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Central America and Caribbean :: BAHAMAS, THE
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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. Piracy thrived in the 17th and 18th centuries because of The Bahamas close proximity to shipping lanes. Since attaining independence from the UK in 1973, The Bahamas has prospered through tourism, international banking, and investment management. Because of its location, 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

  • chain of islands in the North Atlantic Ocean, southeast of Florida, northeast of Cuba
    24 15 N, 76 00 W
    Central America and the Caribbean
    total: 13,880 sq km
    land: 10,010 sq km
    water: 3,870 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 161
    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
    mean elevation: NA
    elevation extremes: lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
    highest point: Mount Alvernia on Cat Island 64 m
    salt, aragonite, timber, arable land
    agricultural land: 1.4%
    arable land 0.8%; permanent crops 0.4%; permanent pasture 0.2%
    forest: 51.4%
    other: 47.2% (2011 est.)
    10 sq km (2012)
    most of the population lives in urban areas, with two-thirds living on New Providence Island where Nassau is located
    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 and Society :: BAHAMAS, THE

  • 329,988
    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 2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 179
    noun: Bahamian(s)
    adjective: Bahamian
    black 90.6%, white 4.7%, black and white 2.1%, other 1.9%, unspecified 0.7% (2010 est.)
    English (official), Creole (among Haitian immigrants)
    Protestant 69.9% (includes Baptist 34.9%, Anglican 13.7%, Pentecostal 8.9% Seventh Day Adventist 4.4%, Methodist 3.6%, Church of God 1.9%, Brethren 1.6%), Roman Catholic 12%, other Christian 13% (includes Jehovah's Witness 1.1%), other 0.6%, none 1.9%, unspecified 2.6% (2010 est.)
    0-14 years: 22.55% (male 37,760/female 36,667)
    15-24 years: 16.4% (male 27,415/female 26,703)
    25-54 years: 44.14% (male 73,016/female 72,626)
    55-64 years: 9.16% (male 13,647/female 16,567)
    65 years and over: 7.75% (male 9,843/female 15,744) (2017 est.)
    population pyramid:
    total dependency ratio: 40.8
    youth dependency ratio: 29.1
    elderly dependency ratio: 11.7
    potential support ratio: 8.5 (2015 est.)
    total: 32 years
    male: 30.9 years
    female: 33.2 years (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 100
    0.81% (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 129
    15.3 births/1,000 population (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 125
    7.2 deaths/1,000 population (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 125
    0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 73
    most of the population lives in urban areas, with two-thirds living on New Providence Island where Nassau is located
    urban population: 83% of total population (2017)
    rate of urbanization: 1.21% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
    NASSAU (capital) 267,000 (2014)
    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: 1 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 0.81 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.62 male(s)/female
    total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
    80 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 80
    total: 11.3 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 11.4 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 11.3 deaths/1,000 live births (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 127
    total population: 72.6 years
    male: 70.2 years
    female: 75.1 years (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 145
    1.94 children born/woman (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 128
    7.7% of GDP (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 61
    2.72 physicians/1,000 population (2008)
    2.9 beds/1,000 population (2011)
    improved:
    urban: 98.4% of population
    rural: 98.4% of population
    total: 98.4% of population
    unimproved:
    urban: 1.6% of population
    rural: 1.6% of population
    total: 1.6% of population (2015 est.)
    improved:
    urban: 92% of population
    rural: 92% of population
    total: 92% of population
    unimproved:
    urban: 8% of population
    rural: 8% of population
    total: 8% of population (2015 est.)
    3.3% (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 17
    8,200 (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 101
    NA
    31.6% (2016)
    country comparison to the world: 21
    NA
    total: 30.8%
    male: 29.6%
    female: 32.2% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 24
  • Government :: BAHAMAS, THE

