Bahrain

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In 1783, the Sunni Al-Khalifa family took power in Bahrain. 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. The steady decline in oil production and reserves since 1970 prompted Bahrain to take steps to diversify its economy, in the process developing successful petroleum processing and refining, aluminum production, and hospitality and retail sectors, and also to become a leading regional banking center, especially with respect to Islamic finance. Bahrain's small size and central location among Gulf countries require it to play a delicate balancing act in foreign affairs among its larger neighbors.

The Sunni-led government has long struggled to manage relations with its large Shia-majority population. In early 2011, amid Arab uprisings elsewhere in the region, the Bahraini Government confronted similar pro-democracy and reform protests at home with police and military action, including deploying Gulf Cooperation Council security forces to Bahrain. Political talks throughout 2014 between the government and opposition and loyalist political groups failed to reach an agreement, prompting opposition political societies to boycott parliamentary and municipal council elections in late 2014. Ongoing dissatisfaction with the political status quo continues to factor into sporadic clashes between demonstrators and security forces.

Geography

Location

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

Geographic coordinates

26.00° N, 50.33° E

Area 188/257

total: 760 sq km

land: 760 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

mean elevation:

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

agricultural land: 11.3%

arable land 2.1%; permanent crops 3.9%; permanent pasture 5.3%

forest: 0.7%

other: 88% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

40 sq km (2012)

Total renewable water resources

0.12 cu km (2011)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)

total: 0.36 cu km/yr (50%/6%/45%)

per capita: 386 cu m/yr (2003)

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

People and Society

Nationality

noun: Bahraini(s)

adjective: Bahraini

Ethnic groups

Bahraini 46%, Asian 45.5%, other Arabs 4.7%, African 1.6%, European 1%, other 1.2% (includes Gulf Co-operative country nationals, North and South Americans, and Oceanians) (2010 est.)

Languages

Arabic (official), English, Farsi, Urdu

Religions

Muslim 70.3%, Christian 14.5%, Hindu 9.8%, Buddhist 2.5%, Jewish 0.6%, folk religion <.1 unaffiliated other est.>

Population 156/238

1,346,613

note: immigrants make up almost 55% of the total population, according to UN data (2013) (July 2015 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 19.48% (male 133,201/female 129,140)

15-24 years: 15.84% (male 120,073/female 93,182)

25-54 years: 56.13% (male 494,405/female 261,399)

55-64 years: 5.79% (male 50,466/female 27,501)

65 years and over: 2.77% (male 18,092/female 19,154) (2015 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 31.4%

youth dependency ratio: 28.2%

elderly dependency ratio: 3.2%

potential support ratio: 31.6% (2015 est.)

Median age

total: 31.8 years

male: 33.3 years

female: 29.1 years (2015 est.)

Population growth rate 31/233

2.41% (2015 est.)

Birth rate 144/224

13.66 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Death rate 222/225

2.69 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Net migration rate 6/222

13.09 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 88.8% of total population (2015)

rate of urbanization: 1.71% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

MANAMA (capital) 411,000 (2015)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.03 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.29 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 1.89 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 1.84 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.95 male(s)/female

total population: 1.54 male(s)/female (2015 est.)

Maternal mortality rate 138/184

15 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)

Infant mortality rate 142/224

total: 9.35 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 10.4 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 8.26 deaths/1,000 live births (2015 est.)

Life expectancy at birth 51/224

total population: 78.73 years

male: 76.53 years

female: 80.98 years (2015 est.)

Total fertility rate 156/224

1.78 children born/woman (2015 est.)

Health expenditures 165/191

4.9% of GDP (2013)

Physicians density

0.92 physicians/1,000 population (2012)

Hospital bed density

2.1 beds/1,000 population (2012)

Drinking water source

improved:

urban: 100% of population

rural: 100% of population

total: 100% of population

unimproved:

urban: 0% of population

rural: 0% of population

total: 0% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation facility access

improved:

urban: 99.2% of population

rural: 99.2% of population

total: 99.2% of population

unimproved:

urban: 0.8% of population

rural: 0.8% of population

total 0.8% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

NA

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

NA

HIV/AIDS - deaths

NA

Obesity - adult prevalence rate 20/191

34.1% (2014)

Education expenditures 153/173

2.7% of GDP (2012)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 127/134

total: 5.3%

male: 2.6%

female: 12.2% (2012 est.)

