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Mar 20, 2005
Living in Bahrain
- Joyce Anne Agacer Email this article

Official name: Dawlat al-Bahrayn (State of Bahrain)

 

Bahrain is known throughout the world for its friendliness and hospitality. The Middle East's only island nation follows the trend of island lifestyle everywhere with its sunny skies, blue seas and peace-loving population.

Its name is derived from two Arabic words "thnain Bahr" meaning "two seas" and refers to the phenomenon of sweet water springs under the sea which mingle with the salty water. This phenomenon is believed to be responsible for the unusual luster of Bahrain's natural pearls, the country's major economy before the advent of oil.

 

Geography

Location: Middle East, lies between the east coast of Saudi Arabia and the Qatar peninsula at a latitude of 26 North

Capital: Manama

Area: total: 707 sq km
land: 665 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Local time: GMT + 3 hours.

 

Bahrain consists of a group of 33 islands. It is linked by causeways to Muharraq (international airport) and Sitra (industrial area and tank-farm). There are numerous other tiny islands, but they are mainly uninhabited and are best known for the variety of migrating birds which pass through in spring and autumn.

 

People (Population & Culture)

 

Population: 677,886
note: includes 235,108 non-nationals (July 2004 est.)

 

Median age:

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

 

Population growth rate: 1.56% (2004 est.)

 

Net migration rate: 1.05 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2004 est.)

 

Literacy:

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 89.1%
male: 91.9%
female: 85% (2003 est.)

 

Language: Arabic, English, Farsi, Urdu

 

Locals and expatriates live together and interact in a rare bond of fraternity and brotherhood. Such charms, along with an excellent network of hotels, apartments and restaurants, attract an increasing number of regional and international tourists.

 

The role of women is reflected in Bahrain's human resources. With almost half the population female, Bahraini women are highly educated and are well represented in all of the major professions, as well as various women's societies and organizations. Employed Bahraini women accounted for 23.5 per cent of the total working Bahraini population, according to the Central Statistics Organization's 2001 census report. The Bahraini female labor force constitutes 25.6 per cent of the total Bahraini female population.

 

Although the working population of Bahrain is small, it consists mainly of young (20-40 year olds) university graduates, most of whom are bilingual (Arabic and English).

 

Against the backdrop of robust economic growth in 2000, a positive momentum has surfaced amongst the Bahraini working population. Being at an economic and political crossroads, Bahrain's emphasis on its people has never been stronger. This is evidenced by the implementation of the referendum of 2001, which passed with a majority vote (98.4%), and which allows municipal and legislative elections to be held on may 9 and october 24, 2002, respectively.

 

The national and cultural identity of Bahrain is best reflected in its human resources, with a high percentage of nationals employed in key industries. Whereas other GCC states depend to a larger extent on expatriate workers, Bahrain's human resources have played a vital role in shaping the economy. Bahrain's business culture revolves around personal interactions, differentiating the kingdom from other Gulf States.

 

Bahraini decision-makers and key executives are easily accessible and have a hands-on approach to doing business. Simultaneously, since the discovery of oil in 1932, Bahrain has utilized the expertise and talent of an international human capital pool to assist in its development.

 

Religion

 

Islam is the religion of Bahrain, Shi'a Muslim 70%, Sunni Muslim 30%, and is practiced by the majority. Places of worship of other faiths exist on the island.        

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