qatar supports and is funding international terrorism.
In addition, Qatar’s government has some pretty strict rules. While much of the country is non-Muslim, those citizens must observe the month of Ramadan. If any of the non-Muslims are seen eating, drinking, smoking or even singing in public, it is grounds for arrest.
They’ve Built A Rich Culture
Despite their strict rules, Qatar has managed to create a rich culture among their population. Their capital, Doha, has many luxury hotels where citizens and tourists can take advantage of the country’s love for food.
In the Four Seasons, Doha houses the world’s largest 26,000 sq.-ft. Nobu, a high-end sushi restaurant. Over at the Marriott, guests can choose from any type of food at the 328-ft. buffet table. Despite alcohol being illegal among the Muslim population in Qatar, these luxury hotels also boast glamorous rooftop bars and nightlife scenes.
Although, the country’s love for food has resulted in a high percentage of obesity among the population. Qatar is #16 on the list of most obese countries, ahead of even the United States who is at #18.
Other culturally-rich activities in Qatar include camel racing and their famous Museum of Islamic Art. In 2022, the country will be hosting the World Cup and plans on spending $65 billion to prepare for the tournament.