Country Profile




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. The new amir, installed in 1999, has pushed economic and political reforms and has worked to improve relations with the Shi’a community. In February 2001, Bahraini voters approved a referendum on the National Action Charter – the centerpiece of the amir’s political liberalization program. In February 2002, Amir HAMAD bin Isa Al Khalifa proclaimed himself king. In October 2002, Bahrainis elected members of the lower house of Bahrain’s reconstituted bicameral legislature, the National Assembly.



note: includes 235,108 non-nationals (July 2004 est.)

Age structure:

0-14 years: 28.4% (male 97,179; female 95,043)
15-64 years: 68.4% (male 271,015; female 192,342)
65 years and over: 3.3% (male 11,426; female 10,881) (2004 est.)

Median age:

total: 29 years
male: 31.9 years
female: 25.3 years (2004 est.)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.41 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.05 male(s)/female
total population: 1.27 male(s)/female (2004 est.)


Shi’a Muslim 70%, Sunni Muslim 30%


Government type:

hereditary monarchy

Political parties and leaders:

political parties prohibited but politically oriented societies are allowed



GDP – per capita:

purchasing power parity – $16,900 (2004 est.)

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