Almost 60 percent of Qatar’s population live in labour camps, according to the latest national census. The 2015 census, published by Qatar’s Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics this month, reveals that 1.4 million people live in what the department describes as “labour camps”.
This represents an increase of 54 percent in 2010, local media reported, and shows that Qatar’s low-income workforce has grown dramatically in the past six years and now accounts for 58 percent of the total 2.2 million population at the time.
The census is based on data gathered in April last year. Local media reported that, since then, Qatar's population has grown further to just over 2.5 million. The vast majority of those living in labour camps (1.64 million) are male, the census data show.
The figures also reveal that Indians are the single largest group of migrants in the Gulf state, making up 630,000 of the country’s population.
Accommodation of migrant labourers working on Qatar’s numerous construction and infrastructure projects has been highly controversial in recent years, with reports of human rights abuses and squalid living conditions.
Doha News reported on Tuesday that two men hospitalised after a fire erupted in labour accommodation in Qatar have died as a result of their injuries.
It brings the death toll to 13 people, while up to 10 other men are believed to have been injured in the incident. Qatar claims to be taking steps to improve conditions for workers and update its labour laws.
Last November, it opened a huge labourers’ living complex just outside Doha intended to provide higher quality housing and amenities for low-income workers. Labour City can reportedly accommodate 70,000 foreign workers.