The World Factbook (1990)/Bahrain


World Factbook (1990) Bahrain.jpg

 See regional map VI


Total area: 620 km²; land area: 620 km²

Comparative area: slightly less than 3.5 times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries: none

Coastline: 161 km

Maritime claims:

Continental shelf: not specific
Territorial sea: 3 nm

Disputes: territorial dispute with Qatar over the Hawār Islands

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: 2% arable land; 2% permanent crops; 6% meadows and pastures; 0% forest and woodland; 90% other; includes NEGL% irrigated

Environment: subsurface water sources being rapidly depleted (requires development of desalination facilities); dust storms; desertification

Note: proximity to primary Middle Eastern crude oil sources and strategic location in Persian Gulf through which much of Western world's crude oil must transit to reach open ocean


Population: 520,186 (July 1990), growth rate 3.2% (1990)

Birth rate: 28 births/1,000 population (1990) Death rate: 3 deaths/1,000 population (1990)

Net migration rate: 8 migrants/1,000 population (1990)

Infant mortality rate: 19 deaths/1,000 live births (1990)

Life expectancy at birth: 71 years male, 76 years female (1990)

Total fertility rate: 4.1 children born/woman (1990)

Nationality: noun—Bahraini(s); adjective—Bahraini

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

Religion: Muslim (70% Shi'a, 30% Sunni)

Language: Arabic (official); English also widely spoken; Farsi, Urdu

Literacy: 40%

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

Organized labor: General Committee for Bahrain Workers exists in only eight major designated companies


Long-form name: State of Bahrain

Type: traditional monarchy

Capital: Manama

Administrative divisions: 11 municipalities (baladīyat, singular—baladīyah); Al Ḩadd, Al Manāmah, Al Minţaqah al Gharbīyah, Al Minţaqah al Wusţā, Al Minţaqah ash Shamālīyah. Al Muḩarraq, Ar Rifā‘ wa al Minţaqah al Janūbīyah, Jidd Ḩafş, Madīnat ‘Isá, Minţaqat Juzur Ḩawār, Sitrah

Independence: 15 August 1971 (from UK)

Constitution: 26 May 1973, effective 6 December 1973

Legal system: based on Islamic law and English common law

National holiday: National Day, 16 December

Executive branch: amir, crown prince and heir apparent, prime minister, Cabinet

Legislative branch: unicameral National Assembly was dissolved 26 August 1975 and legislative powers were assumed by the Cabinet

Judicial branch: High Civil Appeals Court

Leaders: Chief of State—Amir ‘Isa bin Salman Al KHALIFA (since 2 November 1961); Heir Apparent Hamad bin ‘Isa Al KHALIFA (son of Amir; born 28 January 1950);

Head of Government—Prime Minister Khalifa bin Salman Al KHALIFA, (since 19 January 1970)

Political parties and pressure groups: political parties prohibited; several small, clandestine leftist and Shi'a fundamentalist groups are active

Suffrage: none

Elections: none

Communists: negligible

Member of: Arab League, FAO, G-77, GATT (de facto), GCC, IBRD, ICAO, IDB—Islamic Development Bank, ILO, IMF, IMO, INTERPOL, ITU, NAM, OAPEC, OIC, UN, UNESCO, UPU, WHO

Diplomatic representation: Ambassador Ghazi Muhammad AL-QUSAYBI; Chancery at 3502 International Drive NW, Washington DC 20008; telephone (202) 342-0741 or 342-0742; there is a Bahraini Consulate General in New York; US—Ambassador Dr. Charles W. HOSTLER; Embassy at Shaikh Isa Road, Manama (mailing address is P. O. 26431, Manama, or FPO New York 09526); telephone [973] 714151 through 714153

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


Overview: The oil price decline in recent years has had an adverse impact on the economy. Petroleum production and processing account for about 85% of export receipts, 60% of government revenues, and 20% of GDP. In 1986 soft oil-market conditions led to a 5% drop in GDP, in sharp contrast with the 5% average annual growth rate during the early 1980s. The slowdown in economic activity, however, has helped to check the inflation of the 1970s. The government's past economic diversification efforts have moderated the severity of the downturn but failed to offset oil and gas revenue losses.

GDP: $3.5 billion, per capita $7,550 (1987); real growth rate 0% (1988)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 0.3% (1988)

Unemployment: 8-10% (1989)

Budget: revenues $1,136 million; expenditures $1,210 million, including capital expenditures of $294 million (1987)

Exports: $2.4 billion (f.o.b., 1988 est.); commodities—petroleum 80%, aluminum 7%, other 13%; partners—US, UAE, Japan, Singapore, Saudi Arabia

Imports: $2.5 billion (f.o.b., 1988 est.); commodities—nonoil 59%, crude oil 41%; partners—UK, Saudi Arabia, US, Japan

External debt: $1.1 billion (December 1989 est.)

Industrial production: growth rate -3.1% (1987)

Electricity: 1,652,000 kW capacity; 6,000 million kWh produced, 12,800 kWh per capita (1989)

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, and fish; fish catch 9,000 metric tons in 1987

Aid: US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY70-79), $24 million; Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral Commitments (1970-87), $28 million; OPEC bilateral aid (1979-89), $9.8 billion

Currency: Bahraini dinar (plural—dinars); 1 Bahraini dinar (BD) = 1,000 fils

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

Fiscal year: calendar year


Highways: 200 km bituminous surfaced, including 25 km bridge-causeway to Saudi Arabia opened in November 1986; NA km natural surface tracks

Ports: Mina Salman, Mina al Manamah, Sitrah

Merchant marine: 1 cargo and 1 bulk (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 28,621 GRT/44,137 DWT

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

Civil air: 24 major transport aircraft

Airports: 3 total, 3 usable; 2 with permanent-surface runways; 2 with runways over 3,659 m; 1 with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Telecommunications: excellent international telecommunications; adequate domestic services; 98,000 telephones; stations—2 AM, 1 FM, 2 TV; satellite earth stations—1 Atlantic Ocean INTELSAT, 1 Indian Ocean INTELSAT, 1 ARABSAT; tropospheric scatter and microwave to Qatar, UAE, Saudi Arabia; submarine cable to Qatar and UAE

Defense Forces

Branches: Army (Defense Force), Navy, Air Force

Military manpower: males 15-49, 183,580; 102,334 fit for military service

Defense expenditures: 5% of GDP, or $194 million (1990 est.)