Photos of Bahrain

Walls of the historic Qal'at al-Bahrain (Fortress of Bahrain), which is the largest and most ancient historical site in the country. It was an important center of the Dilmun Civilization (2nd and 1st millennia B.C.); in later periods, it served as a trading and military outpost.



In 1783, the Sunni AL-KHALIFA family took power in Bahrain. In order to secure these holdings, it entered into a series of treaties with the UK during the 19th century that made Bahrain a British protectorate. The archipelago attained its independence in 1971. A steady decline in oil production and reserves since 1970 prompted Bahrain to take steps to diversify its economy, in the process developing petroleum processing and refining, aluminum production, and hospitality and retail sectors. It has also endeavored to become a leading regional banking center, especially with respect to Islamic finance. Bahrain's small size, central location among Gulf countries, economic dependence on Saudi Arabia, and proximity to Iran require it to play a delicate balancing act in foreign affairs among its larger neighbors. Its foreign policy activities usually fall in line with Saudi Arabia and the UAE. In 2022, the United States designated Bahrain as a major non-NATO ally.

The Sunni royal family has long struggled to manage relations with its Shia-majority population. In 2011, amid Arab uprisings elsewhere in the region, the Bahraini Government responded to similar pro-democracy and reform protests at home with police and military action, including deploying Gulf Cooperation Council security forces. Ongoing dissatisfaction with the political status quo continues to factor into sporadic clashes between demonstrators and security forces. In 2020, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates signed the US-brokered Abraham Accords with Israel. In 2023, Bahrain and the United States signed the Comprehensive Security Integration and Prosperity Agreement to enhance cooperation across a wide range of areas, from defense and security to emerging technology, trade, and investment.



Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.



Middle East, archipelago in the Persian Gulf, east of Saudi Arabia

Geographic coordinates

26 00 N, 50 33 E

Map references

Middle East


total: 760 sq km

land: 760 sq km

water: 0 sq km

comparison ranking: total 187

Area - comparative

3.5 times the size of Washington, DC

Area comparison map:
Area comparison map

Land boundaries

total: 0 km


161 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

contiguous zone: 24 nm

continental shelf: extending to boundaries to be determined


arid; mild, pleasant winters; very hot, humid summers


mostly low desert plain rising gently to low central escarpment


highest point: Jabal ad Dukhan 135 m

lowest point: Persian Gulf 0 m

Natural resources

oil, associated and nonassociated natural gas, fish, pearls

Land use

agricultural land: 11.3% (2018 est.)

arable land: 2.1% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 3.9% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 5.3% (2018 est.)

forest: 0.7% (2018 est.)

other: 88% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

40 sq km (2012)

Major aquifers

Arabian Aquifer System

Population distribution

smallest population of the Gulf States, but urbanization rate exceeds 90%; largest settlement concentration is found on the far northern end of the island in and around Manamah and Al Muharraq

Natural hazards

periodic droughts; dust storms

Geography - note

close to primary Middle Eastern petroleum sources; strategic location in Persian Gulf, through which much of the Western world's petroleum must transit to reach open ocean

People and Society


total: 1,566,888

male: 940,022

female: 626,866 (2024 est.)

comparison rankings: female 159; male 154; total 155


noun: Bahraini(s)

adjective: Bahraini

Ethnic groups

Bahraini 47.4%, Asian 43.4%, other Arab 4.9%, African 1.4%, North American 1.1%, Gulf Co-operative countries 0.9%, European 0.8%, other 0.1% (2020 est.)


Arabic (official), English, Farsi, Urdu

major-language sample(s):
كتاب حقائق العالم، المصدر الذي لا يمكن الاستغناء عنه للمعلومات الأساسية (Arabic)

The World Factbook, the indispensable source for basic information.

Arabic audio sample:


Muslim 74.2%, other (includes Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Baha'i) 25.8% (2020 est.)

MENA religious affiliation

Age structure

0-14 years: 18.1% (male 143,399/female 139,667)

15-64 years: 77.7% (male 762,190/female 454,616)

65 years and over: 4.3% (2024 est.) (male 34,433/female 32,583)

2023 population pyramid:
2023 population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 31.3

youth dependency ratio: 26.8

elderly dependency ratio: 4.6

potential support ratio: 21.8 (2021 est.)

