[Country map of Bahrain]



Location: Middle East, archipelago in the Persian Gulf, east of Saudi Arabia

Map references: Middle East

total area: 620 sq km
land area: 620 sq km
comparative area: slightly less than 3.5 times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: 161 km

Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: 24 nm
continental shelf: extending to boundaries to be determined
territorial sea: 12 nm

International disputes: territorial dispute with Qatar over the Hawar Islands; maritime boundary with Qatar

Climate: arid; mild, pleasant winters; very hot, humid summers

Terrain: mostly low desert plain rising gently to low central escarpment

Natural resources: oil, associated and nonassociated natural gas, fish

Land use:
arable land: 2%
permanent crops: 2%
meadows and pastures: 6%
forest and woodland: 0%
other: 90%

Irrigated land: 10 sq km (1989 est.)

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; no natural fresh water resources so that groundwater and sea water are the only sources for all water needs
natural hazards: periodic droughts; dust storms
international agreements: party to - Climate Change, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection; signed, but not ratified - Biodiversity

Note: close to primary Middle Eastern petroleum sources; strategic location in Persian Gulf through which much of Western world's petroleum must transit to reach open ocean


Population: 575,925 (July 1995 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 31% (female 87,398; male 89,976)
15-64 years: 67% (female 152,363; male 231,586)
65 years and over: 2% (female 7,051; male 7,551) (July 1995 est.)

Population growth rate: 2.58% (1995 est.)

Birth rate: 24.12 births/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Death rate: 3.31 deaths/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Net migration rate: 4.95 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 18 deaths/1,000 live births (1995 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 73.94 years
male: 71.46 years
female: 76.49 years (1995 est.)

Total fertility rate: 3.12 children born/woman (1995 est.)

noun: Bahraini(s)
adjective: Bahraini

Ethnic divisions: Bahraini 63%, Asian 13%, other Arab 10%, Iranian 8%, other 6%

Religions: Shi'a Muslim 70%, Sunni Muslim 30%

Languages: Arabic, English, Farsi, Urdu

Literacy: age 15 and over can read and write (1991)
total population: 84%
male: 89%
female: 77%

Labor force: 140,000
by occupation: industry and commerce 85%, agriculture 5%, services 5%, government 3% (1982)
note: 42% of labor force is Bahraini


conventional long form: State of Bahrain
conventional short form: Bahrain
local long form: Dawlat al Bahrayn
local short form: Al Bahrayn

Digraph: BA

Type: traditional monarchy

Capital: Manama

Administrative divisions: 12 districts (manatiq, singular - mintaqah); Al Hadd, Al Manamah, Al Mintaqah al Gharbiyah, Al Mintaqah al Wusta, Al Mintaqah ash Shamaliyah, Al Muharraq, Ar Rifa'wa al Mintaqah al Janubiyah, Jidd Hafs, Madinat Hamad, Madinat 'Isa, Mintaqat Juzur Hawar, Sitrah

Independence: 15 August 1971 (from UK)

National holiday: Independence Day, 16 December (1961)

Constitution: 26 May 1973, effective 6 December 1973

Legal system: based on Islamic law and English common law

Suffrage: none

Executive branch:
chief of state: Amir ISA bin Salman Al Khalifa (since 2 November 1961); Heir Apparent HAMAD bin Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa (son of the Amir, born 28 January 1950)
head of government: Prime Minister KHALIFA bin Salman Al Khalifa (since 19 January 1970)
cabinet: Cabinet

Legislative branch: unicameral National Assembly was dissolved 26 August 1975 and legislative powers were assumed by the Cabinet; appointed Advisory Council established 16 December 1992

Judicial branch: High Civil Appeals Court

Political parties and leaders: political parties prohibited; several small, clandestine leftist and Islamic fundamentalist groups are active


Diplomatic representation in US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Muhammad ABD AL-GHAFFAR al-Abdallah
chancery: 3502 International Drive NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 342-0741, 342-0742
consulate(s) general: New York

