Photos of Bahamas, The

The "wreck" of the Flying Dutchman, "marooned" at the resort island of Castaway Cay. According to folklore, the Flying Dutchman is a ghost ship doomed to sail the oceans forever.

Introduction

Background

Lucayan Indians inhabited the Bahama islands when Christopher COLUMBUS first set foot in the New World 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 gaining 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 is only 80 km (50 mi) from Florida -- the country is a major transshipment point for illicit trafficking to the US mainland, as well as to Europe. US law enforcement agencies cooperate closely with The Bahamas; the Drug Enforcement Administration, US Coast Guard, and US Customs and Border Protection assist Bahamian authorities with 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.

Geography

Location

chain of islands in the North Atlantic Ocean, southeast of Florida, northeast of Cuba; note - although The Bahamas does not border the Caribbean Sea, geopolitically it is often designated as a Caribbean nation

Geographic coordinates

24 15 N, 76 00 W

Map references

Central America and the Caribbean

Area

total: 13,880 sq km

land: 10,010 sq km

water: 3,870 sq km

comparison ranking: total 160

Area - comparative

slightly smaller than Connecticut

Area comparison map:
Area comparison map

Land boundaries

total: 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

highest point: 1.3 km NE of Old Bight on Cat Island 64 m

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

People and Society

Population

total: 410,862

male: 190,100

female: 220,762 (2024 est.)

comparison rankings: female 175; male 177; total 176

Nationality

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

Languages

English (official), Creole (among Haitian immigrants)

Religions

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%, Plymouth Brethren 1.6%, other Protestant 0.9%), 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: 21.4% (male 41,675/female 46,363)

15-64 years: 70% (male 132,626/female 154,866)

65 years and over: 8.6% (2024 est.) (male 15,799/female 19,533)

2023 population pyramid:
2023 population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 39.3

youth dependency ratio: 27.3

elderly dependency ratio: 11.9

potential support ratio: 8.4 (2021 est.)

Median age

total: 30.7 years (2024 est.)

male: 30.6 years

female: 30.7 years

comparison ranking: total 133

Population growth rate

1.07% (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 88

Birth rate

13.1 births/1,000 population (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 132

Death rate

5.6 deaths/1,000 population (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 175

Net migration rate

3.2 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 34

Population distribution

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

Urbanization

urban population: 83.6% of total population (2023)

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

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Major urban areas - population

280,000 NASSAU (capital) (2018)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 0.9 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 0.86 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.81 male(s)/female

total population: 0.86 male(s)/female (2024 est.)

Maternal mortality ratio

77 deaths/100,000 live births (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 77

Infant mortality rate

total: 9.4 deaths/1,000 live births (2024 est.)

male: 10.5 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 8.2 deaths/1,000 live births

comparison ranking: total 138

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 76.7 years (2024 est.)

male: 75.1 years

female: 78.4 years

comparison ranking: total population 104

Total fertility rate

1.44 children born/woman (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 209

Gross reproduction rate

0.71 (2024 est.)

Drinking water source

improved: total: 98.9% of population

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

Current health expenditure

7.6% of GDP (2020)

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.)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

31.6% (2016)

comparison ranking: 21

Alcohol consumption per capita

total: 9.48 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

beer: 3.66 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

wine: 1.43 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

spirits: 4.08 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

other alcohols: 0.31 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total 29

Tobacco use

total: 10.6% (2020 est.)

male: 18.8% (2020 est.)

female: 2.4% (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 134

Education expenditures

2.8% of GDP (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: 164

Literacy

total population: NA

male: NA

female: NA

Environment

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

Climate

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.)

Urbanization

urban population: 83.6% of total population (2023)

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

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Revenue from forest resources

0.01% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 147

Revenue from coal

0% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 154

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 5.2 micrograms per cubic meter (2019 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 1.79 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 0.23 megatons (2020 est.)