Median age

total: 33.4 years (2024 est.)

male: 34.6 years

female: 31.2 years

comparison ranking: total 111

Population growth rate

0.82% (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 109

Birth rate

12.2 births/1,000 population (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 146

Death rate

2.8 deaths/1,000 population (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 226

Net migration rate

-1.2 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 151

Population distribution

smallest population of the Gulf States, but urbanization rate exceeds 90%; largest settlement concentration is found on the far northern end of the island in and around Manamah and Al Muharraq


urban population: 89.9% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 1.99% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Major urban areas - population

709,000 MANAMA (capital) (2023)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.03 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 1.68 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 1.06 male(s)/female

total population: 1.5 male(s)/female (2024 est.)

Maternal mortality ratio

16 deaths/100,000 live births (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 135

Infant mortality rate

total: 9.7 deaths/1,000 live births (2024 est.)

male: 11.3 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 8 deaths/1,000 live births

comparison ranking: total 135

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 80.4 years (2024 est.)

male: 78.1 years

female: 82.7 years

comparison ranking: total population 52

Total fertility rate

1.65 children born/woman (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 171

Gross reproduction rate

0.81 (2024 est.)

Drinking water source

improved: urban: NA

rural: NA

total: 100% of population

unimproved: urban: NA

rural: NA

total: 0% of population (2020 est.)

Current health expenditure

4.2% of GDP (2020)

Physicians density

0.93 physicians/1,000 population (2015)

Hospital bed density

1.7 beds/1,000 population (2017)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: NA

rural: NA

total: 100% of population

unimproved: urban: NA

rural: NA

total: 0% of population (2020 est.)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

29.8% (2016)

comparison ranking: 25

Alcohol consumption per capita

total: 1.18 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

beer: 0.4 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

wine: 0.11 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

spirits: 0.66 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

other alcohols: 0.01 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total 148

Tobacco use

total: 14.9% (2020 est.)

male: 25.3% (2020 est.)

female: 4.5% (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 104

Education expenditures

2.2% of GDP (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 183


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 97.5%

male: 99.9%

female: 94.9% (2018)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 16 years

male: 16 years

female: 17 years (2019)


Environment - current issues

desertification resulting from the degradation of limited arable land, periods of drought, and dust storms; coastal degradation (damage to coastlines, coral reefs, and sea vegetation) resulting from oil spills and other discharges from large tankers, oil refineries, and distribution stations; lack of freshwater resources (groundwater and seawater are the only sources for all water needs); lowered water table leaves aquifers vulnerable to saline contamination; desalinization provides some 90% of the country's freshwater

Environment - international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements


arid; mild, pleasant winters; very hot, humid summers

Land use

agricultural land: 11.3% (2018 est.)

arable land: 2.1% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 3.9% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 5.3% (2018 est.)

forest: 0.7% (2018 est.)

other: 88% (2018 est.)


urban population: 89.9% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 1.99% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Revenue from forest resources

0% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 160

Revenue from coal

0% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 69

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 51.82 micrograms per cubic meter (2019 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 31.69 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 15.47 megatons (2020 est.)

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 951,943 tons (2016 est.)

municipal solid waste recycled annually: 76,155 tons (2012 est.)

percent of municipal solid waste recycled: 8% (2012 est.)

Major aquifers

Arabian Aquifer System

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 280 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

industrial: 10 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

agricultural: 140 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

Total renewable water resources

120 million cubic meters (2020 est.)


Country name

conventional long form: Kingdom of Bahrain

conventional short form: Bahrain

local long form: Mamlakat al Bahrayn

local short form: Al Bahrayn

former: Dilmun, Tylos, Awal, Mishmahig, Bahrayn, State of Bahrain

etymology: the name means "the two seas" in Arabic and refers to the water bodies surrounding the archipelago

Government type

constitutional monarchy


name: Manama

geographic coordinates: 26 14 N, 50 34 E

time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

etymology: name derives from the Arabic "al-manama" meaning "place of rest" or "place of dreams"

