Reference > World Factbook, 2008
  The World Factbook.  2008.
Flag of Bahrain                                Map of Bahrain
Background:In 1783, the al-Khalifa family captured Bahrain from the Persians. In order to secure these holdings, it entered into a series of treaties with the UK during the 19th century that made Bahrain a British protectorate. The archipelago attained its independence in 1971. Bahrain's small size and central location among Persian Gulf countries require it to play a delicate balancing act in foreign affairs among its larger neighbors. Facing declining oil reserves, Bahrain has turned to petroleum processing and refining and has transformed itself into an international banking center. King HAMAD bin Isa al-Khalifa, after coming to power in 1999, pushed economic and political reforms to improve relations with the Shi'a community and Shi'a political societies participated in 2006 parliamentary and municipal elections. Al Wifaq, the largest Shi'a political society, won the largest number of seats in the elected chamber of the legislature. However, Shi'a discontent has resurfaced in recent years with street demonstrations and occasional low-level violence.
Location:Middle East, archipelago in the Persian Gulf, east of Saudi Arabia
Geographic coordinates:26 00 N, 50 33 E
Map references:Middle East
Area:total: 665 sq km
land: 665 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area—comparative:3.5 times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries:0 km
Coastline:161 km
Maritime claims:territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
continental shelf: extending to boundaries to be determined
Climate:arid; mild, pleasant winters; very hot, humid summers
Terrain:mostly low desert plain rising gently to low central escarpment
Elevation extremes:lowest point: Persian Gulf 0 m
highest point: Jabal ad Dukhan 122 m
Natural resources:oil, associated and nonassociated natural gas, fish, pearls
Land use:arable land: 2.82%
permanent crops: 5.63%
other: 91.55% (2005)
Irrigated land:40 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources:0.1 cu km (1997)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):total: 0.3 cu km/yr (40%/3%/57%)
per capita: 411 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards:periodic droughts; dust storms
Environment—current issues:desertification resulting from the degradation of limited arable land, periods of drought, and dust storms; coastal degradation (damage to coastlines, coral reefs, and sea vegetation) resulting from oil spills and other discharges from large tankers, oil refineries, and distribution stations; lack of freshwater resources, groundwater and seawater are the only sources for all water needs
Environment—international agreements:party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography—note:close to primary Middle Eastern petroleum sources; strategic location in Persian Gulf, through which much of the Western world's petroleum must transit to reach open ocean
note: includes 235,108 non-nationals (July 2007 est.)
Age structure:0-14 years: 26.9% (male 96,217/female 94,275)
15-64 years: 69.5% (male 284,662/female 207,555)
65 years and over: 3.7% (male 13,451/female 12,413) (2007 est.)
Median age:total: 29.7 years
male: 32.7 years
female: 26.1 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate:1.392% (2007 est.)
Birth rate:17.53 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate:4.21 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate:0.6 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratio:at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.021 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.372 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.084 male(s)/female
total population: 1.255 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate:total: 16.18 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 18.89 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 13.4 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:total population: 74.68 years
male: 72.18 years
female: 77.25 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate:2.57 children born/woman (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS—adult prevalence rate:0.2% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS—people living with HIV/AIDS:less than 600 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS—deaths:less than 200 (2003 est.)
