World Factbook

Bahamas, The

Introduction

Central America and Caribbean :: Bahamas, The

Background:
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 has prospered through tourism, 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

Location:
chain of islands in the North Atlantic Ocean, southeast of Florida, northeast of Cuba

Geographic coordinates:
24 15 N, 76 00 W

Map references:
Central America and the Caribbean

Area:
Total: 13,880 sq km
Country comparison to the world: 161
Land: 10,010 sq km
Water: 3,870 sq km

Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than Connecticut

Land boundaries:
0 km

Coastline:
3,542 km

Maritime claims:
Territorial sea: 12 nm
Exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

Climate:
tropical marine; moderated by warm waters of Gulf Stream

Terrain:
long, flat coral formations with some low rounded hills

Elevation extremes:
Lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
Highest point: Mount Alvernia on Cat Island 63 m

Natural resources:
salt, aragonite, timber, arable land

Land use:
Arable land: 0.65%
Permanent crops: 0.29%
Other: 99.06% (2011)

Irrigated land:
10 sq km (2003)

Total renewable water resources:
0.02 cu km (2011)

Natural hazards:
hurricanes and other tropical storms cause extensive flood and wind damage

Environment - current issues:
coral reef decay; solid waste disposal

Environment - international agreements:
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

Geography - note:
strategic location adjacent to US and Cuba; extensive island chain of which 30 are inhabited

People and Society

Nationality:
Noun: Bahamian(s)
Adjective: Bahamian

Ethnic groups:
black 85%, white 12%, Asian and Hispanic 3%

Languages:
English (official), Creole (among Haitian immigrants)

Religions:
Protestant 67.6% (Baptist 35.4%, Anglican 15.1%, Pentecostal 8.1%, Church of God 4.8%, Methodist 4.2%), Roman Catholic 13.5%, other Christian 15.2%, none or unspecified 2.9%, other 0.8% (2000 census)

Population:
319,031 (July 2013 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 178
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

Age structure:
0-14 years: 23.6% (male 38,174/female 37,066)
15-24 years: 17.5% (male 28,306/female 27,562)
25-54 years: 44.1% (male 70,093/female 70,608)
55-64 years: 8.1% (male 11,371/female 14,355)
65 years and over: 6.7% (male 8,233/female 13,263) (2013 est.)

Dependency ratios:
Total dependency ratio: 40.9 %
Youth dependency ratio: 30 %
Elderly dependency ratio: 10.8 %
Potential support ratio: 9.2 (2013)

Median age:
Total: 30.8 years
Male: 29.7 years
Female: 32 years (2013 est.)

Population growth rate:
0.89% (2013 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 127

Birth rate:
15.81 births/1,000 population (2013 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 126

Death rate:
6.96 deaths/1,000 population (2013 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 134

Net migration rate:
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2013 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 77

Urbanization:
Urban population: 84% of total population (2010)
Rate of urbanization: 1.3% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population:
NASSAU (capital) 254,000 (2011)

Sex ratio:
At birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.79 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.62 male(s)/female
Total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2013 est.)

Maternal mortality rate:
47 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)
Country comparison to the world: 112

Infant mortality rate:
Total: 12.89 deaths/1,000 live births
Country comparison to the world: 126
Male: 12.9 deaths/1,000 live births
Female: 12.88 deaths/1,000 live births (2013 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
Total population: 71.69 years
Country comparison to the world: 141
Male: 69.25 years
Female: 74.19 years (2013 est.)

Total fertility rate:
1.97 children born/woman (2013 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 132

Health expenditures:
7.9% of GDP (2010)
Country comparison to the world: 63

Physicians density:
1.05 physicians/1,000 population (1998)

Hospital bed density:
3.1 beds/1,000 population (2009)

Drinking water source:
Improved:
urban: 98% of population
rural: 86% of population
total: 96% of population
Unimproved:
urban: 2% of population
rural: 14% of population
total: 4% of population (2000 est.)

