Bahamas, The

Country Summary

Introduction

Background

Lucayan Indians inhabited the islands when Christopher COLUMBUS first set foot in the New World on San Salvador in 1492. British settlement of the islands began in 1647. The islands became a colony in 1783. Since attaining independence from the UK in 1973, The Bahamas has prospered through tourism, international banking, and investment management.

Geography

Area

total: 13,880 sq km
land: 10,010 sq km
water: 3,870 sq km

Climate

tropical marine; moderated by warm waters of Gulf Stream

Natural resources

salt, aragonite, timber, arable land

People and Society

Population

358,508 (2023 est.)

Ethnic groups

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

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

Population growth rate

1.06% (2023 est.)

Government

Government type

parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy; a Commonwealth realm

Capital

name: Nassau

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)

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)

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)

$12.323 billion (2021 est.)
$10.836 billion (2020 est.)
$14.225 billion (2019 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$30,200 (2021 est.)
$26,700 (2020 est.)
$35,200 (2019 est.)

Agricultural products

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

Industries

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

Exports

$3.202 billion (2021 est.)
$1.65 billion (2020 est.)
$5.164 billion (2019 est.)

Exports - partners

United States 26%, Germany 16%, Singapore 13%, Poland 13%, Thailand 9% (2021)

Exports - commodities

refined petroleum, ships, aluminum, lobsters and crawfish, styrene polymers (2021)

Imports

$4.924 billion (2021 est.)
$3.411 billion (2020 est.)
$4.84 billion (2019 est.)

Imports - partners

United States 37%, South Korea 12%, Germany 9%, China 7%, Russia 6% (2021)

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, ships, aircraft, crude petroleum, floating docks (2021)

Exchange rates

Bahamian dollars (BSD) per US dollar -
Exchange rates:
1 (2021 est.)
1 (2020 est.)
1 (2019 est.)
1 (2018 est.)
1 (2017 est.)


Page last updated: Tuesday, February 20, 2024