An island-state country, Bahrain has the smallest population of all Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. The estimated population of Bahrain is 1.3 million people growing at 1.3% in 2015,[1] yet it is densely populated with 1,705 inhabitants per square kilometer in 2014.[2] Like all GCC countries, Bahrain is highly urbanized, where 88.8% of the population live in urban areas in 2015.[3] Nationals make up 47.3% of Bahrain's total population and nearly 64.5% of the population were below 30 years old in 2015,[2] due to high immigration rates and the country’s reliance on foreign labor.

Bahrain has witnessed a considerable increase in education enrollment rates and improvements in the quality of education. The literacy rate improved from 86.6% in 2001 to 95.7% in 2014,[4] and the number of students in primary education increased by 33.5% between 2000 and 2014.[5] At the tertiary level, gross enrollment rates grew from 29.4% in 2003 to 36.8% in 2014. Among the GCC countries, Bahrain ranked second in its tertiary Gender Parity Index (GPI) at 2.3 in 2014.

Bahrain’s GDP (Purchasing Power Parity, constant 2011 prices) reached Int$ 60.8 billion in 2015, with a Gross National Income (GNI) per capita at Int$ 39,140 in 2015, compared to an average of Int$ 16,445 in the Arab region.[6] With the plunge in international oil prices as of mid-2014, external and fiscal vulnerabilities have deepened. The GDP growth rate (constant 2005 prices) slowed down during 2014 and 2015 at 4.4% and 2.9%, respectively, down from 5.4% in 2013.[7] 

Despite being the first GCC country to discover and refine oil, Bahrain has been among the first GCC countries to diversify its economy away from oil, which makes up around 24% of its GDP in 2014.[10] Still, oil and gas revenues constituted around 86.2% of total government revenues in 2014.[8] Bahrain’s cash balance has been in deficit since 2009 and reached 4% of GDP in 2014, with a decline of 34% in Government revenues between 2014 and2015.[8] Despite slight fluctuations, inflation rate averaged 2.6% over the last 4 years.[8] Meanwhile, the Government’s debt amounted to 63.3% of GDP in 2015, up from up 12.6% in 2008.[7]

Bahrain’s economy is highly trade dependent, with international trade-to-GDP ratio amounting to 115% in 2014.[6] Fuel is among Bahrain's top exported products, accounting for 58% of its total exports.[6] Bahrain’s main imports consist of manufactured goods and refined petroleum products.[6]

Bahrain is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the GCC and the Greater Arab Free Trade Agreement (GAFTA). It was the first GCC country to sign a Free Trade Agreement with the United States of America in 2006. The country has also bilateral trade and economic agreements with over 40 countries, including: China, France, India, and the United Kingdom. Bahrain has signed Free Trade Agreements with Singapore (GSFTA) and the EFTA States (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland).

The overall unemployment rate in Bahrain remained constant at 1.2% since 2011. It is higher among women at 4.2% compared to men (0.5%) in 2015.[9] The share of unemployed youth, aged 15-24 is stable at around 5% since 2000. Moreover, the gap between men and women in youth unemployment rate is also stable; where 2.7% of young men are unemployed compared to 12.8% of young women in 2015.[9] In regards to the working population, Bahraini nationals constitutes around 26% of the workforce, where 528 thousand persons of the employed were non-Bahraini compared to only 189 thousand Bahrainis (2013). The majority of non-Bahraini workers are men, 438 thousand non-Bahraini men compared to 90 thousand non-Bahraini women (2013).[2] 

Besides Oman, Bahrain is one of only two countries in the GCC that is not a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Bahrain produced 18 million barrels of crude oil in 2014, the least among the GCC countries. Total petroleum production increased over the last 15 years from 93.7 million barrels in 2000 to 100.2 million barrels in 2014, and 521.6 billion cubic feet of natural gas in 2014, up from about 481.6 billion cubic feet in 2013.[2] 


This overview has been drafted by the ADP team based on most available data as of 30 September 2016. 


  1. World Population Prospects, Population Division, United Nations
  2. Central Informatics Organization (CIO)
  3. World Urbanization Prospects, Population Division, United Nations
  4. UNESCO Institute for Statistics
  5. Based on figures extracted from the World Development Indicators
  6. World Development Indicators, The World Bank 
  7. International Monetary Fund (IMF)
  8. ADP team computations based on figures extracted from the Ministry of Finance, Bahrain,
  9. KILM – International Labour Organization (ILO)
  10. ADP team computations based on figures extracted from the Central Informatics Organization (CIO), Bahrain, on March 9, 2016

Bahrain Statistical Snapshot 2016
view all

Data Highlighted

view all