Administrative divisions

4 governorates (muhafazat, singular - muhafazah); Asimah (Capital), Janubiyah (Southern), Muharraq, Shamaliyah (Northern)

note: each governorate administered by an appointed governor


15 August 1971 (from the UK)

National holiday

National Day, 16 December (1971); note - 15 August 1971 was the date of independence from the UK, 16 December 1971 was the date of independence from British protection


history: adopted 14 February 2002

amendments: proposed by the king or by at least 15 members of either chamber of the National Assembly followed by submission to an Assembly committee for review and, if approved, submitted to the government for restatement as drafts; passage requires a two-thirds majority vote by the membership of both chambers and validation by the king; constitutional articles on the state religion (Islam), state language (Arabic), and the monarchy and "inherited rule" cannot be amended; amended 2012, 2017

Legal system

mixed legal system of Islamic (sharia) law, English common law, Egyptian civil, criminal, and commercial codes; customary law

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt


citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: the father must be a citizen of Bahrain

dual citizenship recognized: no

residency requirement for naturalization: 25 years; 15 years for Arab nationals


20 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: King HAMAD bin Isa Al-Khalifa (since 6 March 1999); Crown Prince SALMAN bin Hamad Al-Khalifa (born 21 October 1969)

head of government: Prime Minister Crown Prince SALMAN bin Hamad Al-Khalifa (since 11 November 2020); Deputy Prime Minister KHALID bin Abdallah Al Khalifa (since May 2011)

cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the monarch

elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; prime minister appointed by the monarch

Legislative branch

description: bicameral National Assembly consists of:
Consultative Council or Majlis al-Shura (40 seats; members appointed by the king)
Council of Representatives or Majlis al-Nuwab (40 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by absolute majority vote in 2 rounds if needed; members serve 4-year renewable terms)

elections: Consultative Council - last appointments on 30 November 2022 (next appointments in 2026)
Council of Representatives - first round for 6 members held on 12 November 2022; second round for remaining 34 members held on 19 November 2022 (next to be held in November 2026)

election results: Consultative Council - all members appointed; composition - men 30, women 10, percentage women 25%

Council of Representatives - percent of vote by society - NA; seats by society - NA; composition - men 32, women 8, percentage women 20%; total National Assembly percentage women 23%

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Court of Cassation (consists of the chairman and 3 judges); Supreme Court of Appeal (consists of the chairman and 3 judges); Constitutional Court (consists of the president and 6 members); High Sharia Court of Appeal (court sittings include the president and at least one judge)

judge selection and term of office: Court of Cassation judges appointed by royal decree and serve for a specified tenure; Constitutional Court president and members appointed by the Higher Judicial Council, a body chaired by the monarch and includes judges from the Court of Cassation, sharia law courts, and Civil High Courts of Appeal; members serve 9-year terms; High Sharia Court of Appeal member appointments by royal decree for a specified tenure

subordinate courts: Civil High Courts of Appeal; middle and lower civil courts; High Sharia Court of Appeal; Senior Sharia Court; Administrative Courts of Appeal; military courts

note: the judiciary of Bahrain is divided into civil law courts and sharia law courts; sharia courts (involving personal status and family law) are further divided into Sunni Muslim and Shia Muslim; the Courts are supervised by the Supreme Judicial Council.

Political parties and leaders

note: political parties are prohibited, but political societies were legalized under a July 2005 law

International organization participation


Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Abdulla bin Rashed AL KHALIFA (since 21 July 2017)

chancery: 3502 International Drive NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 342-1111

FAX: [1] (202) 362-2192

email address and website:

consulate(s) general: New York

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Steven C. BONDY (since 9 February 2022)

embassy: Building 979, Road 3119 (next to Al-Ahli Sports Club), Block 331, Zinj District, P.O. Box 26431, Manama

mailing address: 6210 Manama Place, Washington DC  20521-6210

telephone: [973] 17-242700

FAX: [973] 17-272594

email address and website:

Flag description

red, the traditional color for flags of Persian Gulf states, with a white serrated band (five white points) on the hoist side; the five points represent the five pillars of Islam

note: until 2002, the flag had eight white points, but this was reduced to five to avoid confusion with the Qatari flag

National symbol(s)

a red field surmounted by a white serrated band with five white points; national colors: red, white

National anthem

name: "Bahrainona" (Our Bahrain)

lyrics/music: unknown

note: adopted 1971; although Mohamed Sudqi AYYASH wrote the original lyrics, they were changed in 2002 following the transformation of Bahrain from an emirate to a kingdom

