As oil was discovered in the thirties, the region has made a notable progress in both fields; economy and health. It was capable of controlling the epidemic diseases which killed an enormous number of people. Accordingly, the population has increased and the average ages of individuals reached sixty which used to not exceed forty before.
AlAhssa and Qatif; especially Qatif, showed that they have the largest number of citizens among other Saudi regions which show that foreigners are more than citizens, especially in industrial areas which is in need for foreign labor.
Qatif’s society consists of various segments such as fishers, farmers besides the employees of private companies and governmental institutions as well as traders. All of them contribute in promoting and developing the region and the nation socially and economically. For example, fishers are considered the main fish providers in Eastern Province markets that supply many cities in the kingdom.
Fishing was and is still the profession of many people in Qatif and AlAhssa. Therefore, Qatif has the largest fish market in Saudi Arabia where many public auctions over fish deals are done to be distributed in all over the Kingdom and some of the Gulf States.
The remains of water which is rich with organic materials flow in the Persian Gulf which made it affluent with fish. It has more than four- hundred kinds of fish; some of these kinds are grouper (Hamour), silvery bream (Alsbaiti), kingfish (Kan’ad) and bass (Alshie’ri), besides the shrimps which can be found in its muddy shores.
Moreover, people of Qatif used to work in collecting pearls through diving in the waters of the Persian Gulf. This profession is limited to the traders segment which was the capitalistic class in Qatif. Those traders used to export their pearl products to India and get high profits in return, but this profession declined because of Japan’s success in artificial pearl farming.
However, people of Qatif and AlAhssa depended basically on agriculture and they mainly irrigated their farms using the headsprings water. This region is well-known with planting palm trees because dates were a basic element in their daily diet. AlAhssa used to have ten-thousand hectares of cultivated lands that contained two-million palm trees produce different kinds of dates like Alkhlas, Alshishi, Alkhenaizi, Alghurra and many others.
During the few recent years, several dates packaging manufactories have been established in Qatif and AlAhssa. These manufactories buy dates from farmers in different regions of the Kingdom, then, export the surplus to foreign markets.
Even after the WWII, agriculture remained in the region but it was negatively influenced after the discovery of oil and the improvement of living standards because labor turned to industrial fields. Consequently, the wages got higher, farmers were incapable of covering the costs and it became insufficient to the local demands. All of that led to importing agricultural products from outside the region and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Qatif strategic location in the region offered its people a significant commercial position. Its trade was active through its roads and sea ways like the ports of Qatif and Dareen in Tarout Island; which facilitated the process of commercial exchange. Ships from all over the world used to come to these ports with different stocks like rice, sugar, fabrics and incense, and turn back loaded with dates, dates syrup, woods and some fuel materials such as palm branches without leaves.
This region was well-known with some sorts of industries like spears, inwrought clothes, woven fabrics and cooper tools, etc. therefore, the region lived in prosperity, even it was called The Golden Chicken by some Western historians.
However, Qatif and AlAhssa are still affluent due to oil discovery and the development of its industry. They contain the largest oil reserves in the world which attracted foreign investors. Accordingly, companies, banks and manufactories were established, projects were implemented, job opportunities had increased and the economic, social, educational and health-care conditions had been developed. All of that offered the region a significant industrial and commercial development.