Nationality:noun: Bahraini(s)
adjective: Bahraini
Ethnic groups:Bahraini 62.4%, non-Bahraini 37.6% (2001 census)
Religions:Muslim (Shi'a and Sunni) 81.2%, Christian 9%, other 9.8% (2001 census)
Languages:Arabic, English, Farsi, Urdu
Literacy:definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 86.5%
male: 88.6%
female: 83.6% (2001 census)
Country name:conventional long form: Kingdom of Bahrain
conventional short form: Bahrain
local long form: Mamlakat al Bahrayn
local short form: Al Bahrayn
former: Dilmun
Government type:constitutional monarchy
Capital:name: Manama
geographic coordinates: 26 14 N, 50 34 E
time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions:5 governorates; Asamah, Janubiyah, Muharraq, Shamaliyah, Wasat
note: each governorate administered by an appointed governor
Independence:15 August 1971 (from UK)
National holiday:National Day, 16 December (1971); note - 15 August 1971 was the date of independence from the UK, 16 December 1971 was the date of independence from British protection
Constitution:adopted 14 February 2002
Legal system:based on Islamic law and English common law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage:20 years of age; universal
Executive branch:chief of state: King HAMAD bin Isa al-Khalifa (since 6 March 1999); Heir Apparent Crown Prince SALMAN bin Hamad (son of the monarch, born 21 October 1969)
head of government: Prime Minister KHALIFA bin Salman al-Khalifa (since 1971); Deputy Prime Ministers ALI bin Khalifa bin Salman al-Khalifa, MUHAMMAD bin Mubarak al-Khalifa, Jawad al-ARAIDH
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the monarch
elections: none; the monarchy is hereditary; prime minister appointed by the monarch
Legislative branch:bicameral legislature consists of the Consultative Council (40 members appointed by the King) and the Council of Representatives or Chamber of Deputies (40 seats; members directly elected to serve four-year terms)
elections: Council of Representatives - last held November-December 2006 (next election to be held in 2010)
election results: Council of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - al Wifaq (Shia) 17, al Asala (Sunni Salafi) 5, al Minbar (Sunni Muslim Brotherhood) 7, independents 11; note - seats by party as of February 2007 - al Wifaq 17, al Asala 8, al Minbar 7, al Mustaqbal (Moderate Sunni pro-government) 4, unassociated independents (all Sunni) 3, independent affiliated with al Wifaq (Sunni oppositionist) 1
Judicial branch:High Civil Appeals Court
Political parties and leaders:political parties prohibited but political societies were legalized per a July 2005 law
Political pressure groups and leaders:Shi'a activists fomented unrest sporadically in 1994-97 and have recently engaged in protests with occasional low-level violence; protests related to a host of issues, including the 2002 constitution, elections, unemployment, and release of detainees; Sunni Islamist legislators support a greater role for Shari'a in daily life; several small leftist and other groups are active
International organization participation:ABEDA, AFESD, AMF, FAO, G-77, GCC, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt (signatory), ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, LAS, MIGA, NAM, OAPEC, OIC, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US:chief of mission: Ambassador Nasir bin Muhammad al-BALUSHI
chancery: 3502 International Drive NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 342-1111
FAX: [1] (202) 362-2192
consulate(s) general: New York
Diplomatic representation from the US:chief of mission: Ambassador J. Adam ERELI
embassy: Building #979, Road 3119 (next to Al-Ahli Sports Club), Block 331, Zinj District, Manama
mailing address: PSC 451, Box 660, FPO AE 09834-5100; international mail: American Embassy, Box 26431, Manama
telephone: [973] 1724-2700
FAX: [973] 1727-0547
Flag description:red, the traditional color for flags of Persian Gulf states, with a white serrated band (five white points) on the hoist side; the five points represent the five pillars of Islam
Economy—overview:With its highly developed communication and transport facilities, Bahrain is home to numerous multinational firms with business in the Gulf. Petroleum production and refining account for over 60% of Bahrain's export receipts, over 70% of government revenues, and 11% of GDP (exclusive of allied industries), underpinning Bahrain's strong economic growth in recent years. Aluminum is Bahrain's second major export after oil. Other major segments of Bahrain's economy are the financial and construction sectors. Bahrain is focused on Islamic banking and is competing on an international scale with Malaysia as a worldwide banking center. Bahrain is actively pursuing the diversification and privatization of its economy to reduce the country's dependence on oil. As part of this effort, in August 2006 Bahrain and the US implemented a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), the first FTA between the US and a Gulf state. Continued strong growth hinges on Bahrain's ability to acquire new natural gas supplies as feedstock to support its expanding petrochemical and aluminum industries. Unemployment, especially among the young, and the depletion of oil and underground water resources are long-term economic problems.
GDP (purchasing power parity):$24.61 billion (2007 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):$16.89 billion (2007 est.)
GDP—real growth rate:6.6% (2007 est.)
GDP—per capita (PPP):$34,700 (2007 est.)
GDP—composition by sector:agriculture: 0.3%
industry: 43.6%
services: 56% (2007 est.)
Labor force:363,000
note: 44% of the population in the 15-64 age group is non-national (2007 est.)
Labor force—by occupation:agriculture: 1%
industry: 79%
services: 20% (1997 est.)
Unemployment rate:15% (2005 est.)
Population below poverty line:NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage share:lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):3.5% (2007 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):17.6% of GDP (2007 est.)
Budget:revenues: $6.048 billion
expenditures: $5.082 billion (2007 est.)
Public debt:28.2% of GDP (2007 est.)
