November 29, 2008


Bahamas (BS)

Population: 307,451

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 have prospered through tourism and international banking and investment management. Because of its geography, 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.


Strategic location adjacent to US and Cuba; extensive island chain of which 30 are inhabited.
Location:Caribbean, chain of islands in the North Atlantic Ocean, southeast of Florida, northeast of Cuba
Geographic coordinates:24 15 N, 76 00 W
Area:total: 13,940 sq km
land: 10,070 sq km
water: 3,870 sq km
Size comparison: slightly smaller than Connecticut
Land Boundaries: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 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 (2003)
Natural hazards:hurricanes and other tropical storms cause extensive flood and wind damage

Current Environment Issues:coral reef decay; solid waste disposal
International Environment 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

Population:307,451 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 2008 est.)

Age structure:0-14 years: 26.4% (male 40,608/female 40,506)
15-64 years: 66.9% (male 101,150/female 104,457)
65 years and over: 6.7% (male 8,472/female 12,258) (2008 est.)

Median age:total: 28.4 years
male: 27.6 years
female: 29.2 years (2008 est.)

Population growth rate:0.57% (2008 est.)

Birth rate:17.06 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate:9.22 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Net migration rate:-2.14 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Sex ratio:at birth: 1.02 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.69 male(s)/female
total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2008 est.)

Infant mortality rate:total: 23.67 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 28.89 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 18.34 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:total population: 65.72 years
male: 62.5 years
female: 69 years (2008 est.)

Total fertility rate:2.13 children born/woman (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:3% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:5,600 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:fewer than 200 (2003 est.)

Nationality:noun: Bahamian(s)
adjective: Bahamian

Ethnic groups:black 85%, white 12%, Asian and Hispanic 3%

Religions:Baptist 35.4%, Anglican 15.1%, Roman Catholic 13.5%, Pentecostal 8.1%, Church of God 4.8%, Methodist 4.2%, other Christian 15.2%, none or unspecified 2.9%, other 0.8% (2000 census)

Languages:English (official), Creole (among Haitian immigrants)

Literacy:definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 95.6%
male: 94.7%
female: 96.5% (2003 est.)

Country name:conventional long form: Commonwealth of The Bahamas
conventional short form: The Bahamas

Government type:constitutional parliamentary democracy

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

Administrative divisions:21 districts; Acklins and Crooked Islands, Bimini, Cat Island, Exuma, Freeport, Fresh Creek, Governor's Harbour, Green Turtle Cay, Harbour Island, High Rock, Inagua, Kemps Bay, Long Island, Marsh Harbour, Mayaguana, New Providence, Nichollstown and Berry Islands, Ragged Island, Rock Sound, Sandy Point, San Salvador and Rum Cay

Independence:10 July 1973 (from UK)
National holiday:Independence Day, 10 July (1973)
Constitution:10 July 1973
Legal system:based on English common law
Suffrage:18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Arthur D. HANNA (since 1 February 2006)
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 monarch 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 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:ACP, C, Caricom, CDB, FAO, G-77, IADB, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt (signatory), ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ITSO, ITU, LAES, MIGA, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW (signatory), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)

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 Ned L. SIEGEL
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

Executive branch:chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Arthur D. HANNA (since 1 February 2006) 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 monarch 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

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. Steady growth in tourism receipts and a boom in construction of new hotels, resorts, and residences had led to solid GDP growth in recent years, but tourist arrivals have been on the decline since 2006. 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, since December 2000, when the government enacted new regulations on the financial sector, many international businesses have left The Bahamas. 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. Tourism, in turn, depends on growth in the US, the source of more than 80% of the visitors.

GDP (purchasing power parity):$8.553 billion (2007 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):$6.586 billion (2007 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:2.8% (2007 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):$28,000 (2007 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:agriculture: 3%
industry: 7%
services: 90% (2001 est.)

