Located in the Middle East in the Persian Gulf archipelago, Bahrain is a country consisting of more than 30 islands. Despite its rather small area, the country is densely populated, reporting almost 1.5 million inhabitants in 2018. Between 2012 and 2014, population growth experienced a slump (525477), but has since managed to recover. Children account for about one-fifth of the country’s population, but compared to other Middle Eastern countries, Bahrain’s fertility rate is rather low. As a result of an equally low death rate, Bahrain has one of the highest life expectancies in the region. All these indicators point to Bahrain offering a high standard of living and healthcare to its inhabitants, a typical feature of a quite wealthy country.
From the early 19th century Bahrain was placed under a British protectorate and it remained under Britain’s protection until 1971. It is part of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, and is part of the 12 world’s major oil exporting countries. Bahrain has one of the highest urbanization rates among other MENA countries, with almost 90 percent of the population living in urban areas. About half of the country’s population consists of economic migrants, Bahrain being a top destination especially for those living in Asia. Just in 2016, there were about 118,000 Asian people who came to work in Bahrain, with most of them getting jobs as domestic workers.
The country’s economy is mainly centered around the production of crude oil and natural gas, making Bahrain highly dependent on the world oil’s market. The majority, about three fifths, to be precise, of the laborforce is employed in the services sector. Bahrain boasts a 38 billion U.S. dollars gross domestic product , which is expected to grow at a stable pace during the upcoming years. The current inflation rate stands at 1.39 percent, but is expected to rise in the immediate aftermath of the introduction of value added taxation (VAT) at the beginning at 2019. Despite a quite accelerated economic growth, the economy will continue to accumulate a high public debt, Bahrain needing to implement a package of reforms aimed at reducing its fiscal deficit. For the last decade, Bahrain has been exporting more than it imported, earning it a significant trade surplus. The most popular exports are refined petroleum products and aluminum, with the UAE being the primary trading partner.
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