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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Standard of Living in Qatar

The standard of living in Qatar is improving - but what about the cost of living?

According to the latest Human Development Report, reported today in the Gulf Times, the standard of living in Qatar improved slightly between 2005 and 2006. 

Acording to the report, although Qatar is one of the richest countries in the world it only ranks 34th in the standard of living index. The result may be surprisingly low given its wealth and huge natural resources, and below the rank given to its neighbours, the UAE and Bahrain, but is still one better than last year. 

The study looks beyond factors such as GDP  to include factors such as life expectancy, literacy and education to provide a more complete picture of country's development. 

If GDP alone were included Qatar would rank far higher - the GDP per person was nearly $73,000 compared to just 27,664 the year before. 

It is likely that GDP has also increased substantially since 2006 - but then so has the time spent waiting in traffic. It is perhaps ironic that as the spending power of some of Qatari's residents has increased (labourers continue to earn a fraction of what they would in the West) the time they have to enjoy that wealth has decreased. 

Also unmentioned in the Gulf Times report was the several years of high inflation suffered by Qatar. In addition, with the global economy suffering, wages seem to have been put on freeze, so even with the reduced rate of inflation now predicted (estimated to be around 10%) many people in Qatar are likely to see a decrease in real wages over the next year. 

Movie: Human Development Report: 2007