After seeing an influx of more than 100,000 people into Qatar during the first few months of this year, population growth in the country appears to have leveled off in April, according to new government figures.
At the end of last month, Qatar’s population stood at 2,342,725 – nearly 4,000 fewer people than were here in March 2015, the state’s Ministry of Development, Planning and Statistics reported.
Though the dip is small, it reflects the first time in five years that the population has not increased between the months of March and April.
Since the beginning of 2015, Qatar’s population has grown by some 118,142 people.
However, the 5.31 percent increase from January to the end of April reflected a slower growth rate than was observed at the same time last year. At that time, the population grew 6.88 percent, or by 138,870 more people.
Besides last month, the last time Qatar saw population figures drop was between December 2014 and January this year, when there were nearly 11,000 fewer people here, likely due to the winter holidays.
For the last four years, population figures have typically risen during the first six months of the year.
The last time there was a drop in numbers between March and April was in 2010, when the number of people in the country fell by about 7,000 people to 1.67 million.
While MDPS does not give any official explanations contextualizing the statistics, the latest numbers follow reports that several oil and gas firms have recently instituted hiring freezes or are letting staff go.
Plummeting international oil prices have led many companies to reign in their spending and their head counts.
Billions of dollars worth of mega-projects, including Industries Qatar’s Al Sajeel petrochemical plant and, more recently, the al-Karaana petrochemical facility planned by Qatar Petroleum and Royal Dutch Shell, have been scrapped or postponed.
However, the year-on-year figures show a rise in the state’s population of more than 187,000 people – up 8.69 percent from the end of April 2014 to the end of last month.
Last September, QNB published a report predicting that the state’s population would grow on average by 7.4 percent annually in the coming years, reaching 2.5 million by 2016.