National heritage

total World Heritage Sites: 3 (all cultural)

selected World Heritage Site locales: Dilmun Burial Mounds; Qal'at al-Bahrain – Ancient Harbor and Capital of Dilmun; Bahrain Pearling Path


Economic overview

growing, economically diverse Middle Eastern island economy; major recovery and balancing efforts to fulfill Economic Vision 2030; regional finance hub; increasing openness; high youth unemployment; water scarcity amid reservoir depletion

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$76.342 billion (2022 est.)
$72.803 billion (2021 est.)
$70.91 billion (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 100

Real GDP growth rate

4.86% (2022 est.)
2.67% (2021 est.)
-4.64% (2020 est.)

note: annual GDP % growth based on constant local currency

comparison ranking: 82

Real GDP per capita

$51,900 (2022 est.)
$49,800 (2021 est.)
$48,000 (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 28

GDP (official exchange rate)

$44.383 billion (2022 est.)

note: data in current dollars at official exchange rate

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

3.63% (2022 est.)
-0.61% (2021 est.)
-2.32% (2020 est.)

note: annual % change based on consumer prices

comparison ranking: 51

Credit ratings

Fitch rating: B+ (2020)

Moody's rating: B2 (2018)

Standard & Poors rating: B+ (2017)

note: The year refers to the year in which the current credit rating was first obtained.

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 0.3% (2017 est.)

industry: 39.3% (2017 est.)

services: 60.4% (2017 est.)

comparison rankings: services 122; industry 33; agriculture 216

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 45.8% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 15.5% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 26.1% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 0.4% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 80.2% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -67.9% (2017 est.)

Agricultural products

lamb/mutton, dates, milk, chicken, tomatoes, fruits, sheep offal, eggs, sheepskins, cucumbers/gherkins (2022)

note: top ten agricultural products based on tonnage


petroleum processing and refining, aluminum smelting, iron pelletization, fertilizers, Islamic and offshore banking, insurance, ship repairing, tourism

Industrial production growth rate

1.21% (2022 est.)

note: annual % change in industrial value added based on constant local currency

comparison ranking: 144

Labor force

844,000 (2022 est.)

note: number of people ages 15 or older who are employed or seeking work

comparison ranking: 151

Unemployment rate

1.34% (2022 est.)
1.55% (2021 est.)
1.79% (2020 est.)

note: % of labor force seeking employment

comparison ranking: 12

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 9.9% (2021 est.)

male: 6.1%

female: 20.5%

comparison ranking: total 154

Average household expenditures

on food: 13.1% of household expenditures (2021 est.)

on alcohol and tobacco: 0.4% of household expenditures (2021 est.)


revenues: $9.168 billion (2019 est.)

expenditures: $12.63 billion (2019 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-10.1% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 212

Public debt

88.5% of GDP (2017 est.)
81.4% of GDP (2016 est.)

comparison ranking: 27

Taxes and other revenues

16.6% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 121

Current account balance

$6.839 billion (2022 est.)
$2.602 billion (2021 est.)
-$3.245 billion (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - net trade and primary/secondary income in current dollars

comparison ranking: 31


$44.58 billion (2022 est.)
$35.653 billion (2021 est.)
$25.68 billion (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - exports of goods and services in current dollars

comparison ranking: 71

Exports - partners

Saudi Arabia 15%, UAE 10%, US 9%, Japan 5%, India 4% (2022)

note: top five export partners based on percentage share of exports

Exports - commodities

aluminum, refined petroleum, iron ore, aluminum wire, iron blocks (2022)

note: top five export commodities based on value in dollars


$33.066 billion (2022 est.)
$27.996 billion (2021 est.)
$23.728 billion (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - imports of goods and services in current dollars

comparison ranking: 78

Imports - partners

China 15%, UAE 12%, Brazil 9%, Australia 8%, India 7% (2022)

note: top five import partners based on percentage share of imports

Imports - commodities

iron ore, aluminum oxide, cars, gold, ships (2022)

note: top five import commodities based on value in dollars

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$4.775 billion (2022 est.)
$4.993 billion (2021 est.)
$2.523 billion (2020 est.)

note: holdings of gold (year-end prices)/foreign exchange/special drawing rights in current dollars

comparison ranking: 103

Debt - external

$52.15 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$42.55 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

comparison ranking: 66

Exchange rates

Bahraini dinars (BHD) per US dollar -

Exchange rates:
0.376 (2022 est.)
0.376 (2021 est.)
0.376 (2020 est.)
0.376 (2019 est.)
0.376 (2018 est.)