Government

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, State of Bahrain

etymology: the name means "the two seas" in Arabic and refers to the water bodies surrounding the archipelago

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

4 governorates (muhafazat, singular - muhafazah); Asimah (Capital), Janubiyah (Southern), Muharraq, Shamaliyah (Northern)

note: each governorate administered by an appointed governor

Independence

15 August 1971 (from the 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; amended 2012 (2015)

Legal system

mixed legal system of Islamic law, English common law, Egyptian civil, criminal, and commercial codes; customary law

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt

Citizenship

citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: the father must be a citizen of Bahrain

dual citizenship recognized: no

residency requirement for naturalization: 25 years; 15 years for Arab nationals

Suffrage

20 years of age; universal; note - Bahraini Cabinet in May 2011 endorsed a draft law lowering eligibility to 18 years

Executive branch

chief of state: King HAMAD bin Isa Al-Khalifa (since 6 March 1999); Crown Prince SALMAN bin Hamad Al-Khalifa (son of the monarch, born 21 October 1969)

head of government: Prime Minister KHALIFA bin Salman Al-Khalifa (since 1971); First Deputy Prime Minister SALMAN bin Hamad Al Khalifa (since 11 March 2013); Deputy Prime Ministers ALI bin Khalifa bin Salman Al-Khalifa, Jawad bin Salim al-ARAIDH (since 11 December 2006), KHALID bin Abdallah Al Khalifa (since November 2010), MUHAMMAD bin Mubarak Al-Khalifa (since September 2005)

cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the monarch

elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; prime minister appointed by the monarch

Legislative branch

description: bicameral National Assembly consists of the Consultative Council or Majlis al Shura (40 seats; members appointed by the king) and the Council of Representatives or Majlis al Nuwab (40 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by absolute majority vote in two rounds if needed; members serve 4-year renewable terms)

elections: Council of Representatives - last held in two rounds on 23 and 29 November 2014 (next to be held in November 2018)

election results: Council of Representatives - percent of vote by society - NA; seats by society - Al-Asalah (Sunni Salafi) 2, Islamic Minbar (Sunni Muslim Brotherhood) 1, independent 36, other 1; note - Bahrain has societies rather than parties

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Court of Cassation or Supreme Court of Appeal (consists of the chairman and 3 judges); Constitutional Court (consists of the president and 6 members); High Sharia Court of Appeal

note: the judiciary of Bahrain is divided into civil law courts and sharia law courts

judge selection and term of office: Court of Cassation judges appointed by royal decree and serve for a specified tenure; Constitutional Court president and members appointed by the Higher Judicial Council, a body chaired by the monarch and includes judges from the Court of Cassation, sharia law courts, and Civil High Courts of Appeal; members serve 9-year terms; High Sharia Court of Appeal member appointment and tenure NA

subordinate courts: Civil High Courts of Appeal; middle and lower civil courts; High Sharia Court of Appeal; Senior Sharia Court

Political parties and leaders

note: political parties are prohibited but political societies were legalized per a July 2005 law

Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society or Al-Wefeq [Ali SALMAN]

Arab Islamic Center Society [Abdulrahman AL-BAKER]

Constitutional Gathering Society [Abdulrahman AL-BAKER]

Islamic Asalah [Abd al-Halim MURAD]

Islamic Saff Society [Abdullah Khalil BU GHAMAR]

Islamic Shura Society

Movement of National Justice Society [Muhi al-Din KHAN]

National Action Charter Society [Muhammad AL-BUAYNAYN]

National Democratic Action Society [Radhi AL-MOUSAWI]

National Democratic Assembly [Hasan AL-ALI]

