page last updated on October 28, 2009
Flag of Bahamas, The
Location of Bahamas, The
 
Map of Bahamas, The
Introduction ::Bahamas, The
Lucayan Indians inhabited the islands when Christopher COLUMBUS first set foot in the New World on San Salvador in 1492. British settlement of the islands began in 1647; the islands became a colony in 1783. Since attaining independence from the UK in 1973, The Bahamas have prospered through tourism and international banking and investment management. Because of its geography, the country is a major transshipment point for illegal drugs, particularly shipments to the US and Europe, and its territory is used for smuggling illegal migrants into the US.
Geography ::Bahamas, The
Caribbean, chain of islands in the North Atlantic Ocean, southeast of Florida, northeast of Cuba
24 15 N, 76 00 W
total: 13,880 sq km
country comparison to the world: 160
land: 10,010 sq km
water: 3,870 sq km
slightly smaller than Connecticut
0 km
3,542 km
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
tropical marine; moderated by warm waters of Gulf Stream
long, flat coral formations with some low rounded hills
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Alvernia, on Cat Island 63 m
salt, aragonite, timber, arable land
arable land: 0.58%
permanent crops: 0.29%
other: 99.13% (2005)
10 sq km (2003)
NA
hurricanes and other tropical storms cause extensive flood and wind damage
coral reef decay; solid waste disposal
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
strategic location adjacent to US and Cuba; extensive island chain of which 30 are inhabited
People ::Bahamas, The
309,156
country comparison to the world: 176
note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2009 est.)
0-14 years: 25.9% (male 40,085/female 39,959)
15-64 years: 67.2% (male 102,154/female 105,482)
65 years and over: 6.9% (male 8,772/female 12,704) (2009 est.)
total: 28.7 years
male: 27.9 years
female: 29.5 years (2009 est.)
0.536% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 152
16.81 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 125
9.32 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 77
-2.13 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 139
urban population: 84% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 1.4% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
at birth: 1.02 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.69 male(s)/female
total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
total: 23.17 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 93
male: 28.21 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 18.04 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)
total population: 65.78 years
country comparison to the world: 164
male: 62.63 years
female: 68.98 years (2009 est.)
2.1 children born/woman (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 121
3% (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 24
6,200 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 118
fewer than 200 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 126
noun: Bahamian(s)
adjective: Bahamian
black 85%, white 12%, Asian and Hispanic 3%
Baptist 35.4%, Anglican 15.1%, Roman Catholic 13.5%, Pentecostal 8.1%, Church of God 4.8%, Methodist 4.2%, other Christian 15.2%, none or unspecified 2.9%, other 0.8% (2000 census)
English (official), Creole (among Haitian immigrants)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 95.6%
male: 94.7%
female: 96.5% (2003 est.)
3.6% of GDP (2000)
country comparison to the world: 125
Government ::Bahamas, The
conventional long form: Commonwealth of The Bahamas
conventional short form: The Bahamas
constitutional parliamentary democracy and a Commonwealth realm
name: Nassau
geographic coordinates: 25 05 N, 77 21 W
time difference: UTC-5 (same time as Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins second Sunday in March; ends first Sunday in November
21 districts; Acklins and Crooked Islands, Bimini, Cat Island, Exuma, Freeport, Fresh Creek, Governor's Harbour, Green Turtle Cay, Harbour Island, High Rock, Inagua, Kemps Bay, Long Island, Marsh Harbour, Mayaguana, New Providence, Nichollstown and Berry Islands, Ragged Island, Rock Sound, Sandy Point, San Salvador, and Rum Cay
10 July 1973 (from the UK)
Independence Day, 10 July (1973)
10 July 1973
based on English common law
18 years of age; universal
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Arthur D. HANNA (since 1 February 2006)
head of government: Prime Minister Hubert A. INGRAHAM (since 4 May 2007)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the governor general on the prime minister's recommendation
elections: the monarch is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition is usually appointed prime minister by the governor general; the prime minister recommends the deputy prime minister
bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate (16 seats; members appointed by the governor general upon the advice of the prime minister and the opposition leader to serve five-year terms) and the House of Assembly (41 seats; members elected by direct popular vote to serve five-year terms); the government may dissolve the parliament and call elections at any time
elections: last held 2 May 2007 (next to be held by May 2012)
election results: percent of vote by party - FNM 49.86%, PLP 47.02%; seats by party - FNM 23, PLP 18
Privy Council in London; Courts of Appeal; Supreme (lower) Court; Magistrates' Courts
Free National Movement or FNM [Hubert INGRAHAM]; Progressive Liberal Party or PLP [Perry CHRISTIE]
Friends of the Environment
other: trade unions
ACP, C, Caricom, CDB, FAO, G-77, IADB, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt (signatory), ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ITSO, ITU, LAES, MIGA, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW (signatory), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)
chief of mission: Ambassador Cornelius A. SMITH
chancery: 2220 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 319-2660
FAX: [1] (202) 319-2668
consulate(s) general: Miami, New York
chief of mission: Ambassador Ned L. SIEGEL
embassy: 42 Queen Street, Nassau, New Providence
mailing address: local or express mail address: P. O. Box N-8197, Nassau; US Department of State, 3370 Nassau Place, Washington, DC 20521-3370
telephone: [1] (242) 322-1181, 328-2206 (after hours)
FAX: [1] (242) 328-2206
three equal horizontal bands of aquamarine (top), gold, and aquamarine, with a black equilateral triangle based on the hoist side; the band colors represent the golden beaches of the islands surrounded by the aquamarine sea; black represents the vigor and force of a united people, while the pointing triangle indicates the enterprise and determination of the Bahamian people to develop the rich resources of land and sea
Economy ::Bahamas, The
The Bahamas is one of the wealthiest Caribbean countries with an economy heavily dependent on tourism and offshore banking. Tourism together with tourism-driven construction and manufacturing accounts for approximately 60% of GDP and directly or indirectly employs half of the archipelago's labor force. Steady growth in tourism receipts and a boom in construction of new hotels, resorts, and residences had led to solid GDP growth in recent years, but tourist arrivals have been on the decline since 2006 and will likely drop even further in 2009. Tourism, in turn, depends on growth in the US, the source of more than 80% of the visitors. To help offset the effect of the global economic downturn, particularly on employment, the INGRAHAM administration plans to engage in infrastructure projects. Financial services constitute the second-most important sector of the Bahamian economy and, when combined with business services, account for about 36% of GDP. However, since December 2000, when the government enacted new regulations on the financial sector, many international businesses have left The Bahamas. Manufacturing and agriculture combined contribute approximately a tenth of GDP and show little growth, despite government incentives aimed at those sectors. Overall growth prospects in the short run rest heavily on the fortunes of the tourism sector.
$9.093 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 152
$9.231 billion (2007 est.)
$8.98 billion (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
$7.463 billion (2008 est.)
-1.5% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 212
2.8% (2007 est.)
4.6% (2006 est.)
$29,600 (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 46
$30,200 (2007 est.)
$29,600 (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
agriculture: 3%
industry: 7%
services: 90% (2001 est.)
175,500 (2007)
country comparison to the world: 168
agriculture 5%, industry 5%, tourism 50%, other services 40% (2005 est.)
7.6% (2006 est.)
country comparison to the world: 99
9.3% (2004)
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: 27% (2000)
revenues: $1.03 billion
expenditures: $1.03 billion (FY04/05)
2.4% (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 22
5.25% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 81
5.25% (31 December 2007)
NA% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 138
5.5% (31 December 2007)
$1.255 billion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 111
$1.274 billion (31 December 2007)
$4.637 billion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 86
$4.324 billion (31 December 2007)
$7.883 billion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 91
$7.395 billion (31 December 2007)
$NA
citrus, vegetables; poultry
tourism, banking, cement, oil transshipment, salt, rum, aragonite, pharmaceuticals, spiral-welded steel pipe
NA%
2.045 billion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 134
1.902 billion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 135
0 kWh (2008 est.)
0 kWh (2008 est.)
