A quick primer on Qatar, the small Middle Eastern nation that on Thursday was awarded the right to host 2022 World Cup.
Population: The CIA fact book reports a population of 840,926 in July 2010, ranked 159th in the world with roughly 25,000 more residents than San Francisco.
Men make up two thirds of the population, and 96 percent of the population lives in an urban setting. The median age is 30.8 years old.
Geographical size: The country stretches 4,416 square miles on the Qatar Peninsula, the 165th biggest country in the world. Qatar is the smallest country to ever host the World Cup, and is roughly 1,100 square miles smaller than Connecticut. If Qatar was a US state, it would be the fourth smallest in the nation, including the District of Columbia. Qatar boasts roughly 395 miles of coastline, about the same as Louisiana.
Capital: Approximately 80 percent of the country’s population lives in Doha, which played host to the 2006 Asian Games.
Time Zone: Qatar is eight hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time.
Religion: The 2004 census reported that 77.5 percent of the population is Muslim, and 8.5 percent are Christian. Other religions make up 14 percent of the population.
Language: Arabic is the official language, but English is commonly used as a second language.
Climate: Qatar has an arid climate emblematic of the Middle East, boasting average daily temperatures in July as high as 115 degrees Fahrenheit and lows in the mid-80s — numbers comparable to Las Vegas. The country receives an average of just 3.9 inches of rain per year, and 1.64 percent of the land is used for agricultural purposes.
Economy: The estimated gross domestic product in 2009 in Qatar was $100.8 billion, 67th best in the world and better than countries like Serbia, Bulgaria and Costa Rica. The country’s rich natural gas and oil deposits, however, make Qatar the second highest per-capita income country in the world, behind Lichtenstein. The average person in Qatar made $121,000 in 2009, while the average American made $46,000 the same year.
Qatar also boasts the world’s second fastest-growing national economy in the world, behind Macau. Qatar's proved reserves of natural gas exceed 25 trillion cubic meters, about 14 percent of the world total and third largest in the world. They are the fifth largest exporter of natural gas in the world.
The unemployment rate in Qatar was just .5 percent in 2009, second lowest in the world. The US, by comparison, had an unemployment rate of 9.3 percent last year.
Independence: Qatar gained its independence from England in 1971.
Travel: The travel time from New York City to Dohar is roughly 22 hours and 45 minutes. The cheapest flight from New York’s La Guardia Airport last June was $1,062, with stops in Montreal and Munich. There are four airports with paved runways in Qatar, and roughly 4,837 miles of roadway.
Soccer ranking: The Qatar national team is currently ranked 104th in the world, and were ranked as high as 51st in 1993. They have never played in a World Cup, but won seven of 14 games during qualifying for the 2002 World Cup. They also reached the quarterfinals of the 2000 Asian Cup in Lebanon.
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