National Dialogue Society

National Fraternity Society [Musa AL-ANSARI]

National Islamic Minbar [Ali AHMAD]

National Progressive Tribune [Abd al-Nabi SALMAN]

National Unity Gathering [Abdullatif AL-MAHMOOD]

Unitary National Democratic Assemblage [Fadhil ABBAS]

Political pressure groups and leaders

none

International organization participation

ABEDA, AFESD, AMF, CAEU, CICA, FAO, G-77, GCC, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LAS, MIGA, NAM, OAPEC, OIC, OPCW, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

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

note: until 2002 the flag had eight white points, but this was reduced to five to avoid confusion with the Qatari flag

National symbol(s)

a red field surmounted by a white serrated band with five white points; national colors: red, white

National anthem

name: "Bahrainona" (Our Bahrain)

lyrics/music: unknown

note: adopted 1971; although Mohamed Sudqi AYYASH wrote the original lyrics, they were changed in 2002 following the transformation of Bahrain from an emirate to a kingdom

Economy

Economy - overview

Low oil prices have generated a budget deficit of at least a $4 billion deficit in 2015, 13 % of GDP. Bahrain has few options for covering this deficit, with meager foreign assets and a constrained borrowing ability, stemming in part from a sovereign debt rating averaging just above “junk” status.

Oil comprises 86% of Bahraini budget revenues, despite past efforts to diversify its economy and to build communication and transport facilities for multinational firms with business in the Gulf. As part of its diversification plans, Bahrain implemented a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the US in August 2006, the first FTA between the US and a Gulf state.

Other major economic activities are production of aluminum - Bahrain's second biggest export after oil - finance, and construction. Bahrain continues to seek new natural gas supplies as feedstock to support its expanding petrochemical and aluminum industries.

In 2011 Bahrain experienced economic setbacks as a result of domestic unrest driven by the majority Shia population, however, the economy recovered in 2012-15, partly as a result of improved tourism. In addition to addressing its current fiscal woes, Bahraini authorities face the long-term challenge of boosting Bahrain’s regional competitiveness—especially regarding industry, finance, and tourism—and reconciling revenue constraints with popular pressure to maintain generous state subsidies and a large public sector.

GDP (purchasing power parity) 98/230

$64.9 billion (2015 est.)

$62.78 billion (2014 est.)

$60.07 billion (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$30.91 billion (2015 est.)

GDP - real growth rate 86/225

3.4% (2015 est.)

4.5% (2014 est.)

5.3% (2013 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP) 24/230

$51,200 (2015 est.)

$49,500 (2014 est.)

$47,400 (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

Gross national saving 133/179

12.8% of GDP (2015 est.)

19.6% of GDP (2014 est.)

24.7% of GDP (2013 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 44.9%

government consumption: 16.6%

investment in fixed capital: 17.2%

investment in inventories: 1.2%

exports of goods and services: 52.3%

imports of goods and services: -32.2%

(2015 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 0.3%

industry: 35.3%

services: 64.4% (2015 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 153/202

0.8% (2015 est.)

Labor force 151/233

759,400

note: excludes unemployed; 44% of the population in the 15-64 age group is non-national (2015 est.)

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 1%

industry: 32%

services: 67% (2004 est.)

Unemployment rate 36/207

4.1% (2014 est.)

4.3% (2013 est.)

note: official estimate; actual rate is higher

Population below poverty line

NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: NA%

highest 10%: NA%

Budget

revenues: $5.149 billion

expenditures: $9.257 billion (2015 est.)

Taxes and other revenues 183/219

16.7% of GDP (2015 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) 211/220

-13.3% of GDP (2015 est.)

Public debt 53/176

66.7% of GDP (2015 est.)

43.8% of GDP (2014 est.)

Fiscal year

calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices) 110/226

2% (2015 est.)

2.7% (2014 est.)

Commercial bank prime lending rate 134/184

5.9% (31 December 2015 est.)