Sanitation facility access:
Improved:
urban: 100% of population
rural: 100% of population
total: 100% of population (2010 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
3.1% (2009 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 24

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
6,600 (2009 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 114

HIV/AIDS - deaths:
fewer than 500 (2009 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 93

Obesity - adult prevalence rate:
34.7% (2008)
Country comparison to the world: 13

Education expenditures:
NA

Literacy:
Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 95.6%
Male: 94.7%
Female: 96.5% (2003 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
Total: 12 years
Male: 12 years
Female: 12 years (2006)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24:
Total: 18.9%
Country comparison to the world: 63
Male: 16.7%
Female: 21.7% (2007)

Government

Country name:
Conventional long form: Commonwealth of The Bahamas
Conventional short form: The Bahamas

Government type:
constitutional parliamentary democracy and a Commonwealth realm

Capital:
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

Administrative divisions:
31 districts; Acklins Islands, Berry Islands, Bimini, Black Point, Cat Island, Central Abaco, Central Andros, Central Eleuthera, City of Freeport, Crooked Island and Long Cay, East Grand Bahama, Exuma, Grand Cay, Harbour Island, Hope Town, Inagua, Long Island, Mangrove Cay, Mayaguana, Moore's Island, North Abaco, North Andros, North Eleuthera, Ragged Island, Rum Cay, San Salvador, South Abaco, South Andros, South Eleuthera, Spanish Wells, West Grand Bahama

Independence:
10 July 1973 (from the UK)

National holiday:
Independence Day, 10 July (1973)

Constitution:
10 July 1973

Legal system:
common law system based on the English model

International law organization participation:
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt

Suffrage:
18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
Chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Sir Arthur A. FOULKES (since 14 April 2010)
Head of government: Prime Minister Perry CHRISTIE (since 8 May 2012)
Cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the governor general on the prime minister's recommendation
Elections: the monarchy 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

Legislative branch:
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 (38 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 on 7 May 2012 (next to be held by May 2017)
Election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PLP 30, FNM 8

Judicial branch:
Highest court(s): The Bahamas Court of Appeal (consists of the court president and 4 justices, sitting in panels of 3 justices)
note - as of 2008, the Bahamas was not a party to the agreement establishing the Caribbean Court of Justice as the highest appellate court for the 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM); the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (in London) serves as the final court of appeal for the Bahamas
Judge selection and term of office: Court of Appeal justices appointed by the governor-general on the advice of the prime minister and in consultation with the Judicial and Legal Services Commission; justices appointed for life with mandatory retirement at age 68-70
Subordinate courts: Supreme Court; Industrial Tribunal; Stipendiary and Magistrates Courts; Family Island Administrators

Political parties and leaders:
Free National Movement or FNM [Hubert MINNIS]
Progressive Liberal Party or PLP [Perry CHRISTIE]

Political pressure groups and leaders:
Friends of the Environment
Other: trade unions

International organization participation:
ACP, AOSIS, C, Caricom, CDB, CELAC, FAO, G-77, IADB, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ITSO, ITU, LAES, MIGA, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, Petrocaribe, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)

Diplomatic representation in the US:
Chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant)
Chancery: 2220 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
Telephone: [1] (202) 319-2660
FAX: [1] (202) 319-2668
Consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Miami, New York

Diplomatic representation from the US:
Chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d' Affaires John DINKELMAN
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

National symbol(s):
blue marlin; flamingo

National anthem:
Name: "March On, Bahamaland!"

Lyrics/music: Timothy GIBSON
note: adopted 1973; as a Commonwealth country, in addition to the national anthem, "God Save the Queen" serves as the royal anthem (see United Kingdom)

Economy

Economy - overview:
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. Financial services constitute the second-most important sector of the Bahamian economy and, when combined with business services, account for about 36% of GDP. Manufacturing and agriculture combined contribute less than a 10th of GDP and show little growth, despite government incentives aimed at those sectors. The economy of The Bahamas shrank at an average pace of 0.8% annually between 2007-11, and tourism, financial services, and construction - pillars of the national economy - remained weak. These challenges, coupled with a growing public debt, increases in government expenditures, a narrow revenue base, and heavy dependence on customs and property taxes have led to prospects of limited growth for The Bahamas.

