Caribbean Stats


Flag Location Map
Introduction - Bahamas
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
Caribbean, 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
total: 13,880 sq km country comparison to the world: 160 land: 10,010 sq km water: 3,870 sq km
Area - comparative
slightly smaller than Connecticut
Land boundaries
0 km
3,542 km
Maritime claims
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
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: 0.58% permanent crops: 0.29% other: 99.13% (2005)
Irrigated land
10 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources
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 - Bahamas
307,552 country comparison to the world: 177 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.)
Age structure
0-14 years: 25.3% (male 39,493/female 38,355) 15-64 years: 68.7% (male 103,889/female 107,528) 65 years and over: 5.9% (male 6,998/female 11,289) (2009 est.)
Median age
total: 28.7 years male: 27.9 years female: 29.5 years (2009 est.)
Population growth rate
0.925% (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 135
Birth rate
16.41 births/1,000 population (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 129
Death rate
7.16 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 127
Net migration rate
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 75
urban population: 84% of total population (2008) rate of urbanization: 1.4% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
Sex ratio
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.)
Infant mortality rate
total: 14.84 deaths/1,000 live births country comparison to the world: 128 male: 14.82 deaths/1,000 live births female: 14.86 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)
Life expectancy at birth
total population: 69.92 years country comparison to the world: 146 male: 67.48 years female: 72.43 years (2009 est.)
Total fertility rate
2 children born/woman (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 129
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate
3% (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 24
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS
6,200 (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 118
HIV/AIDS - deaths
fewer than 200 (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 126
noun: Bahamian(s) adjective: Bahamian
Ethnic groups
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.)
Education expenditures
3.6% of GDP (2000) country comparison to the world: 125
Government - Bahamas
Country name
conventional long form: Commonwealth of The Bahamas conventional short form: The Bahamas
Government type
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
Administrative divisions
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)
National holiday
Independence Day, 10 July (1973)
10 July 1973
Legal system
based on English common law
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch
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 (For more information visit the World Leaders website ) 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
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 (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
Judicial branch
Privy Council in London; Courts of Appeal; Supreme (lower) Court; Magistrates' Courts
Political parties and leaders
Free National Movement or FNM [Hubert INGRAHAM]; Progressive Liberal Party or PLP [Perry CHRISTIE]
Political pressure groups and leaders
Friends of the Environment other: trade unions
International organization participation
Diplomatic representation in the US:
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
Diplomatic representation from the US
chief of mission: Ambassador Nicole A. AVANT 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
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
Economy - Bahamas
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. Prior to 2006, a steady growth in tourism receipts and a boom in construction of new hotels, resorts, and residences led to solid GDP growth but since then tourism receipts have begun to drop off. The global recession in 2009 took a sizeable toll on the Bahamas, resulting in a contraction in GDP and a widening budget deficit. The outlook for 2010 is for slightly positive growth as tourism from the US returns, but sector investment is not expecteded to substantially increase. 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, the financial sector currently is smaller than it has been in the past because of the enactment of new and more strict financial regulations in 2000 that caused many international businesses to relocate elsewhere. 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.
GDP (purchasing power parity)
$9.086 billion (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 151 $9.464 billion (2008 est.) $9.608 billion (2007 est.) note: data are in 2009 US dollars
GDP (official exchange rate)
$7.403 billion (2009 est.)
GDP - real growth rate
-4% (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 172 -1.5% (2008 est.) 2.8% (2007 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)
$29,800 (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 47 $31,100 (2008 est.) $31,800 (2007 est.) note: data are in 2009 US dollars
GDP - composition by sector
agriculture: 3% industry: 7% services: 90% (2001 est.)
Labor force
175,500 (2007) country comparison to the world: 174
Labor force - by occupation
agriculture: 5% industry: 5% tourism: 50% other services: 40% (2005 est.)
