The small island country of Bahrain sits off the western shores of the Persian Gulf. The Zagros mountain range in Iraq causes low-level winds to fall across Bahrain, which has a balmy atmosphere due to its island location. The Bahrain archipelago boasts an approximate 330 different species of birds. Broad biodiversity exists in Bahrain; gazelles, hedgehogs, sea cows and even coral reefs thrive in this area.
The most recent official census population was 1.23 million in 2010. Bahrain is very densely populated with 1,627 people per square kilometer (4,213/square mile), which ranks 7th in the world. Bahrain is the 4th most densely populated sovereign state on earth. The only sovereign states that have a greater density are city-states. The northern region of Bahrain is so densely populated and urbanized that it is often considered a single massive metro area.
The largest city in Bahrain, and also its capital, is Manama. Manama has a population of about 157,000 people and a metro population of 330,000. It is an important center of trade and business within the Persian Gulf. 89% of the population is currently urbanized, and the annual urbanization rate sits at 1.8% consistently.
At the 2010 census, Bahrain's 1.2 million population was made up of 568,000 Bahrainis and 666,000 non-nationals. Most of the population is Middle Eastern, although there are many people from South Asia. The largest expatriate community in Bahrain is Indians, numbering about 290,000.
Shia Bahrainis are the majority of the population with two main ethnic groups: Ajam and Baharna. The majority of Shia Bahrainis in the country are Baharna, while the Ajam are ethnic Persian Shias, who have large communities in Muharraq and the capital, Manama.
Sunni Bahrainis are mostly urban Arabs (or al Arab) or Huwala. Urban Arabs in the country are mostly descended from Sunni Arabs from Arabia. They account for the most influential ethnic group in the country with the most positions in the government. The Huwala are descended from Sunni Iranians, Sunni Persians and Sunni Arabs.
Arabic remains the predominant language in Bahrain; Persian and Urdu are also spoken, which are the national languages of Iran and Pakistan, respectively. Religious affiliation in Bahrain is currently 70% Islamic mostly Shia Muslim, with a remaining 30% of varying faiths. Native Christianity exists in Bahrain, mainly through the Greek Orthodox Church. While Bahrain is unwilling to accept Syrian refugees at this time, Sri Lanka and Pilipino immigrants have migrated to Bahrain in a consistent manner. Arabian/ Muslim ethnicity remains the primary make-up of the population.