Electricity access

electrification - total population: 100% (2021)


installed generating capacity: 6.982 million kW (2020 est.)

consumption: 31,038,250,000 kWh (2019 est.)

exports: 447 million kWh (2019 est.)

imports: 652 million kWh (2019 est.)

transmission/distribution losses: 611 million kWh (2019 est.)

comparison rankings: installed generating capacity 79; transmission/distribution losses 89; imports 80; exports 76; consumption 62

Electricity generation sources

fossil fuels: 100% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

nuclear: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

solar: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

wind: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

hydroelectricity: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

tide and wave: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

geothermal: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

biomass and waste: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)


production: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

consumption: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

exports: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

imports: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

proven reserves: 0 metric tons (2019 est.)


total petroleum production: 185,300 bbl/day (2021 est.)

refined petroleum consumption: 73,200 bbl/day (2019 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate exports: 0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate imports: 228,800 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil estimated reserves: 186.5 million barrels (2021 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production

274,500 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 45

Refined petroleum products - exports

245,300 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 30

Refined petroleum products - imports

14,530 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 136

Natural gas

production: 18,271,840,000 cubic meters (2019 est.)

consumption: 18,251,140,000 cubic meters (2019 est.)

exports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

imports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

proven reserves: 81.382 billion cubic meters (2021 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions

43.112 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from coal and metallurgical coke: 0 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from petroleum and other liquids: 7.308 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from consumed natural gas: 35.804 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total emissions 61

Energy consumption per capita

547.976 million Btu/person (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 3


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 253,000 (2022 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 17 (2022 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 116

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 2.141 million (2022 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 145 (2022 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 148

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: Bahrain continues to develop its telecoms sector in a bid to develop its long-term Economic Vision 2030 strategy; this is a multi-faceted strategy aimed at developing a digital transformation across numerous sectors, including e-government, e-health, e-commerce, and e-banking; 5G services have become widely available since they were launched in 2020; Bahrain’s telecom sector by the Fourth National Telecommunications Plan (initiated in 2016) which focuses on fiber optic infrastructure deployment and establishing affordable prices for high-speed access (2022)

domestic: approximately 18 per 100 fixed-line and 131 per 100 mobile-cellular; modern fiber-optic integrated services; digital network with rapidly expanding mobile-cellular telephones (2021)

international: country code - 973; Bahrain’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has made part of the C-band spectrum available for 5G private networks, in line with the goals outlined in its Workplan for the 2022-23 period (2023)

Broadcast media

state-run Bahrain Radio and Television Corporation (BRTC) operates 5 terrestrial TV networks and several radio stations; satellite TV systems provide access to international broadcasts; 1 private FM station directs broadcasts to Indian listeners; radio and TV broadcasts from countries in the region are available (2019)

Internet users

total: 1.5 million (2021 est.)

percent of population: 100% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total 144

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 148,928 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 9 (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 123


National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 6 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 42

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 5,877,003 (2018)

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 420.98 million (2018) mt-km


3 (2024)

comparison ranking: 190


8 (2024)


20 km gas, 54 km oil (2013)


total: 4,122 km

paved: 3,392 km

unpaved: 730 km (2010)

comparison ranking: total 155

Merchant marine

total: 184 (2023)

by type: general cargo 12, oil tanker 3, other 169

comparison ranking: total 71


total ports: 4 (2024)

large: 0

medium: 3

small: 1

very small: 0

ports with oil terminals: 1

key ports: Al Manamah, Khalifa Bin Salman, Mina Salman, Sitrah

Military and Security

Military and security forces

Bahrain Defense Force (BDF): Royal Bahraini Army (includes the Royal Guard), Royal Bahraini Navy, Royal Bahraini Air Force

