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

Geographic Coordinates:

 24 15 N, 76 00 W


 Total: 13,880 sq km
Land: 10,010 sq km
Water: 3,870 sq km

Area - Comparative:

 Slightly smaller than Connecticut

Land Boundaries:

 0 km


 3,542 km (Rank: 34)

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 (2008)

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

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 Noun: Bahamian(s)
Adjective: Bahamian

Ethnic Groups:

 Black 85%, white 12%, Asian and Hispanic 3%


 English (official), Creole (among Haitian immigrants)


 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)


 313,312 (July 2011 est.)

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: 24.4% (male 38,834/female 37,715)
15-64 years: 69.2% (male 106,882/female 110,081)
65 years and over: 6.3% (male 7,578/female 12,222) (2011 est.)

Median Age:

 Total: 30.2 years
Male: 29.1 years
Female: 31.3 years (2011 est.)

Population Growth Rate:

 0.922% (2011 est.)

Birth Rate:

 16.1 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)

Death Rate:

 6.88 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)

Net Migration Rate:

 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)


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

Major Cities - Population:

 NASSAU (capital) 248,000 (2009)

Sex Ratio:

 At birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.62 male(s)/female
Total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2011 est.)

Maternal Mortality Rate:

 49 deaths/100,000 live births (2008)

Infant Mortality Rate:

 Total: 13.49 deaths/1,000 live births
Male: 13.29 deaths/1,000 live births
Female: 13.69 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)

Life Expectancy At Birth:

 Total population: 71.18 years
Male: 68.8 years
Female: 73.63 years (2011 est.)

Total Fertility Rate:

 1.99 children born/woman (2011 est.)

Health Expenditures:

 7.2% of GDP (2009)

Physicians Density:

 1.05 physicians/1,000 population (1998)

Hospital Bed Density:

 3.1 beds/1,000 population (2008)

Drinking Water Source:

 Urban: 98% of population
Rural: 86% of population
Total: 96% of population
Urban: 2% of population
Rural: 14% of population
Total: 4% of population (2000)

Sanitation Facility Access:

 Urban: 100% of population
Rural: 100% of population
Total: 100% of population (2008)

HIV/AIDS - Adult Prevalence Rate:

 3.1% (2009 est.)

HIV/AIDS - People Living With HIV/AIDS:

 6,600 (2009 est.)

HIV/AIDS - Deaths:

 Fewer than 500 (2009 est.)


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

Average Years of Schooling:

 Total: 12 years
Male: 12 years
Female: 12 years (2006)

Unemployment, Youth Ages 15-24:

 Total: 18.9%
Male: 16.7%
Female: 21.7% (2007)

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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:

 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


 10 July 1973 (from the UK)

National Holiday:

 Independence Day, 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


 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 Hubert A. INGRAHAM (since 4 May 2007)

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 (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 on 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

National Symbols:

 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)

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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 decline continued in 2010 as tourism from the US and sector investment lagged. 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 stricter 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):

 $8.921 billion (2010 est.)
$8.877 billion (2009 est.)
$9.275 billion (2008 est.)

Note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP (Official Exchange Rate):

 $7.538 billion (2010 est.)

GDP - Real Growth Rate:

 0.5% (2010 est.)
-4.3% (2009 est.)
-1.7% (2008 est.)

GDP - Per Capita (PPP):

 $28,700 (2010 est.)
$28,900 (2009 est.)
$30,400 (2008 est.)

Note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP - Composition By Sector:

 Agriculture: 1.6%
Industry: 8.1%
Services: 90.4% (2010 est.)

Labor Force:

 184,000 (2009)

Labor Force - By Occupation:

 Agriculture: 5%
Industry: 5%
Tourism: 50%
Other services: 40% (2005 est.)

Unemployment Rate:

 7.6% (2006 est.)

Population Below Poverty Line:

 9.3% (2004)

Household Income / Consumption By Share:

 Lowest 10%: NA%
Highest 10%: 27% (2000)

Investment (Gross Fixed):

 29.9% of GDP (2010 est.)


 Revenues: $1.3 billion
Expenditures: $1.3 billion (2010 est.)

Taxes and Other Revenues:

 17.2% of GDP (2010 est.)

Budget Surplus / Deficit:

 -4% of GDP (2010 est.)

Inflation Rate (Consumer Prices):

 1.3% (2010 est.)
2.1% (2009 est.)

Central Bank Discount Rate:

 5.25% (31 December 2010 est.)
5.25% (31 December 2009 est.)

Commercial Bank Prime Lending Rate:

 5.5% (31 December 2010 est.)
5.5% (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Money:

 $1.255 billion (31 December 2008)
$1.274 billion (31 December 2007)

Stock of Quasi Money:

 $4.637 billion (31 December 2008)
$4.324 billion (31 December 2007)

Stock of Narrow Money:

 $1.31 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$1.252 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Broad Money:

 $6.15 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$5.99 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Domestic Credit:

 $8.5 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$7.993 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Agriculture - Products:

 Citrus, vegetables; poultry


 Tourism, banking, cement, oil transshipment, salt, rum, aragonite, pharmaceuticals, spiral-welded steel pipe

Industrial Production Growth Rate:


Electricity - Production:

 1.945 billion kWh (2009 est.)

