Qatar’s fertility rate in steady decline

April 14, 2011

Qatari women are having fewer children than they did a generation ago, statistics provided in the country’s National Development Strategy 2011-2016 indicate.

The total fertility rate (births per woman) has declined from 5.7 in 1990 to 3.9 in 2009. The figure dropped to 5.1 in 1995, 4.6 in 2000 and stayed steady at 4.5 from 2001 to 2003.

The gradual decrease resumed in 2004 when the number dipped to 4.4, then 4.3 in 2005, 4.2 in 2006, 4.1 in 2007, and 4 in 2008, before reaching 3.9 in 2009, Qatari daily Gulf Times reports.

Qatari women are having their first child at a later age than in the past, due mainly to the fact that they now marry for the first time at a later age.

Rapid developments

However, most Qatari households remain relatively large, even though Qatar has experienced rapid developments in the past decades.

More than 80 per cent of households comprise five or more people, and 20 per cent comprise 10 or more. Two-person households are rare.

However, some of the more traditional aspects of family life are changing, the NDS said.

Two of the most prominent trends are the sharply rising proportion of Qatari women who do not marry and the steadily increasing divorce rates, which are particularly high among couples married for a short time.

A long-term trend that levelled and slightly reversed after 2005 is the rising age at first marriage among Qatari men and women.

On average, men marry at the age of 27 and women when they are 24. Most men and 60 per cent of women got married when they were in the 25-29 age-group. Only one per cent of men and six per cent of women marry before the age of 20.

One of the targets of the NDS is to reduce the proportion of Qatari women who are unmarried in the 30-34 age category by 15 per cent, the daily said.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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