Most of the Western Bahama Banks, the Tongue of the Ocean (center), and Andros Island (left), as well as north central Cuba (lower left) with its fringing reefs, may be seen in this one view. Much of the green-turquoise water over the banks is less than 9 m (30 ft) deep but the deep blue of the Tongue is 1,200 to 1,800 m (4,000 to 6,000 ft) deep. All the sediment on the banks, including the material that forms the islands, is calcium carbonate (lime) precipitated from sea water by animals and plants. Image courtesy of NASA.
Country Flag
Country Map
Special Country Products
Locator Map



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, which comprise up to 85% of GDP. Because of its proximity to the US - the nearest Bahamian landmass being only 80 km (50 mi) from Florida - the country is a major transshipment point for illicit trafficking, particularly to the US mainland, as well as Europe. US law enforcement agencies cooperate closely with The Bahamas, and the US Coast Guard assists Bahamian authorities in maritime security and law enforcement through Operation Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, or OPBAT.

Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.



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

land: 10,010 sq km

water: 3,870 sq km

country comparison to the world: 165

Area - comparative

slightly smaller than Connecticut

<p>slightly smaller than Connecticut</p>

Land boundaries

total: 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


highest point: 1.3 km NE of Old Bight on Cat Island 64 m
note - the Factbook map is incorrect; it indicates the wrong high elevation point

lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m

Natural resources

salt, aragonite, timber, arable land

Land use

agricultural land: 1.4% (2018 est.)

arable land: 0.8% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0.4% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 0.2% (2018 est.)

forest: 51.4% (2018 est.)

other: 47.2% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

10 sq km (2012)

Population distribution

most of the population lives in urban areas, with two-thirds living on New Providence Island where Nassau is located

Natural hazards

hurricanes and other tropical storms cause extensive flood and wind damage

Geography - note

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

Map description

The Bahamas map showing the many islands and cays that make up the country in the North Atlantic Ocean.

People and Society


355,608 (2022 est.)

note: estimates for this country explicitly taken into account the impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic

country comparison to the world: 178


noun: Bahamian(s)

adjective: Bahamian

Ethnic groups

African descent 90.6%, White 4.7%, mixed 2.1%, other 1.9%, unspecified 0.7% (2010 est.)

note: data represent population by racial group


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%, other Protestant .9%), Roman Catholic 12%, other Christian 13% (includes Jehovah's Witness 1.1%), other 0.6%, none 1.9%, unspecified 2.6% (2010 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 21.7% (male 38,811/female 37,719)

15-24 years: 14.91% (male 26,636/female 25,945)

25-54 years: 43.56% (male 76,505/female 77,119)

55-64 years: 10.75% (male 17,508/female 20,391)

65 years and over: 9.08% (2021 est.) (male 12,587/female 19,434)

This is the population pyramid for Bahamas, The. A population pyramid illustrates the age and sex structure of a country's population and may provide insights about political and social stability, as well as economic development. The population is distributed along the horizontal axis, with males shown on the left and females on the right. The male and female populations are broken down into 5-year age groups represented as horizontal bars along the vertical axis, with the youngest age groups at the bottom and the oldest at the top. The shape of the population pyramid gradually evolves over time based on fertility, mortality, and international migration trends. <br/><br/>For additional information, please see the entry for Population pyramid on the Definitions and Notes page.

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 41.5

youth dependency ratio: 30.6

elderly dependency ratio: 11

potential support ratio: 9.1 (2020 est.)

Median age

total: 32.8 years

male: 31.7 years

female: 34 years (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 104

Birth rate

14.64 births/1,000 population (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 118

Death rate

6.41 deaths/1,000 population (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 139

Net migration rate

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 84

Population distribution

most of the population lives in urban areas, with two-thirds living on New Providence Island where Nassau is located


urban population: 83.5% of total population (2022)

rate of urbanization: 1.02% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Major urban areas - population

280,000 NASSAU (capital) (2018)

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: 0.86 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.5 male(s)/female

total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2022 est.)

