Mostly flat and barren desert covered with loose sand and gravel
Arid; mild, pleasant winters; very hot, humid summers
Population: 2,042,444 (July 2013 est.)
Language: Arabic (official), English commonly used as a second language
Muslim 77.5%, Christian 8.5%, other 14% (2004 census)
Qatar has prospered in the last several years with continued high real GDP growth. Throughout the financial crisis Qatari authorities sought to protect the local banking sector with direct investments into domestic banks. GDP grew sharply in 2010 largely due to the increase in oil prices, and 2011's growth was supported by Qatar's investment in expanding its gas sector. GDP slowed to 6.6% in 2012 as Qatar's gas sector expansion moved toward completion.
OPEC OIL EXPORTERS (1:05)
Qatar has engaged in a rapid modernization program since the 1970s, when income from the oil industry rose dramatically. All villages and towns can now be reached by paved roads, which are well maintained. There is little public transportation available in Qatar. Nearly everyone drives a car. Housing, utilities, and communication services are all modern (many Qataris have cellular phones). Health care is up-to-date and free to all Qataris.
US Military Presence/Support