According to recently released numbers, the population of Qatar reached an all-time high in February, 2.35 million, with the importation of migrant workers for the purpose of building 2022 World Cup infrastructure cited as the leading cause for such rapid growth.
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Currently, it is estimated that between 700,000 and one million migrant workers reside in the 4,500-square-mile Gulf state. According to Sheikh Nasser bin Abdulrahman bin Nasser al-Thani, a senior member of the royal family, that number will reach “2.5 million within three to five years,” meaning the population will almost certainly reach the 4-million mark, an increase of more than 600 percent since 2003 (then 660,000), by the year 2020.
The 2.35-million mark at which the Qatari population currently resides is already an increase of 9.5 percent from this time one year ago, with another seven-percent increase expected by the end of 2015.
“Qatar’s rapid population growth is a result of the large influx of expatriate workers that are being hired to implement the infrastructure program,” the Qatar National Bank said on Wednesday.
It is expected that by the time the 2022 World Cup kicks off, 4,000 of those migrant workers (more than triple the current number of 1,200 which have already died) will have lost their lives due to unsafe working and inhumane living conditions.
Despite those alarming and disturbing numbers, FIFA recently announced that not only would the 2022 World Cup not be taken away from Qatar, but that they would also be playing that year’s tournament in November and December in order to avoid the hot Qatari summer, which regularly reaches temperatures north of 120 degrees Fahrenheit.