Qatar’s economy is expected to grow to $139,151 per person, on average, by 2020. It has a serious abundance of natural resources and has been smart with the income it has received—reinvesting the profits and diversifying its economy to become the world’s wealthiest spot. However, that could change soon, as the gambling mecca of Macau is catching up.
According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Macau’s gross domestic product has already more than tripled from the $34,500 average per person seen in 2001. However, it isn’t done growing yet and is expected to reach $143,116 per person by 2020, making it the new world leader.
This trend is expected to continue beyond 2020. The IMF predicts that, by 2023, the gross domestic product (GDP) per capita could reach as much as $172,681.
The wealth of the Asian version of Las Vegas is being driven by gambling. Gross gambling revenue reached $33 billion last year for a 19.2% increase over the previous year’s figures. This year is expected to be even better.
The ongoing trade war between China and the U.S. has been cited as a possible source of declines for Macau. This could particularly be evident during the casino licensing renewals that will take place between 2020 and 2022. However, the general consensus is that, over the long term, Macau’s economy is not going to suffer. The IMF predicts a long period of sustained growth that is going to boost the area and remain past 2023.
Macau has a population of a little more than 650,000, all living in a 30.8-square-kilometer space. It is the world’s most densely populated place, with 21,322 people sharing the same square-mile. By way of comparison, Hong Kong, which ranks fourth among the world’s most densely populated places, finds 6,490 people in each square mile.
While the IMF feels that the GDP is going to climb, others like Macau lawyer Sergio Almeida Correia, believe that people aren’t looking at the big picture. He said in a blog post, “In terms of quality of life, green areas, pollution, education, health, sport, renewable energies, recycling of urban waste, hygiene and cleanliness of public spaces, accessibility for disabled people, road cycling, public transport might not rank quite as high by any means.”
Qatar and Macau head the list of the IMF’s highest growing economic centers. It put Luxembourg—with $110,870 GDP per capita—in fourth, followed by Singapore with $98,014. Hong Kong is in tenth position with $64,533.