Waste and recycling

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

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 30 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

Total renewable water resources

700 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

Government

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

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

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

Independence

10 July 1973 (from the UK)

National holiday

Independence Day, 10 July (1973)

Constitution

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

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

Suffrage

18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: King CHARLES III (since 8 September 2022); represented by Governor-General Cynthia A. PRATT (since 1 September 2023)

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 parliamentary elections, the leader of the majority party or majority coalition is 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 statutory, 38 seats current; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote to serve 5-year terms)

elections: Senate - last appointments on 7 October 2021 (next appointments by 31 October 2026)
House of Assembly - last held on 16 September 2021 (next to be held by September 2026)

election results: Senate - appointed: PLP 12, FNM 4; composition - men 12, women 4, percentage women 25%

House of Assembly - percent of vote by party - PLP 52.5%, FNM 36.2%; seats by party - PLP 32, FNM 7; composition - men 32, women 7, percentage women 18%; total Parliament percentage women 20%

note: Parliament sits for 5 years from the date of the last general election: the government may dissolve the parliament and call elections at any time

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Court of Appeal (consists of the court president and 6 justices, organized in 3-member panels); Supreme Court (consists of the chief justice and 19 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; Magistrates' Courts; Family Island Administrators (can also serve as magistrates)

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

Coalition of Independents Party or COI [Lincoln BAIN]
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

ACP, ACS, 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)

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:
embassy@bahamasembdc.org

https://www.bahamasembdc.org/

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

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Chargé 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:
acsnassau@state.gov

https://bs.usembassy.gov/

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 King" serves as the royal anthem (see United Kingdom)

Economy

Economic overview

high-income tourism and financial services economy; major income inequality; strong US bilateral relations; several tax relief programs; targeted investment in agriculture, energy, light manufacturing, and technology industries

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$14.211 billion (2022 est.)
$12.426 billion (2021 est.)
$10.622 billion (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 158

Real GDP growth rate

14.37% (2022 est.)
16.98% (2021 est.)
-23.51% (2020 est.)

note: annual GDP % growth based on constant local currency

comparison ranking: 6

Real GDP per capita

$34,700 (2022 est.)
$30,500 (2021 est.)
$26,100 (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 63

GDP (official exchange rate)

$12.897 billion (2022 est.)

note: data in current dollars at official exchange rate

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

5.61% (2022 est.)
2.9% (2021 est.)
0.04% (2020 est.)

note: annual % change based on consumer prices

comparison ranking: 86

Credit ratings

Moody's rating: Ba2 (2020)

Standard & Poors rating: BB- (2020)

note: The year refers to the year in which the current credit rating was first obtained.

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 2.3% (2017 est.)

industry: 7.7% (2017 est.)

services: 90% (2017 est.)

comparison rankings: services 10; industry 211; agriculture 167

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

sugarcane, grapefruits, vegetables, bananas, tomatoes, chicken, tropical fruits, oranges, coconuts, mangoes/guavas (2022)

note: top ten agricultural products based on tonnage

Industries

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

Industrial production growth rate

10.18% (2022 est.)

note: annual % change in industrial value added based on constant local currency

comparison ranking: 21

Labor force

238,000 (2022 est.)

note: number of people ages 15 or older who are employed or seeking work

comparison ranking: 174

Unemployment rate

10.09% (2022 est.)
11.58% (2021 est.)
12.56% (2020 est.)

note: % of labor force seeking employment

comparison ranking: 165

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 30.8% (2021 est.)

male: 27.5%

female: 35.6%

comparison ranking: total 35

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 1%

highest 10%: 22% (2007 est.)

Budget

revenues: $2.087 billion (2020 est.)

expenditures: $2.899 billion (2020 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-2.6% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 114

Public debt

83.68% of GDP (2022 est.)
86.19% of GDP (2021 est.)
83.97% of GDP (2020 est.)

note: central government debt as a % of GDP

comparison ranking: 36

Taxes and other revenues

16.73% (of GDP) (2022 est.)

note: central government tax revenue as a % of GDP

comparison ranking: 118

Current account balance

-$1.763 billion (2022 est.)
-$2.434 billion (2021 est.)
-$2.285 billion (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - net trade and primary/secondary income in current dollars

comparison ranking: 144

Exports

$4.744 billion (2022 est.)
$3.33 billion (2021 est.)
$1.688 billion (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - exports of goods and services in current dollars

comparison ranking: 140

Exports - partners

US 49%, Cote d'Ivoire 20%, Germany 9%, Thailand 7%, Poland 4% (2022)

note: top five export partners based on percentage share of exports

Exports - commodities

refined petroleum, ships, aluminum, postage stamps/documents, plastics (2022)

note: top five export commodities based on value in dollars

Imports

$5.692 billion (2022 est.)
$4.947 billion (2021 est.)
$3.411 billion (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - imports of goods and services in current dollars

comparison ranking: 145

Imports - partners

US 59%, South Korea 6%, Germany 6%, China 5%, Brazil 4% (2022)

note: top five import partners based on percentage share of imports

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, ships, cars, crude petroleum, coal tar oil (2022)

note: top five import commodities based on value in dollars

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$2.609 billion (2022 est.)
$2.433 billion (2021 est.)
$2.382 billion (2020 est.)