  • conventional long form: Commonwealth of The Bahamas
    conventional short form: The Bahamas
    etymology: name derives from the Spanish "baha mar," meaning "shallow sea," which describes the shallow waters of the Bahama Banks
    parliamentary democracy (Parliament) under a constitutional monarchy; 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
    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)
    Independence Day, 10 July (1973)
    previous 1964 (preindependence); latest adopted 20 June 1973, effective 10 July 1973; amended many times, last in 2016 (2016)
    common law system based on the English model
    has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
    citizenship by birth: no
    citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of The Bahamas
    dual citizenship recognized: no
    residency requirement for naturalization: 6-9 years
    18 years of age; universal
    chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Dame Marguerite PINDLING (since 8 July 2014)
    head of government: Prime Minister Hubert MINNIS (since 11 May 2017)
    cabinet: Cabinet appointed by governor general on recommendation of prime minister
    elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or majority coalition usually appointed prime minister by the governor general; the prime minister recommends the deputy prime minister
    description: 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 5-year terms) and the House of Assembly (39 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote to serve 5-year terms); note - the government may dissolve the parliament and call elections at any time
    elections: last held on 10 May 2017 (next to be held by May 2022)
    election results: percent of vote by party - FNM 57%, PLP 36.9%, other 6.1%; seats by party - FNM 35, PLP 4
    highest resident court(s): Court of Appeal (consists of the court president and 4 justices, organized in 3-member panels); Supreme Court (consists of the chief justice and a maximum of 11 and a minimum of 2 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 president and Supreme Court chief justice appointed by the governor-general on the advice of the prime minister after consultation with the leader of the opposition party; other Court of Appeal and Supreme Court justices appointed by the governor general upon recommendation of the Judicial and Legal Services Commission, a 5-member body headed by the chief justice; Court of Appeal justices appointed for life with mandatory retirement normally at age 68 but can be extended until age 70; Supreme Court justices appointed for life with mandatory retirement normally at age 65 but can be extended until age 67
    subordinate courts: Industrial Tribunal; Stipendiary and Magistrates' Courts; Family Island Administrators
    Democratic National Alliance or DNA [Branville MCCARTNEY]
    Free National Movement or FNM [Hubert MINNIS]
    Progressive Liberal Party or PLP [Philip "Brave" DAVIS]
    Friends of the Environment [Wynsome FERGUSON]
    other: trade unions
    ACP, AOSIS, C, Caricom, CDB, CELAC, FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (NGOs), ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, LAES, MIGA, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, Petrocaribe, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)
    chief of mission: Ambassador Sidney Stanley COLLIE (since 20 November 2017)
    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
    chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d' Affaires Lisa A. JOHNSON (since 9 July 2014)
    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) 356-7174
    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
    blue marlin, flamingo, Yellow Elder flower; national colors: aquamarine, yellow, black
    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 :: BAHAMAS, THE

  • The Bahamas has the second highest per capital GDP in the English-speaking Caribbean with an economy heavily dependent on tourism and international banking. Tourism accounts for approximately 75-80% 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, accounting for about 15% of GDP. Manufacturing and agriculture combined contribute less than 7% of GDP and show little growth, despite government incentives aimed at those sectors. On January 1, 2015, the Government introduced a 7.5% Value Added Tax (VAT) on most goods and services, a measure designed to strengthen the fiscal balance sheet. In August 2016, Moody’s downgraded the Bahamas’ bond and issue ratings to Baa3 from Baa2 with a stable outlook, maintaining that rating in its February 2017 review. In December 2016, S&P downgraded the country to BB+ (speculative grade) from BBB- (investment grade) with a stable outlook based on projections of slow economic growth and the pace of debt accumulation. The Bahamas is the only country in the Western Hemisphere that is not a member of the World Trade Organization.
    $9.017 billion (2016 est.)
    $8.926 billion (2015 est.)
    $8.98 billion (2014 est.)
    note: data are in 2016 dollars
    country comparison to the world: 160
    $8.717 billion (2016 est.)
    -0.3% (2016 est.)
    -1.7% (2015 est.)
    -0.5% (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 192
    $24,500 (2016 est.)
    $24,800 (2015 est.)
    $25,500 (2014 est.)
    note: data are in 2016 dollars
    country comparison to the world: 79
    13.4% of GDP (2016 est.)
    13.6% of GDP (2015 est.)
    9.3% of GDP (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 125
    household consumption: 66.1%
    government consumption: 16.8%
    investment in fixed capital: 26.8%
    investment in inventories: 1%
    exports of goods and services: 37.1%
    imports of goods and services: -47.9% (2016 est.)
    agriculture: 2.2%
    industry: 7.6%
    services: 90.1% (2016 est.)
    citrus, vegetables; poultry
    tourism, banking, oil bunkering, maritime industries, transshipment and logistics, salt, aragonite, pharmaceuticals
    1.5% (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 129
    196,900 (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 172
    agriculture: 3%
    industry: 11%
    tourism: 49%
    other services: 37% (2011 est.)
    12.2% (2016 est.)
    15.8% (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 168
    9.3% (2010 est.)
    lowest 10%: 1%
    highest 10%: 22% (2007 est.)
    revenues: $2 billion
    expenditures: $2.5 billion (2016 est.)
    22.4% of GDP (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 133
    -5.6% of GDP (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 164
    66.9% of GDP (2016 est.)
    64.5% of GDP (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 56
    1 July - 30 June
    0.8% (2016 est.)
    1.9% (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 35
    4.5% (1 January 2014)
    4.5% (31 December 2012)
    country comparison to the world: 83
    4.8% (31 December 2016 est.)
    4.75% (31 December 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 146
    $2.461 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
    $2.087 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 122
    $6.622 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
    $6.239 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 117
    $9.1 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
    $8.922 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 110
    $2.78 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 97
    $-1.126 billion (2016 est.)
    $-1.203 billion (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 129
    $444.3 million (2016 est.)
    $520.6 million (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 175
    Rock lobster, aragonite, crude salt, polystyrene products
    US 53.4%, Namibia 31.4% (2016)
    $2.594 billion (2016 est.)
    $2.954 billion (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 150
    machinery and transport equipment, manufactures, chemicals, mineral fuels; food and live animals
    US 81.8% (2016)
    $1.002 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
    $895.5 million (31 December 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 124
    $17.56 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    $16.35 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 96
    Bahamian dollars (BSD) per US dollar -
    1 (2016 est.)
    1 (2015 est.)
    1 (2014 est.)
    1 (2013 est.)
    1 (2012 est.)
  • Energy :: BAHAMAS, THE