US diplomatic representation:
chief of mission: Ambassador David M. RANSOM
embassy: Building No. 979, Road 3119 (next to Ahli Sports Club), Zinj District, Manama
mailing address: FPO AE 09834-5100; P.O. Box 26431, Manama (International Mail)
telephone: [973] 273300; afterhours [973] 275-126
FAX: [973] 272594

Flag: red with a white serrated band (eight white points) on the hoist side


Overview: Tiny in area, Bahrain is well-to-do in economic resources and per capita income. Petroleum production and processing account for about 80% of export receipts, 60% of government revenues, and 30% of GDP. Economic conditions have fluctuated with the changing fortunes of oil since 1985, for example, during and following the Gulf crisis of 1990-91. With its highly developed communication and transport facilities Bahrain is home to numerous multinational firms with business in the Gulf. A large share of exports consists of petroleum products made from imported crude. Prospects for 1995 are good, with private enterprise the main driving force, e.g., in banking and construction. Unemployment, especially among the young, and the depletion of both oil and underground water resources are major long-term economic problems.

National product: GDP - purchasing power parity - $7.1 billion (1994 est.)

National product real growth rate: 2.2% (1994 est.)

National product per capita: $12,100 (1994 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 2% (1994 est.)

Unemployment rate: 15% (1991 est.)

revenues: $1.2 billion (1989)
expenditures: $1.6 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (1992)

Exports: $3.69 billion (f.o.b., 1993 est.)
commodities: petroleum and petroleum products 80%, aluminum 7%
partners: Japan 11%, UAE 5%, South Korea 4%, India 4%, Saudi Arabia 3% (1992)

Imports: $3.83 billion (f.o.b., 1993 est.)
commodities: nonoil 59%, crude oil 41%
partners: Saudi Arabia 47%, UK 7%, Japan 7%, US 6%, Germany 5% (1992)

External debt: $2.6 billion (1993)

Industrial production: growth rate 13% (1992); accounts for 38% of GDP, including petroleum

capacity: 1,050,000 kW
production: 3.3 billion kWh
consumption per capita: 5,453 kWh (1993)

Industries: petroleum processing and refining, aluminum smelting, offshore banking, ship repairing

Agriculture: including fishing, accounts for less than 2% of GDP; not self-sufficient in food production; heavily subsidized sector produces fruit, vegetables, poultry, dairy products, shrimp, fish

Economic aid:
recipient: US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY70-79), $24 million; Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-89), $45 million; OPEC bilateral aid (1979-89), $9.8 billion

Currency: 1 Bahraini dinar (BD) = 1,000 fils

Exchange rates: Bahraini dinars (BD) per US$1 - 0.3760 (fixed rate)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Railroads: 0 km

total: 2,670 km
paved: 2,010 km
unpaved: 660 km (1991 est.)

Pipelines: crude oil 56 km; petroleum products 16 km; natural gas 32 km

Ports: Manama, Mina' Salman, Sitrah

Merchant marine:
total: 6 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 79,949 GRT/120,900 DWT
ships by type: bulk 1, cargo 4, chemical tanker 1

total: 4
with paved runways over 3,047 m: 2
with paved runways under 914 m: 1
with unpaved runways 1,524 to 2,438 m: 1


Telephone system: 98,000 telephones; 170 telephones/1,000 persons; modern system; good domestic services; excellent international connections
local: NA
intercity: NA
international: 2 INTELSAT (1 Atlantic Ocean and 1 Indian Ocean) and 1 ARABSAT earth station; tropospheric scatter to Qatar, UAE; microwave radio relay to Saudi Arabia; submarine cable to Qatar, UAE, and Saudi Arabia

broadcast stations: AM 2, FM 3, shortwave 0
radios: 60 million

broadcast stations: 2
televisions: 21 million

Defense Forces

Branches: Army, Navy, Air Force, Air Defense, Coast Guard, Police Force

Manpower availability: males age 15-49 210,725; males fit for military service 117,414; males reach military age (15) annually 4,346 (1995 est.)

Defense expenditures: exchange rate conversion - $247 million, 5.5% of GDP (1994)