note: holdings of gold (year-end prices)/foreign exchange/special drawing rights in current dollars

comparison ranking: 125

Debt - external

$17.56 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$16.35 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

comparison ranking: 98

Exchange rates

Bahamian dollars (BSD) per US dollar -

Exchange rates:
1 (2022 est.)
1 (2021 est.)
1 (2020 est.)
1 (2019 est.)
1 (2018 est.)

Energy

Electricity access

electrification - total population: 100% (2021)

Electricity

installed generating capacity: 578,000 kW (2020 est.)

consumption: 2,103,248,000 kWh (2019 est.)

exports: 0 kWh (2019 est.)

imports: 0 kWh (2020 est.)

transmission/distribution losses: 245,000 kWh (2019 est.)

comparison rankings: imports 159; installed generating capacity 148; transmission/distribution losses 4; exports 145; consumption 146

Electricity generation sources

fossil fuels: 99.8% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

nuclear: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

solar: 0.2% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

wind: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

hydroelectricity: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

tide and wave: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

geothermal: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

biomass and waste: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

Coal

production: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

consumption: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

exports: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

imports: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

proven reserves: 0 metric tons (2019 est.)

Petroleum

total petroleum production: 0 bbl/day (2021 est.)

refined petroleum consumption: 25,800 bbl/day (2019 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate exports: 0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate imports: 0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil estimated reserves: 0 barrels (2021 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 209

Refined petroleum products - exports

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 143

Refined petroleum products - imports

19,150 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 123

Natural gas

production: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

consumption: 4.417 million cubic meters (2019 est.)

exports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

imports: 4.417 million cubic meters (2019 est.)

proven reserves: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions

3.984 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from coal and metallurgical coke: 0 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from petroleum and other liquids: 3.976 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from consumed natural gas: 7,000 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total emissions 142

Energy consumption per capita

140.505 million Btu/person (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 37

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 86,000 (2022 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 21 (2022 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 142

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 404,000 (2022 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 99 (2022 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 177

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: the two local providers ensure  good telecoms coverage across the archipelago; fiber-to-home investments have been prioritized with 5G adoption pending (2023)

domestic: 22 per 100 fixed-line, 115 per 100 mobile-cellular (2020)

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)

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: 385,400 (2021 est.)

percent of population: 94% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total 173

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 83,000 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 21 (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 130

Transportation

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

55 (2024)

comparison ranking: 83

Heliports

9 (2024)

Roadways

total: 2,700 km

paved: 1,620 km

unpaved: 1,080 km (2011)

comparison ranking: total 169

Merchant marine

total: 1,274 (2023)

by type: bulk carrier 345, container ship 39, general cargo 58, oil tanker 193, other 639

comparison ranking: total 19

Ports

total ports: 6 (2024)

large: 0

medium: 1

small: 1

very small: 4

ports with oil terminals: 4

key ports: Clifton Pier, Cockburn Town, Freeport, Matthew Town, Nassau, South Riding Point

Military and Security

Military and security forces

Royal Bahamas Defense Force (RBDF): includes land, air, maritime elements; Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) (2024)

note: the RBPF maintains internal security; both the RBDF and the RBPF, as well as the Department of Corrections, report to the Minister of National Security

Military expenditures

0.8% of GDP (2022 est.)
0.9% of GDP (2021)
0.9% of GDP (2020)
0.7% of GDP (2019)
0.7% of GDP (2018)

comparison ranking: 138

Military and security service personnel strengths

approximately 1,700 active RBDF personnel (2024)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

most of the RBDF's major equipment inventory has been acquired from the Netherlands (2023)

Military service age and obligation

18-30 years of age for voluntary service for men and women (18-60 for Reserves); no conscription (2024)

Military - note

established in 1980; the RBDF's primary responsibilities are disaster relief, maritime security, and counter-narcotics operations; it also provides security at a detention center for migrants and performs some domestic security functions, such as guarding embassies; the RBDF 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 (2024)

Transnational Issues

Illicit drugs

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