Ministry of Interior: National Guard, Special Security Forces Command (SSFC), Coast Guard

note 1: the Royal Guard is officially under the command of the Army, but exercises considerable autonomy 

note 2: the Ministry of Interior is responsible for internal security and oversees police and specialized security units responsible for maintaining internal order; the National Guard's primary mission is to guard critical infrastructure such as the airport and oil fields and is a back-up to the police; the Guard is under the Ministry of Interior but reports directly to the king

Military expenditures

3.2% of GDP (2022 est.)
3.6% of GDP (2021 est.)
4.2% of GDP (2020 est.)
4% of GDP (2019 est.)
4% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 26

Military and security service personnel strengths

information varies; approximately 10,000 active personnel (7,500 Army; 1,000 Navy; 1,500 Air Force); approximately 3,000 National Guard (2023)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the military's inventory consists of a mix of equipment acquired from a wide variety of suppliers; in recent years, the US has been the leading supplier of arms to Bahrain (2023)

Military service age and obligation

18 years of age for voluntary military service; 15 years of age for non-commissioned officers, technicians, and cadets; no conscription (2022)

note: the BDF hires foreign nationals, Sunni Muslims primarily from Arabic countries and Pakistan, to serve under contract; as of 2020, foreigners were estimated to comprise as much as 80% of the military; the policy has become a controversial issue with the primarily Shia population; during the 2011, the BDF reportedly deployed mostly foreign personnel against protesters

Military - note

the BDF is a small, but well-equipped military focused on territorial defense and support to internal security; its primary concern is Iran, both the conventional military threat and its support to regional terrorist groups; the BDF participates in multinational exercises and has conducted small deployments outside of the country; in 2015, for example, Bahrain joined the Saudi Arabia-led military intervention in Yemen, supplying a few hundred troops and combat aircraft; the Army’s primary combat units are an armored brigade and a mechanized brigade, plus battalions of royal guards and special forces; in a conflict, the Army would be supported by the paramilitary National Guard; the Navy’s principal warships are a US-provided secondhand frigate, two corvettes acquired from Germany, and a secondhand British offshore patrol vessel; the Air Force has small numbers of US-made combat aircraft and attack helicopters

Bahrain’s closest security partners are the US and Saudi Arabia; it hosts the US Naval Forces Central Command (USNAVCENT; established 1983), which includes the US 5th Fleet, several subordinate naval task forces, and the Combined Maritime Forces (established 2002), a coalition of more than 30 nations providing maritime security for regional shipping lanes; in 2003, the US granted Bahrain Major Non-NATO Ally status, a designation under US law that provides foreign partners with certain benefits in the areas of defense trade and security cooperation; Bahraini leaders have said that the security of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia are “indivisible”; Saudi Arabia sent forces to Bahrain to assist with internal security following the 2011 uprising; Bahrain also has close security ties to other Gulf Cooperation Council  countries, particularly Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, as well as the UK (2023)


Space agency/agencies

Bahrain National Space Science Agency (NSSA; established 2014) (2024)

Space program overview

space program in nascent stages and is focused on developing the capabilities to build and operate satellites; the NSSA’s mission includes promoting space science, technology, and research, building capacity in the fields of satellite manufacturing, tracking, control, data processing and analysis, and remote sensing, developing space-related programs and space policy, and facilitating international cooperation; cooperates with a variety of foreign agencies and commercial entities, including those of India, Italy, Japan, Saudi Arabia, the UK, the UAE, and the US; also a member of the Arab Space Coordination Group, established by the UAE in 2019 (2024)

note: further details about the key activities, programs, and milestones of the country’s space program, as well as government spending estimates on the space sector, appear in Appendix S


Terrorist group(s)

Terrorist group(s): al-Ashtar Brigades; Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps/Qods Force

note 1: details about the history, aims, leadership, organization, areas of operation, tactics, targets, weapons, size, and sources of support of the group(s) appear(s) in Appendix-T

note 2: in addition to the al-Ashtar Brigades and the IRGC/Qods Force, Saraya al-Mukhtar (aka The Mukhtar Brigade) is an Iran-backed terrorist organization based in Bahrain, reportedly receiving financial and logistic support from the IRGC; Saraya al-Mukhtar's self-described goal is to depose the Bahraini Government with the intention of paving the way for Iran to exert greater influence in Bahrain; the group was designated by the US as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist in Dec 2020