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Area: 727 sq. km. (274 sq. mi.); approximately four times the size of Washington, DC. Bahrain is an archipelago of 36 islands located off the eastern coast of Saudi Arabia. The four main islands are joined by causeways, and make up about 95% of the total land area.
Cities: Capital--Manama, pop. (2002 est.) 148,000. Other cities--Al Muharraq.
Terrain: Low desert plain (highest elevation point--122 m).
Climate: Hot and humid from May-September, with average highs ranging from 30o-40o C (86o-104o F). Maximum temperatures average 20o-30o C (68o-86o F) the remainder of the year.

Nationality: Noun and adjective--Bahraini(s).
Population (July 2005 est.): 688,345, including about 235,108 non-nationals.
Annual growth rate (2005 est.): 1.51%.
Ethnic groups: Bahraini 63%, Asian 19%, other Arab 10%, Iranian 8%.
Religions: 98% Muslim (Shi’a 70%, Sunni 30%), with small Christian, Jewish and Hindu communities.
Languages: Arabic (official), English, Farsi, and Urdu are also widely spoken.
Education: Education is not compulsory, but is provided free to Bahrainis and non-nationals at all levels, including higher education. Estimated net primary school attendance (1991-2001)--84%. Adult literacy, age 15 and over (2003 est.)--89.1% for the overall population (male 91.9%, female 85%).
Health: Infant mortality rate (2005 est.)--17.27 deaths/1,000 live births. Life expectancy--72 yrs. males, 77 yrs. females.
Work force (2005 est.): 380,000 of which 59% are foreigners and 20.8% female.

Type: Constitutional hereditary monarchy.
Independence: August 15, 1971 (from the United Kingdom).
Constitution: Approved and promulgated May 26, 1973; suspended on August 26, 1975; the National Action Charter was approved by a national popular referendum on February 14-15, 2001, and a new constitution was issued on February 14, 2002.
Branches: Executive--King (chief of state); Prime Minister (head of government); Council of Ministers (cabinet) is appointed by the King and headed by the Prime Minister.
Legislative--The bicameral parliament (al-Majlis al-Watani) consists of a 40-member elected House of Deputies and a 40-member Shura Council appointed by the King. Members of both chambers serve four-year terms. Judicial--High Civil Appeals Court. The judiciary is independent with right of judicial review.
Administrative subdivisions: 12 municipalities (manatiq): Al Hidd, Al Manamah, Al Mintaqah al Gharbiyah, Al Mintaqah al Wusta, Al Mintaqah ash Shamaliyah, Al Muharraq, Ar Rifa' wa al Mintaqah al Janubiyah, Jidd Hafs, Madinat Hamad, Madinat 'Isa, Juzur Hawar, Sitrah.
Political parties: None. Formal parties are banned, but political societies have been sanctioned since 2001 and were formally allowed to register per a July 2005 law.
Suffrage: Universal at age 18.

GDP (2005 est.): $11.58 billion.
Real GDP growth rate (2005 est.): 5.9%.
Per capita GDP (2005 est.): $20,500.
Natural resources: Oil, natural gas, fish, pearls.
Agriculture (less than 1% of GDP): Products--fruit, vegetables, poultry, dairy products, shrimp, fish.
Industry: Types--oil and gas (13.1% of GDP), manufacturing (12.4% of GDP), aluminum.
Services: Finance (24.2% of GDP), transport and communications (8.9% of GDP), real estate (9.2% of GDP); government services (14.8% of GDP).
Trade (2004--12.4% of GDP): Exports--$8.14 billion: oil and other mineral products, base metals, textiles. Major markets--India (4.3%), U.S. (2.9%), Saudi Arabia (3.0%), Japan (1.7%), South Korea (1.4%). Imports--$7.83 billion: crude oil, machinery and appliances, transport equipment, foodstuffs. Major suppliers--Saudi Arabia (32.4%), U.S. (5.6%), France (4.8%), U.K. (6.1%), Germany (6.1%), Japan (7.3%).

Adapted from material published in the CIA World Factbook.
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