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The Kingdom of Bahrain consists of 33 islands situated in the Arabian Gulf between the Qatar peninsula and the east coast of Saudi Arabia. The archipelago has a total area of 707 sq. km about 48kms from north to south and 16kms from east to west. It was the first country in the Gulf to discover oil and since then, has used its oil revenues to build up an advanced infrastructure. Bahrain now has the fifth highest per capita income in the Middle East, the highest life expectancy in the Gulf and a very high rate of literacy. Despite the adverse effects of the 1990-91 Gulf crisis, Bahrain has retained its role as a major regional banking and financial centre, with particular emphasis on offshore banking activities. The causeway link with Saudi Arabia, opened in 1987, continues to benefit Bahrain's tourism and trade with its GCC neighbours.


Location: Middle East, archipelago in the Persian Gulf, east of Saudi Arabia
Area: total: 665 sq km, land: 665 sq km, water: 0 sq km
Climate: arid; mild, pleasant winters; very hot, humid summers
Natural resources:
oil, associated and non associated natural gas, fish, pearls
Population: 677,886 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.)
Population growth rate: 1.56% (2004 est.)
Birth rate:

18.54 births/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Death rate: 4.03 deaths/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Net migration rate: 1.05 migrant(s)/1,000 population (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.)
Ethnic groups: Bahraini 63%, Asian 19%, other Arab 10%, Iranian 8%
Religions: Shi'a Muslim 70%, Sunni Muslim 30%
Languages: Arabic, English, Farsi, Urdu