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$11.24 billion (2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 151
$10.96 billion (2011 est.)
$10.79 billion (2010 est.)
note: data are in 2012 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate):
$8.043 billion (2012 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:
2.5% (2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 123
1.6% (2011 est.)
0.2% (2010 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$31,900 (2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 45
$31,500 (2011 est.)
$31,300 (2010 est.)
note: data are in 2012 US dollars

GDP - composition, by end use:
Household consumption: 68.3%
Government consumption: 15.9%
Investment in fixed capital: 28.2%
Investment in inventories: 0%
Exports of goods and services: 45.8%
Imports of goods and services: -58.2%
(2012 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin:
Agriculture: 2.1%
Industry: 7.1%
Services: 90.8% (2012 est.)

Agriculture - products:
citrus, vegetables; poultry

Industries:
tourism, banking, cement, oil transshipment, salt, rum, aragonite, pharmaceuticals

Industrial production growth rate:
NA%

Labor force:
192,200 (2012)
Country comparison to the world: 173

Labor force - by occupation:
Agriculture: 5%
Industry: 5%
Tourism: 50%
Other services: 40% (2005 est.)

Unemployment rate:
14% (2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 136
14.2% (2009 est.)

Population below poverty line:
9.3% (2004)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Lowest 10%: 1%
Highest 10%: 22% (2007)

Budget:
Revenues: $1.5 billion
Expenditures: $1.8 billion (2012 est.)

Taxes and other revenues:
18.6% of GDP (2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 175

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):
-3.7% of GDP (2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 135

Fiscal year:
1 July - 30 June

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
2.8% (2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 81
3.2% (2011 est.)

Central bank discount rate:
4.5% (31 December 2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 93
4% (31 December 2011 est.)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
4.8% (31 December 2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 157
5.06% (31 December 2011 est.)

Stock of narrow money:
$1.575 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 131
$1.435 billion (31 December 2011 est.)

Stock of broad money:
$6.482 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 119
$6.104 billion (31 December 2011 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:
$8.7 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 105
$8.511 billion (31 December 2011 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares:
$2.78 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

Current account balance:
-$1.139 billion (2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 116
-$1.091 billion (2011 est.)

Exports:
$750 million (2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 166
$834.9 million (2011 est.)

Exports - commodities:
crawfish, aragonite, crude salt, polystyrene products

Exports - partners:
Singapore 23.7%, US 19.5%, Dominican Republic 13.4%, Ecuador 9.8%, Canada 5.4%, Guatemala 4.4% (2012)

Imports:
$2.882 billion (2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 147
$2.966 billion (2011 est.)

Imports - commodities:
machinery and transport equipment, manufactures, chemicals, mineral fuels; food and live animals

Imports - partners:
US 29.9%, India 20.1%, Singapore 8.7%, South Korea 6.7%, China 5%, Colombia 4.3%, Canada 4.2% (2012)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$846.9 million (31 December 2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 141
$1.07 billion (31 December 2011 est.)

Debt - external:
$16.88 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 84
$15.13 billion (31 December 2011 est.)

Exchange rates:
Bahamian dollars (BSD) per US dollar -
1 (2012 est.)
1 (2011 est.)
1 (2010 est.)
1 (2008 est.)
1 (2007 est.)