Maternal mortality ratio

70 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 83

Infant mortality rate

total: 12.78 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 13.22 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 12.33 deaths/1,000 live births (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 111

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 76.13 years

male: 73.2 years

female: 79.14 years (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 107

Drinking water source

improved: total: 98.9% of population

unimproved: total: 1.1% of population (2017 est.)

Physicians density

1.94 physicians/1,000 population (2017)

Hospital bed density

3 beds/1,000 population (2017)

Sanitation facility access

improved: total: 98.2% of population

unimproved: total: 1.8% of population (2017 est.)

Tobacco use

total: 10.6% (2020 est.)

male: 18.8% (2020 est.)

female: 2.4% (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 134

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 25.8%

male: 20.8%

female: 31.6% (2016 est.)


Environment - current issues

coral reef decay; solid waste disposal

Environment - international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 17.56 micrograms per cubic meter (2016 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 1.79 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 0.23 megatons (2020 est.)


tropical marine; moderated by warm waters of Gulf Stream

Land use

agricultural land: 1.4% (2018 est.)

arable land: 0.8% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0.4% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 0.2% (2018 est.)

forest: 51.4% (2018 est.)

other: 47.2% (2018 est.)


urban population: 83.5% of total population (2022)

rate of urbanization: 1.02% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Revenue from coal

coal revenues: 0% of GDP (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 61

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 264,000 tons (2015 est.)

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 31 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

Total renewable water resources

700 million cubic meters (2017 est.)


Country name

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

Government type

parliamentary democracy 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

etymology: named after William III (1650-1702), king of England, Scotland, and Ireland, who was a member of the House of Nassau

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)


history: previous 1964 (preindependence); latest adopted 20 June 1973, effective 10 July 1973

amendments: proposed as an "Act" by Parliament; passage of amendments to articles such as the organization and composition of the branches of government requires approval by at least two-thirds majority of the membership of both houses of Parliament and majority approval in a referendum; passage of amendments to constitutional articles such as fundamental rights and individual freedoms, the powers, authorities, and procedures of the branches of government, or changes to the Bahamas Independence Act 1973 requires approval by at least three-fourths majority of the membership of both houses and majority approval in a referendum; amended many times, last in 2016

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


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

Executive branch

chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Cornelius A. SMITH (since 28 June 2019)

head of government: Prime Minister Philip DAVIS (since 17 September 2021)

cabinet: Cabinet appointed by governor general on recommendation of prime minister

elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch on the advice of the prime minister; 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

Legislative branch

description: bicameral Parliament consists of:
Senate (16 seats; members appointed by the governor general - 9 selected on the advice of the prime minister, 4 on the advice of  the leader of the opposition party, and 3 on the advice of the prime minister in consultation with the opposition leader; members serve 5-year terms)
House of Assembly (39 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote to serve 5-year terms)

Senate - last appointments on 24 May 2017 (next appointments in 2022)
House of Assembly - last held on 16 September 2021 (next to be held by September 2026)

election results:
Senate - appointed; composition as of March 2022 - men 12, women 4, percent of women 25%
House of Assembly - percent of vote by party - PLP 52.5%, FNM 36.2%; seats by party - PLP 32, FNM 7; composition as of March 2022 - men 32, women 7, percent of women 18%; note - total Parliament percent of women 20%

note: the government may dissolve the parliament and call elections at any time

Judicial branch

highest courts: 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)

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

note: The Bahamas is a member of the 15-member Caribbean Community but is not party to the agreement establishing the Caribbean Court of Justice as its highest appellate court;  the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (in London) serves as the final court of appeal for The Bahamas

Political parties and leaders

Democratic National Alliance or DNA [Arinthia KOMOLAFE]
Free National Movement or FNM [Michael PINTARD]
Progressive Liberal Party or PLP [Philip "Brave" DAVIS]

International organization participation


Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Wendall Kermith JONES (since 19 April 2022)

chancery: 600 New Hampshire Ave, NW, Suite 530, Washington, DC 20037

telephone: [1] (202) 319-2660

FAX: [1] (202) 319-2668

email address and website:

consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Miami, New York, Washington, DC