Labor force:181,900 (2006)
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 or consumption by percentage share:lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: 27% (2000)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):2.4% (2007 est.)
Budget:revenues: $1.03 billion
expenditures: $1.03 billion (FY04/05)

Agriculture - products:citrus, vegetables; poultry
Industries:tourism, banking, cement, oil transshipment, salt, rum, aragonite, pharmaceuticals, spiral-welded steel pipe

Industrial production growth rate:NA%

Electricity - production:1.894 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - consumption:1.762 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - exports:0 kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports:0 kWh (2005)

Oil - production:0 bbl/day (2005)
Oil - consumption:26,000 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - exports:transshipments of 41,290 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - imports:68,250 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - proved reserves:0 bbl (1 January 2006 est.)

Natural gas - production:0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - exports:0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - imports:0 cu m (2005)
Natural gas - proved reserves:0 cu m (1 January 2006 est.)

Current account balance:-$1.442 billion (2007 est.)
Exports:$674 million (2006)
Exports - commodities:mineral products and salt, animal products, rum, chemicals, fruit and vegetables

Exports - partners:US 21.2%, Singapore 16.1%, Spain 15.1%, Poland 14.9%, Germany 6.9%, Guatemala 5.9% (2007)
Imports:$2.401 billion (2006)
Imports - commodities:machinery and transport equipment, manufactures, chemicals, mineral fuels; food and live animals

Imports - partners:US 22.7%, Brazil 16.6%, Japan 11.5%, South Korea 8.2%, Italy 6.3%, Singapore 4.4% (2007)
Debt - external:$342.6 million (2004 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares:$NACurrency (code):Bahamian dollar (BSD)

Exchange rates:Bahamian dollars per US dollar - 1 (2007), 1 (2006), 1 (2005), 1 (2004), 1 (2003)

Fiscal year:1 July - 30 June

Telephones in use:132,900 (2007)
Cellular Phones in use:374,000 (2007)
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)

Radio broadcast stations:AM 3, FM 5, shortwave 0 (2006)
Television broadcast stations:2 (2006)

Internet country
Internet hosts:41 (2008)
Internet users:120,000 (2007)

Airports:62 (2007)
Airports (paved runways):total: 24
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 12
914 to 1,523 m: 7 (2007)

Airports (unpaved runways):total: 38
1,524 to 2,437 m: 5
914 to 1,523 m: 11
under 914 m: 22 (2007)

Heliports:1 (2007)

Roadways:total: 2,717 km
paved: 1,560 km
unpaved: 1,133 km (2002)

Merchant marine:total: 1,223
by type: barge carrier 1, bulk carrier 210, cargo 226, carrier 2, chemical tanker 88, combination ore/oil 12, container 65, liquefied gas 77, passenger 109, passenger/cargo 35, petroleum tanker 209, refrigerated cargo 119, roll on/roll off 16, specialized tanker 3, vehicle carrier 51
foreign-owned: 1,150 (Angola 6, Belgium 15, Bermuda 12, Brazil 2, Canada 84, China 10, Croatia 1, Cuba 1, Cyprus 25, Denmark 67, Finland 9, France 30, Germany 44, Greece 209, Hong Kong 30, Iceland 1, Indonesia 2, Ireland 2, Isle of Man 1, Italy 4, Japan 87, Jordan 2, Kenya 1, Malaysia 13, Monaco 15, Montenegro 2, Netherlands 9, Nigeria 2, Norway 189, Poland 17, Russia 4, Saudi Arabia 16, Singapore 17, Slovenia 1, South Africa 1, Spain 14, Sweden 4, Switzerland 1, Thailand 5, Trinidad and Tobago 1, Turkey 8, UAE 23, UK 56, US 106, Venezuela 1)
registered in other countries: 12 (Bolivia 1, Panama 9, Peru 1, Portugal 1) (2008)

Ports and terminals:Freeport, Nassau, South Riding Point

Military branches:Royal Bahamian Defense Force: Land Force, Navy, Air Wing (2007)
Military service age and obligation:18 years of age (est.); no conscription (2008)
Manpower available for military service:males age 16-49: 80,200 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:males age 16-49: 50,282 (2008 est.)

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