0 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 205
34,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 109
transshipments of 41,570 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 81
72,420 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 78
0 bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 205
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 205
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 113
0 cu m (2008)
country comparison to the world: 53
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 79
0 cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
country comparison to the world: 203
$-1.442 billion (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 132
$674 million (2006)
country comparison to the world: 159
mineral products and salt, animal products, rum, chemicals, fruit and vegetables
US 20.8%, Singapore 18.2%, Poland 17.5%, Germany 7.3%, Japan 7.2%, Guatemala 5.5%, Switzerland 4.7% (2008)
$2.401 billion (2006)
country comparison to the world: 145
machinery and transport equipment, manufactures, chemicals, mineral fuels; food and live animals
US 27.1%, Japan 17.8%, South Korea 14.7%, Singapore 7.9%, Venezuela 5.4% (2008)
$342.6 million (2004 est.)
country comparison to the world: 171
Bahamian dollars (BSD) per US dollar - 1 (2008 est.), 1 (2007), 1 (2006), 1 (2005), 1 (2004)
Communications ::Bahamas, The
133,000 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 138
358,000 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 164
general assessment: modern facilities
domestic: totally automatic system; highly developed; the Bahamas Domestic Submarine Network links 14 of the islands and is designed to satisfy increasing demand for voice and broadband internet services
international: country code - 1-242; landing point for the Americas Region Caribbean Ring System (ARCOS-1) fiber-optic submarine cable that provides links to South and Central America, parts of the Caribbean, and the US; satellite earth stations - 2 (2007)
AM 3, FM 5, shortwave 0 (2006)
2 (2006)
.bs
8,325 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 122
106,500 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 151
Transportation ::Bahamas, The
62 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 79
total: 23
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 4
1,524 to 2,437 m: 11
914 to 1,523 m: 6 (2009)
total: 39
1,524 to 2,437 m: 5
914 to 1,523 m: 12
under 914 m: 22 (2009)
1 (2009)
total: 2,717 km
country comparison to the world: 168
paved: 1,560 km
unpaved: 1,157 km (2002)
total: 1,223
country comparison to the world: 6
by type: barge carrier 1, bulk carrier 210, cargo 226, carrier 2, chemical tanker 88, combination ore/oil 12, container 65, liquefied gas 77, passenger 109, passenger/cargo 35, petroleum tanker 209, refrigerated cargo 119, roll on/roll off 16, specialized tanker 3, vehicle carrier 51
foreign-owned: 1,150 (Angola 6, Belgium 15, Bermuda 12, Brazil 2, Canada 84, China 10, Croatia 1, Cuba 1, Cyprus 25, Denmark 67, Finland 9, France 30, Germany 44, Greece 209, Hong Kong 30, Iceland 1, Indonesia 2, Ireland 2, Isle of Man 1, Italy 4, Japan 87, Jordan 2, Kenya 1, Malaysia 13, Monaco 15, Montenegro 2, Netherlands 9, Nigeria 2, Norway 189, Poland 17, Russia 4, Saudi Arabia 16, Singapore 17, Slovenia 1, South Africa 1, Spain 14, Sweden 4, Switzerland 1, Thailand 5, Trinidad and Tobago 1, Turkey 8, UAE 23, UK 56, US 106, Venezuela 1)
registered in other countries: 12 (Bolivia 1, Panama 9, Peru 1, Portugal 1) (2008)
Freeport, Nassau, South Riding Point
Military ::Bahamas, The
Royal Bahamian Defense Force: Land Force, Navy, Air Wing (2009)
18 years of age (est.); no conscription (2008)
males age 16-49: 80,200 (2008 est.)
males age 16-49: 50,764
females age 16-49: 51,690 (2009 est.)
male: 2,992
female: 3,003 (2009 est.)
0.5% of GDP (2006)
country comparison to the world: 160
Transnational Issues ::Bahamas, The
disagrees with the US on the alignment the northern axis of a potential maritime boundary; continues to monitor and interdict drug dealers and Haitian and Cuban refugees in Bahamian waters
transshipment point for cocaine and marijuana bound for US and Europe; offshore financial center