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d' Affaires Usha E. PITTS (since 1 January 2021)

embassy: 42 Queen Street, Nassau

mailing address: 3370 Nassau Place, Washington, DC 20521-3370

telephone: [1] (242) 322-1181

FAX: [1] (242) 356-7174

email address and website:

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 symbol(s)

blue marlin, flamingo, Yellow Elder flower; national colors: aquamarine, yellow, black

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)


Economic overview

The Bahamas has the second highest per capita GDP in the English-speaking Caribbean with an economy heavily dependent on tourism and financial services. Tourism accounts for approximately 50% 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. The new government led by Prime Minister Hubert MINNIS has prioritized addressing fiscal imbalances and rising debt, which stood at 75% of GDP in 2016. Large capital projects like the Baha Mar Casino and Hotel are driving growth. Public debt increased in 2017 in large part due to hurricane reconstruction and relief financing. The primary fiscal balance was a deficit of 0.4% of GDP in 2016. The Bahamas is the only country in the Western Hemisphere that is not a member of the World Trade Organization.

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$12.1 billion (2020 est.)

$14.45 billion (2019 est.)

$14.28 billion (2018 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 158

Real GDP growth rate

1.4% (2017 est.)

-1.7% (2016 est.)

1% (2015 est.)

country comparison to the world: 158

Real GDP per capita

$30,800 (2020 est.)

$37,100 (2019 est.)

$37,000 (2018 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 64

GDP (official exchange rate)

$12.16 billion (2017 est.)

Credit ratings

Moody's rating: Ba2 (2020)

Standard & Poors rating: BB- (2020)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 2.3% (2017 est.)

industry: 7.7% (2017 est.)

services: 90% (2017 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 68% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 13% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 26.3% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 0.7% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 33.7% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -41.8% (2017 est.)

Agricultural products

sugar cane, grapefruit, vegetables, bananas, tomatoes, poultry, tropical fruit, oranges, coconuts, mangoes/guavas


tourism, banking, oil bunkering, maritime industries, transshipment and logistics, salt, aragonite, pharmaceuticals

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 3%

industry: 11%

services: 49%

tourism: 37% (2011 est.)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 25.8%

male: 20.8%

female: 31.6% (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 51

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 1%

highest 10%: 22% (2007 est.)


revenues: 2.139 billion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 2.46 billion (2017 est.)

Public debt

54.6% of GDP (2017 est.)

50.5% of GDP (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 80

Fiscal year

1 July - 30 June

Current account balance

-$1.909 billion (2017 est.)

-$868 million (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 166


$1.69 billion (2020 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

$5.14 billion (2019 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

$4.75 billion (2018 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

country comparison to the world: 160

Exports - partners

Poland 32%, United States 17%, Ecuador 9%, China 6%, Japan 5% (2019)

Exports - commodities

ships, refined petroleum, nitrogen compounds, crustaceans, styrene polymers (2019)


$3.64 billion (2020 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

$4.91 billion (2019 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

$5.12 billion (2018 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

country comparison to the world: 153

Imports - partners

United States 31%, South Korea 29%, Japan 14% (2019)

Imports - commodities

ships, refined petroleum, crude petroleum, recreational boats, cars (2019)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$1.522 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$1.002 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 125

Debt - external

$17.56 billion (31 December 2013 est.)

$16.35 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 98

Exchange rates

Bahamian dollars (BSD) per US dollar -

1 (2017 est.)

1 (2016 est.)

1 (2015 est.)

1 (2014 est.)

1 (2013 est.)


