Labor migration in Bahrain and in the GCC is initially a consequence of development, the major construction projects that many GCC countries embark on naturally attract large numbers of migrant workers in order to fill the demand required to complete these projects.
Some interesting things to note about Bahrain’s population is that according to the Middle East Research and Information Project, when the first census was done the percentage of foreigners had jumped to 18 percent of the population. The 1959 census provided data on employment, and at the time foreigners represented about 17 percent of the population, and compared to the labor force, about one third of it.
As with many of the GCC countries, the number of expats outnumbers the local population. The population of Bahrain is around 1,317,602 and the locals make up around 48 percent of it. And like their GCC neighbors they are also dependent on them for workforce needs, with expats reported to account for 77 percent of Bahrain’s workforce.
The breakdown by nationality
Similarly to Qatar, UAE, and Kuwait data on the population of Bahrain consists of dividing it between expats and non-expats. And that any data published on demographics is not broken down by nationality. As with our previous population articles, these figures are estimates and were provided by the respective embassies in the list. However we would like to point out that not all the nationalities are there.
With the information not forthcoming, we have opted to replicate our models which we have used for Qatar and UAE in the past. Namely we started compiling data on the population by nationality from other available sources such as:
- Estimates provided to us by Embassies of foreign countries.
- Quotes by ambassadors previously made in other media.
- Quotes by Bahrani officials previously made in other media.
- Government of Bahrain´s official statistics reports either previously published in other media or acquired by us directly from the relevant websites.
In this fashion, we have been able to compile a list of 41 nationalities for which we were able to acquire information. It is important to note that this does not mean other nationalities are not present in Bahrain, it simply means that we did not list them due to one of the following reasons:
- Available data was more than 3 years old.
- The Embassy was not willing to share that information with us.
- The Embassy did not posses an exact number or an estimate on the population of their nationals.
- We were unable to reach the Embassy after numerous attempts.
- The publicly available data was not attributed to a legitimate source of information.
|Nationals||Popualtion||% of population||Year of data|
|Sri Lanka||20,000||1.43 %||2015|
|Saudi Arabia||5,000||0.35 %||2015|
|New Zealand||2,500||0.17 %||2015|
|China||1,000||< 0.1 %||2015|
|Ukraine||400||< 0.1 %||2015|
|Malaysia||400||< 0.1 %||2015|
|Poland||350||< 0.1 %||2015|
|Libya||300-350||< 0.1 %||2015|
|Italy||350||< 0.1 %||2013|
|Russia||300||< 0.1 %||2015|
|Germany||300||< 0.1 %||2015|
|Japan||260||< 0.1 %||2015|
|South Korea||220||< 0.1 %||2013|
|Cyprus||200||< 0.1 %||2015|
|Ireland||157||< 0.1 %||2015|
|Denmark||150||< 0.1 %||2015|
|Switzerland||122||< 0.1 %||2015|
|Venezuela||100||< 0.1 %||2015|
|Uganda||100||< 0.1 %||2015|
|Cameroon||50-100||< 0.1 %||2015|
|Sweden||83||< 0.1 %||2015|
|Kazakhstan||20||< 0.1 %||2015|
|Mongolia||4||< 0.1 %||2015|
Some nationalities do not appear on the list however, due to reasons explained above in the section on data collection. We asses nationals of the following countries might or should be present in Bahrain in bigger numbers and hopefully the data will become available in the future: Somalia, Ehtiopia, Syria, Yemen.
As mentioned before, we haven’t been able to procure the data for the following Arab nationalities: Syria, UAE, Yemen, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait.
Some interesting things to note are that while there are around 2000 Palestinians in Bahrain, the contact that bq spoke with in the embassy did point out that there are around 5000 Palestinians who have acquired other passports. Another important thing to note is that while the number citizens of the Philippines are 50-60 thousand, our contact told us that this would only be for skilled labor and their dependent, and that they are trying to consolidate all the numbers they have from different government bodies in order to get a more accurate figure. Unfortunately that data is still not available and will require some time before it is fully ready. The same goes for the US figures, the numbers in the table refer only to the military personnel and their families.
- Countries for which bq magazine acquired the data for directly from Embassies, either by email or phone: Kazakhstan, Sweden, Uganda, Venezuela, Switzerland, Denmark, Mongolia, Ireland, Cyprus, Japan, Germany, Russia, Malaysia, Ukraine, Lebanon, Turkey,New Zealand, Iraq, Sudan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Poland, Palestine, Libya, Iran, Jordan, cameroon, Mongolia.
- Countries for which bq magazine found data online, either from ambassadorial or Bahrani Government official quotes: South Korea, Italy, China, Tunisia, Thailand, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, USA, UK, Indonesia, India, Bahrain.
– Bahrani Population : http://www.data.gov.bh/en/ResourceCenter