Unemployment rate
7.6% (2006 est.) country comparison to the world: 77
Population below poverty line
9.3% (2004)
Household income or consumption by percentage share
lowest 10%: NA% highest 10%: 27% (2000)
revenues: $1.03 billion expenditures: $1.03 billion (FY04/05)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)
2.4% (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 75
Central bank discount rate
5.25% (31 December 2008) country comparison to the world: 81 5.25% (31 December 2007)
Commercial bank prime lending rate
5.5% (31 December 2008) country comparison to the world: 138 5.5% (31 December 2007)
Stock of money
$1.255 billion (31 December 2008) country comparison to the world: 88 $1.274 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of quasi money
$4.637 billion (31 December 2008) country comparison to the world: 76 $4.324 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of domestic credit
$7.883 billion (31 December 2008) country comparison to the world: 82 $7.395 billion (31 December 2007)
Market value of publicly traded shares
Agriculture - products
citrus, vegetables; poultry
tourism, banking, cement, oil transshipment, salt, rum, aragonite, pharmaceuticals, spiral-welded steel pipe
Industrial production growth rate
Electricity - production
2.045 billion kWh (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 133
Electricity - consumption
1.902 billion kWh (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 135
Electricity - exports
0 kWh (2008 est.)
Electricity - imports
0 kWh (2008 est.)
Oil - production
0 bbl/day (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 207
Oil - consumption
34,000 bbl/day (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 109
Oil - exports
transshipments of 41,570 bbl/day (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 80
Oil - imports
72,420 bbl/day (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 78
Oil - proved reserves
0 bbl (1 January 2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 205
Natural gas - production
0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 207
Natural gas - consumption
0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 113
Natural gas - exports
0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 54
Natural gas - imports
0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 81
Natural gas - proved reserves
0 cu m (1 January 2006 est.) country comparison to the world: 203
Current account balance
-$1.442 billion (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 141
$674 million (2006) country comparison to the world: 159
Exports - commodities
mineral products and salt, animal products, rum, chemicals, fruit and vegetables
Exports - partners
US 21.4%, Singapore 18.7%, Poland 18%, Germany 7.6%, Japan 7.4% (2008)
$2.401 billion (2006) country comparison to the world: 142
Imports - commodities
machinery and transport equipment, manufactures, chemicals, mineral fuels; food and live animals
Imports - partners
US 25.7%, South Korea 19.3%, Japan 16.8%, Singapore 7.5%, Venezuela 5.1% (2008)
Debt - external
$342.6 million (2004 est.) country comparison to the world: 163
Exchange rates
Bahamian dollars (BSD) per US dollar - 1 (2009), 1 (2008), 1 (2007), 1 (2006), 1 (2005)
Communications - Bahamas
Telephones - main lines in use
133,000 (2008) country comparison to the world: 138
Telephones - mobile cellular
358,000 (2008) country comparison to the world: 164
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)
Radio broadcast stations
AM 3, FM 5, shortwave 0 (2006)
Television broadcast stations
2 (2006)
Internet country code
Internet hosts
8,325 (2009) country comparison to the world: 122
Internet users
106,500 (2008) country comparison to the world: 151
Transportation - Bahamas
62 (2009) country comparison to the world: 79
Airports - with paved runways
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)
Airports - with unpaved runways
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)
Merchant marine
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)
Ports and terminals
Freeport, Nassau, South Riding Point
Military - Bahamas
Military branches
Royal Bahamian Defense Force: Land Force, Navy, Air Wing (2009)
Military service age and obligation
18 years of age (est.); no conscription (2008)
Manpower available for military service
males age 16-49: 80,200 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military service
males age 16-49: 50,764 females age 16-49: 51,690 (2009 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually
male: 2,992 female: 3,003 (2009 est.)
Military expenditures
0.5% of GDP (2006) country comparison to the world: 160
Transnational Issues - Bahamas
Disputes - international
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
Illicit drugs
transshipment point for cocaine and marijuana bound for US and Europe; offshore financial center