Electricity - Production By Source:

 Fossil fuel: 100%
Hydro: 0%
Nuclear: 0%
Other: 0% (2001)

Electricity - Consumption:

 1.907 billion kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - Exports:

 0 kWh (2009 est.)

Electricity - Imports:

 0 kWh (2009 est.)

Oil - Production:

 0 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - Consumption:

 35,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - Exports:

 Transshipments of 41,610 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - Imports:

 70,990 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - Proven Reserves:

 0 bbl (1 January 2011 est.)

Natural Gas - Production:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Consumption:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Exports:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Imports:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Proven Reserves:

 0 cu m (1 January 2009 est.)

Current Account Balance:

 -$1.038 billion (2010 est.)
-$893.3 million (2009 est.)


 $702.4 million (2010 est.)
$710.7 million (2009 est.)

Exports - Commodities:

 Mineral products and salt, animal products, rum, chemicals, fruit and vegetables

Exports - Partners:

 US 35.9%, Singapore 18.1%, Germany 15.6%, Dominican Republic 7.9% (2010)


 $2.591 billion (2010 est.)
$2.535 billion (2009 est.)

Imports - Commodities:

 Machinery and transport equipment, manufactures, chemicals, mineral fuels; food and live animals

Imports - Partners:

 US 23.6%, Venezuela 19.3%, South Korea 11.3%, France 8%, India 7.5%, Japan 6.7%, Singapore 5.4%, China 4.6% (2010)

Debt - External:

 $342.6 million (2004 est.)

Exchange Rates:

 Convert Bahamian Dollar to Any Currency

Bahamian dollars (BSD) per US dollar -
1 (2009)
1 (2008)
1 (2007)
1 (2006)

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Telephones - Main Lines In Use:

 129,300 (2010)

Telephones - Cellular:

 428,400 (2010)

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 television 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)

Radio Broadcast Stations:

 AM 3, FM 11, shortwave 0 (2009)

Television Broadcast Stations:

 2 (2006)

Internet Country Code:


Internet Hosts:

 21,939 (2010)

Internet Users:

 115,800 (2009)

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 62 (2010)

Airports - With Paved Runways:

 Total: 23
Over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 13
914 to 1,523 m: 5 (2010)

Airports - With Unpaved Runways:

 Total: 39
1,524 to 2,437 m: 5
914 to 1,523 m: 12
Under 914 m: 22 (2010)


 1 (2010)


 Total: 2,717 km
Paved: 1,560 km
Unpaved: 1,157 km (2002)

Merchant Marine:

 Total: 1,170
By type: barge carrier 1, bulk carrier 229, cargo 191, carrier 2, chemical tanker 80, combination ore/oil 8, container 50, liquefied gas 78, passenger 100, passenger/cargo 29, petroleum tanker 222, refrigerated cargo 106, roll on/roll off 12, specialized tanker 2, vehicle carrier 60
Foreign-owned: 1,080 (Angola 5, Belgium 9, Bermuda 12, Brazil 1, Canada 102, China 4, Croatia 1, Cyprus 14, Denmark 59, Finland 8, France 19, Germany 39, Greece 209, Guernsey 6, Hong Kong 2, Indonesia 2, Ireland 3, Italy 5, Japan 93, Jordan 2, Kuwait 2, Malaysia 13, Monaco 14, Montenegro 2, Netherlands 22, Nigeria 2, Norway 198, Poland 32, Saudi Arabia 16, Singapore 7, Slovenia 1, Spain 9, Sweden 6, Switzerland 2, Thailand 4, Trinidad and Tobago 1, Turkey 3, UAE 27, UK 24, US 100)

Note: this country allows large numbers of ships owned by foreign entities to be registered in its national shipping registry and to fly its flag; these ships operate under the laws of the flag state
Registered in other countries: 10 (Bolivia 1, Malta 1, Panama 7, Peru 1) (2010)

Ports and Terminals:

 Freeport, Nassau, South Riding Point

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Military Branches:

 Royal Bahamian Defense Force: Land Force, Navy, Air Wing (2011)

Military Service Age and Obligation:

 18 years of age; no conscription (2010)

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:

 0.7% of GDP (2009)

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Disputes - International:

 Disagrees with the US on the alignment the northern axis of a potential maritime boundary

Illicit Drugs:

 Transshipment point for cocaine and marijuana bound for US and Europe; offshore financial center

Trafficking in Persons:

 Current situation: the Bahamas is a destination, source, and transit country for men, women and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; women from South American countries such as Brazil, Colombia, and Panama may be subjected to forced prostitution; some workers from Haiti, Jamaica, China, Peru, and the Philippines could be vulnerable to involuntary servitude

Tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - despite making significant efforts to fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, the government did not demonstrate evidence of an overall increase in its anti-trafficking or victim-assistance efforts (2011)

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Last Updated: December 2011

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