Agriculture—products:fruit, vegetables; poultry, dairy products; shrimp, fish
Industries:petroleum processing and refining, aluminum smelting, iron pelletization, fertilizers, Islamic and offshore banking, insurance, ship repairing, tourism
Industrial production growth rate:5.5% (2007 est.)
Electricity—production:8.187 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity—consumption:7.614 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity—exports:0 kWh (2005)
Electricity—imports:0 kWh (2005)
Oil—production:184,000 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil—consumption:31,000 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil—exports:235,500 bbl/day (2004)
Oil—imports:216,300 bbl/day (2004)
Oil—proved reserves:124.6 million bbl (1 January 2006 est.)
Natural gas—production:10.27 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas—consumption:10.27 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas—exports:0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas—imports:0 cu m (2005)
Natural gas—proved reserves:88.26 billion cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Current account balance:$2.009 billion (2007 est.)
Exports:$13.16 billion (2007 est.)
Exports—commodities:petroleum and petroleum products, aluminum, textiles
Exports—partners:Saudi Arabia 3.2%, US 3%, Japan 2.3% (2006)
Imports:$9.784 billion (2007 est.)
Imports—commodities:crude oil, machinery, chemicals
Imports—partners:Saudi Arabia 37.2%, Japan 6.8%, US 6.2%, UK 6.1%, Germany 6%, UAE 4.2% (2006)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:$3.474 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Debt—external:$7.692 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment—at home:$11.55 billion (2006 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment—abroad:$6.039 billion (2006 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares:$21.12 billion (2006)
Economic aid—recipient:$103.9 million; note - $50 million annually since 1992 from the UAE and Kuwait (2004)
Currency (code):Bahraini dinar (BHD)
Exchange rates:Bahraini dinars per US dollar - 0.376 (2007), 0.376 (2006), 0.376 (2005), 0.376 (2004), 0.376 (2003)
Fiscal year:calendar year
Telephones—main lines in use:193,300 (2006)
Telephones—mobile cellular:898,900 (2006)
Telephone system:general assessment: modern system
domestic: modern fiber-optic integrated services; digital network with rapidly growing use of mobile-cellular telephones
international: country code - 973; landing point for the Fiber-Optic Link Around the Globe (FLAG) submarine cable network that provides links to Asia, Middle East, Europe, and US; tropospheric scatter to Qatar and UAE; microwave radio relay to Saudi Arabia; satellite earth stations - 1 (2007)
Radio broadcast stations:AM 2, FM 3, shortwave 0 (1998)
Television broadcast stations:4 (1997)
Internet country
Internet hosts:2,413 (2007)
Internet users:157,300 (2006)
Airports:3 (2007)
Airports—with paved runways:total: 3
over 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2007)
Heliports:1 (2007)
Pipelines:gas 20 km; oil 52 km (2007)
Roadways:total: 3,498 km
paved: 2,768 km
unpaved: 730 km (2003)
Merchant marine:total: 7 ships (1000 GRT or over) 220,264 GRT/314,289 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 3, cargo 1, container 2, petroleum tanker 1
foreign-owned: 3 (Kuwait 3) (2007)
Ports and terminals:Mina' Salman, Sitrah
Military branches:Bahrain Defense Forces (BDF): Ground Force (includes Air Defense), Naval Force, Air Force, National Guard
Military service age and obligation:18 years of age for voluntary military service (2001)
Manpower available for military service:males age 18-49: 202,126
females age 18-49: 151,734 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:males age 18-49: 161,372
females age 18-49: 125,488 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:males age 18-49: 6,013
females age 18-49: 5,852 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures—percent of GDP:4.5% (2006)
Transnational Issues
Trafficking in persons:current situation: Bahrain is a destination country for men and women from South and Southeast Asia who migrate willingly to work as laborers or domestic servants, but may be subjected to conditions of involuntary servitude when faced with exorbitant recruitment and transportation fees, withholding of their passports, restrictions on their movement, non-payment of wages, and physical or sexual abuse; women from Eastern Europe, Central Asia, Morocco, and Thailand are also trafficked to Bahrain for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation or forced labor
tier rating: Tier 3 - Bahrain made no discernable progress in preventing trafficking in 2006; the government failed to enact a comprehensive anti-trafficking law and did not report any prosecutions or convictions for trafficking offenses, despite reports of a substantial problem of involutary servitude and trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation


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