Electricity access

electrification - total population: 100% (2020)

Electricity - from fossil fuels

100% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 1


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 91,000 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 23 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 139

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 466,000 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 119 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 175

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: the telecom sector has seen a decline in subscriber numbers (particularly for prepaid mobile services the mainstay of short term visitors) and revenue; fixed and mobile broadband services are two areas that have benefited from the crisis as employees and students have resorted to working from home; one major casualty may be the region’s second largest telco operator, Digicel; the company filed for bankruptcy in the US in April 2020; it continues to operate in all of its Caribbean markets as it seeks to refinance billions of dollars of debt; the other major telco, regional incumbent Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC), is experiencing similar drops in subscriber numbers and revenue; CWC is expanding and enhancing its fixed and mobile networks in many of the countries it serves around the Caribbean, despite many locations being small islands with very small populations; one area of the telecom market that is not prepared for growth is 5G mobile; governments, regulators, and even the mobile network operators have shown that they have not been investing in 5G opportunities at the present time; network expansion and enhancements remain concentrated around improving LTE coverage. (2021)

domestic: 23 per 100 fixed-line, 109 per 100 mobile-cellular (2019)

international: country code - 1-242; landing points for the ARCOS-1, BICS, Bahamas 2-US, and BDSN fiber-optic submarine cables that provide links to South and Central America, parts of the Caribbean, and the US; satellite earth stations - 2; the Bahamas Domestic Submarine Network links all of the major islands; (2019)

note: the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a significant impact on production and supply chains globally; since 2020, some aspects of the telecom sector have experienced downturn, particularly in mobile device production; many network operators delayed upgrades to infrastructure; progress towards 5G implementation was postponed or slowed in some countries; consumer spending on telecom services and devices was affected by large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes; the crucial nature of telecom services as a tool for work and school from home became evident, and received some support from governments

Broadcast media

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 4 privately owned TV stations; multi-channel cable TV subscription service is widely available; there are 32 licensed broadcast (radio) service providers, 31 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 (2019)

Internet users

total: 342,126 (2020 est.)

percent of population: 87% (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 169

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 83,000 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 21 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 130


National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 5 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 35

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 1,197,116 (2018)

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 160,000 (2018) mt-km

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 (2021)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 37

1,524 to 2,437 m: 4

914 to 1,523 m: 16

under 914 m: 17 (2021)


1 (2021)


total: 2,700 km (2011)

paved: 1,620 km (2011)

unpaved: 1,080 km (2011)

country comparison to the world: 166

Merchant marine

total: 1,323

by type: bulk carrier 333, container ship 45, general cargo 64, oil tanker 224, other 657 (2021)

country comparison to the world: 19

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Freeport, Nassau, South Riding Point

cruise port(s): Nassau

container port(s) (TEUs): Freeport (1,396,568) (2019)

Military and Security

Military and security forces

Royal Bahamas Defense Force (RBDF): includes land, air, maritime elements (2022)

note - the Royal Bahamas Police Force maintains internal security; the Defense Force is primarily responsible for external security but also provides security at a detention center for migrants and performs some domestic security functions, such as guarding embassies; both report to the minister of national security 

Military expenditures

0.9% of GDP (2021 est.)

0.9% of GDP (2020)

0.7% of GDP (2019)

0.7% of GDP (2018)

0.7% of GDP (2017)

country comparison to the world: 136

Military and security service personnel strengths

approximately 1,500 total personnel (2022)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

most of the RBDF's major equipment inventory is supplied by the Netherlands (2022)

Military service age and obligation

18 years of age for voluntary male and female service; no conscription (2022)

Military - note

the RBDF was established in 1980; its primary responsibilities are disaster relief, maritime security, and counter-narcotics operations; it is a naval force, but includes a lightly-armed marine infantry/commando squadron for base and internal security, as well as a few light non-combat aircraft; the maritime element has coastal patrol craft and patrol boats; the RBDF maintains training relationships with the UK and the US  (2022)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

The Bahamas-US (Maritime Boundary): In declaring its archipelagic waters and 200 nm EEZ in 1993 legislation, The Bahamas did not delimit the outer limits of the EEZ; but in areas where EEZs overlap with neighbors, The Bahamas agreed to equidistance as a line of separation.  However, The Bahamas has yet to define maritime boundaries with any of its neighbors, including the United States, whose Florida coast lays about 70 nm from Grand Bahama Island.

Illicit drugs

a significant transit point for illegal drugs bound for the United States; illicit production of marijuana continues