Energy

Electricity - production:
1.93 billion kWh (2010 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 134

Electricity - consumption:
1.79 billion kWh (2010 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 141

Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 162

Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 159

Electricity - installed generating capacity:
490,000 kW (2010 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 137

Electricity - from fossil fuels:
100% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 7

Electricity - from nuclear fuels:
0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 47

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants:
0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 159

Electricity - from other renewable sources:
0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 109

Crude oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2011 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 110

Crude oil - exports:
0 bbl/day (2009 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 81

Crude oil - imports:
0 bbl/day (2009 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 158

Crude oil - proved reserves:
0 bbl (1 January 2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 108

Refined petroleum products - production:
0 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 155

Refined petroleum products - consumption:
36,300 bbl/day (2011 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 112

Refined petroleum products - exports:
41,610 bbl/day (2010 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 63

Refined petroleum products - imports:
64,600 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 59

Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2010 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 101

Natural gas - consumption:
0 cu m (2010 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 118

Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2010 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 61

Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2010 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 159

Natural gas - proved reserves:
0 cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 111

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy:
5.573 million Mt (2010 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 119

Communications

Telephones - main lines in use:
133,000 (2011)
Country comparison to the world: 140

Telephones - mobile cellular:
298,800 (2011)
Country comparison to the world: 173

Telephone system:
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)

Broadcast media:
2 TV stations operated by government-owned, commercially run Broadcasting Corporation of the Bahamas (BCB); multi-channel cable TV subscription service is available; about 15 radio stations operating with BCB operating a multi-channel radio broadcasting network alongside privately owned radio stations (2007)

Internet country code:
.bs

Internet hosts:
20,661 (2012)
Country comparison to the world: 117

Internet users:
115,800 (2009)
Country comparison to the world: 156

Transportation

Airports:
61 (2013)
Country comparison to the world: 79

Airports - with paved runways:
Total: 24
Over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 13
914 to 1,523 m: 7 (2013)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
Total: 37
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 16
Under 914 m:
17 (2013)

Heliports:
1 (2013)

Roadways:
Total: 2,717 km
Country comparison to the world: 169
Paved: 1,560 km
Unpaved: 1,157 km (2002)

Merchant marine:
Total: 1,160
Country comparison to the world: 10
By type: barge carrier 1, bulk carrier 238, cargo 170, carrier 2, chemical tanker 87, combination ore/oil 8, container 57, liquefied gas 71, passenger 102, passenger/cargo 26, petroleum tanker 225, refrigerated cargo 97, roll on/roll off 13, specialized tanker 2, vehicle carrier 61
Foreign-owned: 1,063 (Angola 6, Australia 1, Belgium 6, Bermuda 15, Brazil 1, Canada 96, Croatia 1, Cyprus 23, Denmark 69, Finland 8, France 15, Germany 30, Greece 225, Guernsey 6, Hong Kong 3, Indonesia 2, Ireland 3, Italy 1, Japan 88, Jordan 2, Kuwait 1, Malaysia 13, Monaco 8, Montenegro 2, Netherlands 23, Nigeria 2, Norway 186, Poland 34, Saudi Arabia 16, Singapore 7, South Korea 1, Spain 6, Sweden 11, Switzerland 1, Thailand 4, Turkey 3, UAE 23, UK 18, US 109)
Registered in other countries: 6 (Panama 6) (2010)

Ports and terminals:
Major seaport(s): Freeport, Nassau, South Riding Point
Container port(s) (TEUs): Freeport (1,116,272)(2011)
Cruise port(s): Nassau

Military

Military branches:
Royal Bahamas Defense Force: Land Force, Navy, Air Wing (2011)

Military service age and obligation:
18 years of age for voluntary male and female service; no conscription (2012)

Manpower available for military service:
Males age 16-49: 85,568 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:
Males age 16-49: 63,429
Females age 16-49: 64,645 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
Male: 2,829
Female: 2,750 (2010 est.)

Military expenditures:
0.6% of GDP (2011)
Country comparison to the world: 157

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international:
disagrees with the US on the alignment of the northern axis of a potential maritime boundary

Illicit drugs:
transshipment point for cocaine and marijuana bound for US and Europe; offshore financial center

Flag of Bahamas, The



Flag description:
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