Did you know?

1.4 million people, or 58% of Qatar's population live in 'labour camps'.

58% just sounds absurd.

Yet, mighty facts does not simply give the wrong information.

So is it true?

  • 10
    It's completely unsurprisingly. (1) Qatar is simply a very small city. (2) Most of the people there are temporary workers, whether nuclear engineers from Japan, game programmers from San Francisco or dishwashers from developing countries. These folks ("laborers") typically live in temporary (beautiful, air-conditioned) portable housing, of the type you might see in say oil fields or US military installations. (To call these "labour camps" is a bizarre choice of words.)
    – Fattie
    Commented Jul 10, 2016 at 12:32
  • 2
    @JoeBlow: Indian construction worker would be more typical than the examples you listed. Qatar has come under strong criticism for the condition of foreign laborers, e.g. theguardian.com/global-development/series/…
    – user29292
    Commented Jul 10, 2016 at 17:10
  • 1
    @JoeBlow You'd have to take that up with their official census (see answer).
    – Insane
    Commented Jul 10, 2016 at 23:43
  • 1
    hi Stef, this is a Skeptical site, so politics is irrelevant. The image is (A) an attempt to use the term "labour camps" (which is extremely well defined) to describe ordinary air-conditioned oil field buildings (possibly this brand for example) and (B) a trivial play on the fact that the majority of readers are so totally uneducated they don't realise Qatar is just a small city, rather than "a country" like you learn about in primary school. (Much as if you said, oh, "40% of the surface of Monaco is roads!", you know.)
    – Fattie
    Commented Jul 11, 2016 at 12:08
  • As an aside, that looks just like the housing US Military personnel stay in at Al Udied Air Base in Qatar.
    – JasonR
    Commented Jul 11, 2016 at 12:39

1 Answer 1


Yes, this is correct.

The official results of the 2015 Qatari census clearly show that out of a total population of 2,404,776, 1,442,882 live in "labour camps". The numbers solve to a labour camp percentage of 60%.

A screenshot of the relevant page in the PDF:

enter image description here

The original claim may be misleading, as the term "labour camp" is ambiguous. Here it is not being used to refer to a "slave labour camp"/"forced labour camp", but instead to temporary accommodations for workers.

  • 8
    @ruakh Sometimes labour camp can be used for actual camps set up near work.
    – Golden Cuy
    Commented Jul 10, 2016 at 2:58
  • 5
    @AndrewGrimm: Ah, thanks! So, yeah, the claim in the image is highly misleading.
    – ruakh
    Commented Jul 10, 2016 at 3:01
  • 23
    I suppose this is not unrelated to the apparently fact that around 90% of people in Qatar are temporary foreign workers. I suppose that also explains the male:female ratio of over 3:1.
    – reirab
    Commented Jul 10, 2016 at 3:16
  • 14
    @ruakh From the image in the question it was immediately clear to me that the term was referring to temporary facilities for employees and not for prisoners. I believe you are just nitpicking the terms.
    – Bakuriu
    Commented Jul 10, 2016 at 8:44
  • 11
    @Bakuriu, how is linking a Wikipedia article with exact the same wording in the title can be considered nitpicking? To me it sounds as a very good question / clarification because this word pair has an established meaning (that wikipedia explains). When there is a very obvious way to understand it wrong, it's entirely reasonable to want that clarified. Commented Jul 10, 2016 at 9:35

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