In 1992 an estimated 550,000 people lived in Bahrain.
number included 363,000 Bahraini citizens and 187,000
nationals. Citizens accounted for 66 percent of the total
population, a decline from the 70 percent they represented
1981 census and the 82.5 percent they represented in 1971.
unofficial estimate indicated that the population had
by 57 percent, or at an average annual growth rate of 5.2
percent, since 1981. In 1992 the growth rate was 3.1
non-Bahraini community, which grew from 112,000 in 1981 to
187,000 in 1992, increased by 67 percent, while the number
citizens increased by 52.5 percent in the same eleven-year
In 1992 an estimated 58 percent of the population was
and only 42 percent female. The gender disparity resulted
the exceptionally high number of men among Bahrain's
residents: 76 percent of foreign residents were male. The
maleto -female ratio was more balanced among Bahraini citizens:
50.3 percent were male and 49.7 percent female. The age
distribution also was skewed: about 80 percent of the
population was more than fourteen years of age, but less
percent of citizens were more than fourteen. For the total
population, 33.4 percent were in the age-group of zero to
fourteen; 62.8 percent were in the age-group of fifteen to
fiftynine ; and a mere 3.8 percent were in the age-group of
and older. Life expectancy for Bahraini children born in
seventy years for males and seventy-five years for
The population of Bahrain is overwhelmingly urban.
percent of the people live in cities or suburbs. Most
men who reside in villages commute to jobs in urban areas.
largest city, Manama, is the principal commercial and
center. It had an estimated population of 152,000 in 1992.
Manama's expansion since 1960, when its population was
62,000, resulted in entire villages, fields, and palm and
groves--located to the east, north, and south of the
incorporated as part of the urban sprawl. Manama also
the west through the reclamation of hundreds of hectares
sea. Traditional brick houses, built with central
wind towers in the architectural style of southern Iran,
covered bazaars are found in the old sections of the city.
newer and less congested neighborhoods, multistory
complexes, high-rise hotels and office buildings, and
supermarkets predominate. Because most of Bahrain's
workers tend to live in the city, their presence provides
with a cosmopolitan atmosphere.
The city of Al Muharraq, which had an estimated
75,000 in 1992, is the country's only other major city.
1930s, the ruler lived in Al Muharraq; thus, for more than
century, the city served as Bahrain's political center,
commercial importance rivaled that of Manama. Al Muharraq
declined after the Al Khalifa family moved to the island
Bahrain, and for nearly forty years the city stagnated.
the 1970s, however, the construction of the US$60 million
Shipbuilding and Repair Yard adjacent to the fishing
Al Hadd, located southeast of Bahrain International
helped to stimulate an investment and development boom in
Bahrain's main towns are Jidd Hafs, Ar Rifaa, Sitrah,
Madinat Isa. Throughout the nineteenth century and during
first half of the twentieth, Jidd Hafs was a relatively
prosperous village renowned for its extensive date palm
and the manufacture of medicinal drugs from the buds,
and pollen of palm trees. By 1975, however, Jidd Hafs had
transformed into Manama's largest suburb. Ar Rifaa, which
originally consisted of two adjacent villages--Ar Rifaa
Sharqi and Ar Rifaa al Gharbi, established in the
century near natural springs in the central region of
grew rapidly after 1952 when Shaykh Salman ibn Hamad
his official residence there. Ar Rifaa's importance as the
country's political center has continued under Shaykh Isa
Salman, who constructed his palace in the town, as did
other members of the Al Khalifa. The town of Sitrah
consisted of several palm-cultivating villages, but
residential construction during the 1970s fused the
one large suburban town. Madinat Isa was a planned
built to relieve the congestion in Manama and such close
as Jidd Hafs and Sanabis.
Data as of January 1993