Al-Mamlaka Al-Bahrayn (Kingdom of Bahrain)
Reference work entry


  • Capital: Manama

  • Population estimate, 2015: 1.38 m.

  • GNI per capita, 2013: (PPP$) 38,599

  • HDI/world rank, 2014: 0.824/45

  • Internet domain extension: .bh

Civil Aviation

The national carrier is Gulf Air, now fully owned by the government of Bahrain after the other three former partners, Qatar, Abu Dhabi and Oman, withdrew in 2002, 2006 and 2007 respectively. In 2010 Gulf Air flew to about 40 international destinations. In 2014 Bahrain International Airport handled 8.10 m. passengers (all on international flights) and 219,332 tonnes of freight. In 2012 scheduled airline traffic of Bahrain-based carriers flew 83.5 m. km; passenger-km totalled 14.4 bn. in the same year.


The climate is pleasantly warm between Dec. and March but from June to Sept. the conditions are very hot and humid. The period June to Nov. is virtually rainless. Bahrain, Jan. 66 °F (19 °C), July 97 °F (36 °C). Annual rainfall 5.2″ (130 mm).

Constitution and Government

The ruling family is the Al-Khalifa who have been in power since 1783. The constitution changing Bahrain from an Emirate to a Kingdom dates from 14 Feb. 2002. The new constitutional hereditary monarchy has a bicameral legislature, inaugurated on 14 Dec. 2002. National elections for a legislative body took place on 24 and 31 Oct. 2002 (the first since the National Assembly was adjourned 27 years earlier). One chamber (Council of Representatives) is a directly elected assembly while the second (upper) chamber, a Shura consultative council of experts, is appointed by the King. Both chambers have 40 members. All Bahraini citizens over the age of 21—men and women—are able to vote for the elected assembly. In the Oct. 2002 national elections women stood for office for the first time.


The unit of currency is the Bahraini dinar (BHD), divided into 1,000 fils.


The Crown Prince is C.-in-C. of the armed forces. An agreement with the USA in Oct. 1991 gave port facilities to the US Navy and provided for mutual manoeuvres. In 2013 defence expenditure totalled US$1,394 m. (up from US$943 m. in 2011), with spending per capita US$1,088. The 2013 expenditure represented 5.0% of GDP.


Finance and real estate accounted for 28.5% of GDP in 2009, crude petroleum and natural gas 23.1% and manufacturing 14.7%.


The labour force in 2013 was 750,000 (more than double the 358,000 in 2003). 71.8% of the population aged 15–64 was economically active in 2013. In the same year 3.7% of the population was unemployed.


There were eight daily newspapers in 2008 with a combined average daily circulation of 155,000.


Islam is the state religion. According to the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life, in 2010 the population was an estimated 70.3% Muslim (of whom around two-thirds Shia and a third Sunni), with 14.5% Christian and 9.8% Hindu.


A 25-km causeway links Bahrain with Saudi Arabia. In 2008 there were 3,942 km of roads, including 475 km of main roads and 563 km of secondary roads. Bahrain has one of the densest road networks in the world. In 2008 there were 310,200 passenger cars in use (404 per 1,000 inhabitants in 2007). In 2007 there were 91 fatalities in road accidents.


In Jan. 2009 there were 15 ships of 300 GT or over registered, totalling 338,000 GT. The port of Mina Sulman is a free transit and industrial area.

Social Statistics

Statistics, 2009: births, 17,841; deaths, 2,387. Rates (per 1,000 population) in 2009: birth, 15.1; death, 2.0. Infant mortality (per 1,000 live births), 9 (2010). Life expectancy at birth, 2007, was 74.2 years for men and 77.4 years for women. Annual population growth rate, 2005–12, 4.7%; fertility rate, 2008, 2.3 children per woman. In 2006 there were 4,714 marriages and 1,130 divorces.


Bahrain’s telecommunications industry was fully liberalized on 1 July 2004. In 2014 there were 2,328,994 mobile phone subscriptions (1,732.7 per 1,000 inhabitants) and 284,684 landline telephone subscriptions (equivalent to 211.8 per 1,000 inhabitants). 91.0% of the population were internet users in 2014. Fixed internet subscriptions totalled 287,572 in 2014 (213.9 per 1,000 inhabitants). In March 2012 there were 346,000 Facebook users.

Territory and Population

The Kingdom of Bahrain forms an archipelago of 36 low-lying islands in the Persian Gulf, between the Qatar peninsula and the mainland of Saudi Arabia. The total area is 720 km2. Total census population in 2010 was 1,234,571 (males, 768,414; females, 466,157) of which 568,399 were Bahraini and 666,172 non-Bahraini. Among Bahrainis 50.5% of the population in 2010 were males but among non-Bahrainis 72.2% were males. The population density was 1,715 per km2 in 2010. In 2011, 88.7% of the population were urban. There are five governorates: Capital, Central, Muharraq, Northern, Southern. Arabic is the official language. English is widely used in business.


In 2012 there were 8,062,000 foreign visitors (up from 6,732,000 in 2011, but down from the record high of 11,952,000 in 2010 before the Arab Spring of early 2011 and the subsequent turmoil experienced by Bahrain).

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© Springer Nature Limited 2019

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