The tiny archipelagic principality of Bahrain in the Gulf contains less than 270 sq miles (695 sq km) of territory and has a population of a little over 650,000, a third of which consists of foreigners working in the oil industry, and in commerce and business enterprises.
Most densely populated among the Gulf States, ninety percent of its population lives in the four major cities.
Manamah (population: 152,000) is the capital. Only three percent of the land is arable, and agriculture occupies a position of minimal importance; only 2 percent of the labor force is engaged in it and accounts for less than 2 percent of the country’s gross domestic product. Petroleum dominates the economy, and is the major export.
Almost all the food grain requirements are imported as well as most of the manufactured and consumer items. But manufacturing, in addition to petroleum extraction and refining, is growing in importance as the administration tries to diversify economic activities in face of dwindling petroleum reserves. Nearly 12 percent of the labor force is engaged in manufacturing; the remaining workers are employed in construction, transport, trade, public utilities and service sectors.
Exports consisting almost entirely of petroleum and natural gas products are directed toward Saudi Arabia, the U.S., the United Arab Emirates, Japan, South Korea, India, Canada, and Singapore. Imports include machinery, food items, chemicals, and petroleum products. The U.S., U.K., Japan, Germany, and Saudi Arabia are the major sources of the imports.