5.88% (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of narrow money 83/192

$8.684 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$8.232 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of broad money 78/193

$27 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$25.95 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of domestic credit 80/191

$24.16 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$25.44 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares 64/121

$22.1 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

$18.57 billion (31 December 2013)

$15.65 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

Current account balance 133/197

-$1.474 billion (2015 est.)

$1.123 billion (2014 est.)

Exports 77/224

$14.08 billion (2015 est.)

$20.75 billion (2014 est.)

Exports - commodities

petroleum and petroleum products, aluminum, textiles

Exports - partners

Saudi Arabia 3.3%, US 2.4%, UAE 2.2% (2014)

Imports 103/223

$8.791 billion (2015 est.)

$13.32 billion (2014 est.)

Imports - commodities

crude oil, machinery, chemicals

Imports - partners

Saudi Arabia 24%, Algeria 11.9%, China 8.2%, US 7%, Japan 5.7%, Australia 4.4% (2014)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold 93/170

$5.051 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$6.049 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Debt - external 87/206

$18.75 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

$17.66 billion (31 December 2013 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home 78/120

$19.69 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$18.77 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad 58/105

$10.82 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$10.72 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Exchange rates

Bahraini dinars (BHD) per US dollar -

0.38 (2015 est.)

0.38 (2014 est.)

0.38 (2013 est.)

0.38 (2012 est.)

0.38 (2011 est.)

Energy

Electricity - production 89/220

13.26 billion kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - consumption 86/219

11.69 billion kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - exports 76/218

190 million kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - imports 106/219

35 million kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity 83/214

3.94 million kW (2012 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels 38/214

99.9% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels 46/214

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants 158/214

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources 117/212

0.1% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Crude oil - production 57/214

49,500 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Crude oil - exports 33/214

152,600 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - imports 30/214

243,300 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves 70/215

124.6 million bbl (1 January 2015 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production 46/214

278,500 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption 99/212

50,000 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports 28/214

242,900 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports 179/213

2,357 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Natural gas - production 36/216

15.7 billion cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - consumption 43/215

15.7 billion cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - exports 59/215

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - imports 158/214

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves 54/212

92.03 billion cu m (1 January 2014 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 74/212

32.2 million Mt (2012 est.)

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines 118/219

total subscriptions: 280,000

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 22 (2014 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular 148/217

total: 2.3 million

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 177 (2014 est.)

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 station - 1 (2007)

Broadcast media

state-run Bahrain Radio and Television Corporation (BRTC) operates 5 terrestrial TV networks and several radio stations; satellite TV systems provide access to international broadcasts; 1 private FM station directs broadcasts to Indian listeners; radio and TV broadcasts from countries in the region are available (2007)

Radio broadcast stations

AM 2, FM 3, shortwave 0 (1998)

Television broadcast stations

4 (1997)

Internet country code

.bh

Internet hosts 97/232

47,727 (2012)

Internet users 116/217

total: 1.3 million

percent of population: 96.5% (2014 est.)

Transportation

Airports 184/236

4 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 4

over 3,047 m: 3

914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2013)

Heliports

1 (2013)

Pipelines

gas 20 km; oil 54 km (2013)

Roadways 157/223

total: 4,122 km

paved: 3,392 km

unpaved: 730 km (2010)

Merchant marine 119/156

total: 8

by type: bulk carrier 2, container 4, petroleum tanker 2

foreign-owned: 5 (Kuwait 5)

registered in other countries: 5 (Honduras 5) (2010)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Mina' Salman, Sitrah

Military and Security

Military branches

Bahrain Defense Force (BDF): Royal Bahraini Army (RBA), Royal Bahraini Navy (RBN), Royal Bahraini Air Force (RBAF), Royal Bahraini Air Defense Force (RBADF) (2013)

Military service age and obligation

18 years of age for voluntary military service; 15 years of age for NCOs, technicians, and cadets; no conscription (2012)

Military expenditures 19/132

4.2% of GDP (2014)

4.1% of GDP (2013)

3.9% of GDP (2010)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

none