Bahrain County Profile
The name Bahrain translates into, “Two Seas”. This state is referred to as the Kingdom of Bahrain. It is an island South-West of the Persian Gulf, comprised of a number smaller islands. The country has control of 33 out of the 37 islands on the Asia Arabian Peninsula. The capital city of the kingdom is Manama. The capital is located at the North-eastern part of the state. The nation is borders Qatar to its East and Saudi Arabia to the West (See Figure 1). The Kingdom covers an area of 780 Square Kilometers. This is inclusive of its two set of islands. The biggest part of the country is occupied by Bahrain Island. It is approximately seven-eighths of the whole area. The other islands cover the remain eighth. These islands are; Umm al-Ṣabbān, Umm al-Naʿsān, Ḥawār Islands. The Bahrain is the third smallest country in Asia. The country is covered by the Gulf of Bahrain which is an inlet to the larger Persian Gulf. The Northern Part of the country is rocky and covered largely with coral reefs. However, the larger part of the country is a desert. The county’s main port is at Mina Salman.
Bahrain has a population of 1,437,269. A huge percentage of the population are males. Approximately 899,282 which translates to 62.6%, whereas the females are approximately 537,788; 37.4% of the population. This number is said to increase to 2.138 Million by 2020. From the census, the population growth rate was at 1.6% by 2016. The Country’s Life expectancy is at 75 years for the men and 76 years for the women.
The country’s population density is at 1,997 people per square kilometer. A large number of these individuals are at the Bahrain Island. In addition, a considerably large portion of the population is further distributed across the following Governorates. (Manama, Southern, Muharraq, and Northern part. An estimated 83.7% of the population resides in the Urban areas. The Median Age of the Population is 31.4 years. A large section of the community is between 15-64 years old. In comparison, the country has more female children as compared to their male counterparts (0-15 years). Further, the nation’s average dependency ratio is at 29.9%. This value is relatively low since a larger percentage of the population comprises of individuals from 15- 64 years (See Figure 2)
96.92% of the population are literate. This is almost the entire country is able to read and write. Further the country’s youth literacy rate is at 99.78% for the males and 99.74% for the females. The country has a constant flow of Migrants. They come to the country either to work, study or as tourists. About 6,438 immigrants have settled in Bahrain in 2017. It can be further broken down to 18 immigrants daily. The immigrants are mainly from the other Asian nations. For example, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Jordan, and India. Lastly, more males migrate into the country as compared to the females. Close to three-fifths of the nation’s labor force are migrants.
Linguistics and Religious Geography
Bahrain is among the earliest places to be occupied by Muslims. This occurred in (AD 628). The country is mainly comprised of Muslims. They occupy more than half of the population. The Bahrainis are either natives of the country while others trace their roots to Saudi Arabia, Palestine, and Oman. Further, it has a huge number of individuals from the other Asian nations. Namely, Indians, Iranians, Americans, and Pakistanis. These occupy about 46% of the total population. Arabic is the country’s national language. However, due to the rise in immigration, other languages are common. In particular, English and Hindi are largely spoken.
Islam is the most practiced religion in Bahrain. Approximately 70% of the population are Muslims. The population is further divided into Shi’is and Sunnis. However, the greater percentage of the Bahrainis are Shi’is. More than 46% of the total population. The Sunni’s occupy only 24% of the total population. The largest non-Muslim society is comprised of Christians. They are about 15% of the population and the rest are either Jewish, Hindu, or Baha’s.
The country is a Kingdom. Ruled by a King from the Āl Khalīfah family. The post is inherited from one ruler to the next. They are referred to as Emirs. The nation has a rich political history. From 628 it was occupied mainly by the Muslims. However, in 1521, it was occupied by the Portuguese. They occupied the country for about 50 years until they were ousted by Shah Abbas I of the Persian Empire. It was under the control of the empire until 1783. At this time, its leader was Nasr Al. Madhkur. He was then expelled from power by the Bani Utbahs. This was a clan that the current ruling family originated from.
The country was also affected by the European scramble. The country became a British protectorate in the early 19th century. It gained independence in 1971. In 2002, they promulgated their first constitution which declared the country a kingdom. However, the constitution provided that the nation should be a Constitutional Monarch. The Kingdom would remain within this dynasty but it created the Prime Minister’s post. The Prime Minister is the head of the Government. The country has a Bicameral Parliament. The parliament is divided into the Shura Council and the Council of Representatives. Both houses are comprised of 40 Representatives.
The members of the Shura council are the King’s appointees. However, the council of representative members are victors of a majority elective vote. They are to serve for a period of 4 years. However, the Shura Council has the Veto rights over the council of representatives. They must agree with the bills and laws passed by the house in order for them to be laws. The Council of Representatives are mandated to draft acts. The Acts are then taken to the Shura council for approval, before they are sent to the King for ratification. Once it is ratified, it goes back to the house in order for voting by the councils before it becomes law. The bill must get a two-thirds majority to become law.
The Country’s economy is comprised of individuals from different countries. In addition, the country has encouraged the cross-border trade. For example, the country has an understanding with the United States after the US-Bahrain Trade Agreement of 2005, that opened the doors for the two countries to trade. In addition, as per the laws, both the National and International companies are tasked equally.
The nation was among the first Arab countries to discover oil. Therefore, the country grew as an Oil mining nation. At the moment, the country is slowly diversifying its trade to include tourism and trade. This diversification is mainly since the country’s oil reserves are almost depleted. They have opted to refine their neighbor’s crude oil at their refineries. As per the 2011 Economic Freedom Index, the country was ranked Middle East’s freest and Twelfth globally.
Bahrain has invested greatly in the hydrocarbon industry. In particular, Petroleum and Natural gases are the country’s major exports. The mining and purification process is carried out by both national and international companies. These include, the Bahrain National Gas Company, and the Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company.