  • electrification - total population: 100% (2016)
    1.807 billion kWh (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 141
    1.681 billion kWh (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 147
    0 kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 106
    0 kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 124
    577,000 kW (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 141
    99.8% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 26
    0% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 49
    0% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 164
    0.2% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 161
    0 bbl/day (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 111
    0 bbl/day (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 95
    0 bbl/day (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 99
    0 bbl (1 January 2017 es)
    country comparison to the world: 111
    0 bbl/day (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 120
    24,000 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 130
    922.7 bbl/day (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 108
    26,330 bbl/day (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 105
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 109
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 158
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 68
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 91
    0 cu m (1 January 2009 es)
    country comparison to the world: 116
    4.1 million Mt (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 132
  • Communications :: BAHAMAS, THE

  • total subscriptions: 121,088
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 37 (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 140
    total: 360,200
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 110 (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 178
    general assessment: modern facilities
    domestic: totally automatic system; highly developed; the Bahamas Domestic Submarine Network links all of the major islands; Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) privatized in 2011, but the government reacquired 51% share in 2014
    international: country code - 1-242; landing point for the Americas Region Caribbean Ring System (ARCOS-1) and two additional fiber-optic submarine cables that provide links to South and Central America, parts of the Caribbean, and the US; satellite earth stations - 2 (2017)
    The Bahamas has 4 major TV providers that provide service to all major islands in the archipelago; 1 TV station is operated by government-owned, commercially run Broadcasting Corporation of the Bahamas (BCB) and competes freely with 3 privately owned TV stations; multi-channel cable TV subscription service is widely available; there are 31 licensed broadcast (radio) service providers, 28 are privately owned FM radio stations operating on New Providence, Grand Bahama Island, Abaco Island, and on smaller islands in the country; the BCB operates a multi-channel radio broadcasting network that has national coverage; the sector is regulated by the Utilities Regulation and Competition Authority (2017)
    .bs
    total: 261,853
    percent of population: 80.0% (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 151
  • Transportation :: BAHAMAS, THE

  • number of registered air carriers: 4
    inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 16
    annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 587,516
    annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 172,730 mt-km (2015)
    C6 (2016)
    61 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 80
    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 (2017)
    total: 37
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
    914 to 1,523 m: 16
    under 914 m: 17 (2013)
    1 (2013)
    total: 2,700 km
    paved: 1,620 km
    unpaved: 1,080 km (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 170
    total: 1,160
    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: 1,069 (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)
    country comparison to the world: 10
    major seaport(s): Freeport, Nassau, South Riding Point
    container port(s) (TEUs): Freeport (1,116,272)(2011)
    cruise port(s): Nassau
  • Military and Security :: BAHAMAS, THE

  • Royal Bahamas Defense Force: Land Force, Navy, Air Wing (2011)
    18 years of age for voluntary male and female service; no conscription (2012)
  • Transnational Issues :: BAHAMAS, THE

  • disagrees with the US on the alignment of the northern axis of a potential maritime boundary
    stateless persons: 11 (2016)
    transshipment point for cocaine and marijuana bound for US and Europe; offshore financial center