Petroleum production and processing are the main exports of Bahrain. The economic conditions of the country have depended on the price of oil. Bahrain's infrastructure is highly developed. Many multinational firms have their head offices in the country. The country also exports petroleum products. The construction industry is also a major source of revenue for the government. Bahrain has a GDP per capita of $20,500 according to research conducted in 2005. It has a purchasing parity of $14.08 billion. Bahrain is a prosperous country by regional standards. It has pursued a neutral foreign policy and is famous for its tolerance. It is the fastest growing economy in the Arab world. It has a large population of international expatriates.
Despite an impressive standard of living, Bahrain suffers from poverty and poor living conditions. At least 20,000 families receive financial assistance from Ministry of Labor and private organizations. Recent studies have found that the poverty income threshold is Bahraini Dinar 209 per month. The poverty level for Bahrain is at least a quarter of the total population. At least 200,000 people suffer from poor living conditions. Many people do not have decent housing. More than 30,000 families with low incomes have inadequate housing facilities. The average income has been increasing but the poverty rate has also increased.
The rise in poverty has been attributed to corruption, poor planning, low wages, influx of foreign workers and income inequalities. Further a small group of wealthy and powerful people dominate the economy. These are considered as major obstacles to real reforms. Large areas of land have been taken over by powerful people. This has caused property prices to increase and put tremendous pressure on low income people. Poverty is clearly causing an adverse impact on society. Crime, divorce rate and increase in workers working in poor conditions are direct results of poverty (Moore, 45).
Compared with other regional countries, Bahrain has a low poverty rate. However most of the wealth is concentrated in the hands of the Sunni minority. The average daily expenditure is US$13.9 per person in Bahrain. This is compared with an average income of 12.8 dollars. The reason is that Bahrain has a negative savings level at the national level. Bahrain's population does not suffer from poverty compared with regional countries.
Research has shown that 12 percent of the population has an average income of less than five dollars per person. The expenditure required by a Bahraini to sustain basic expenses is an estimated US$42 per month. Majority of Bahrain's population lives in apartments while the remaining owns their houses. The average Bahraini also has ownership of electronic appliances and amenities which show that the majority of families enjoy an impressive standard of living (National Accountant, 34).
Economic growth rate
Bahrain's economic growth rate has increased in 2007. It has been bolstered by high oil prices and increase in non oil exports. The financial sector remains the main part of the economy. The government is also addressing issues like unemployment and rising crime.
The economy has registered a 7.0% growth in 2007. The growth rate is expected to