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Flag of the Bahamas

Country Profile

Capital City
: Nassau on the island New Providence.

Other Cities: Freeport (on Grand Bahama)

Local Time
: UTC -4h

The Bahamas extends 760 miles from the coast of Florida on the north-west almost to Haiti on the south-east. The group consists of 700 islands, of which 30 are inhabited, and about 2,400 cays (coral reefs).
Location: Caribbean, chain of islands in the North Atlantic Ocean, southeast of Florida, northeast of Cuba.
Area: 13 939 sq. km. (5 382 sq. mi.); Terrain: long, low flat coral formations with some low rounded hills.

Climate: Semitropical to tropical marine; moderated by warm waters of Gulf Stream.

Type: Constitutional parliamentary democracy.
Independence: 10 July 1973 (from UK). Constitution: 10 July 1973.

Nationality: Noun and adjective--Bahamian(s).
Population (census 2000): 303 611

GNI per capita PPP: $ 19 139 (year) Ethnic groups: African 85%, European 12%, Asian and Hispanic 3%. Religions: Baptist predominant (32%), Roman Catholic, Anglican, Evangelical Protestants, Methodist, Church of God. Language: English (official); some Creole among Haitian groups. Literacy: 93%.


Currency: Bahamian Dollar (BSD)

Natural resources: Salt, aragonite, timber, arable land. Agriculture - products: Citrus, vegetables; poultry.


Bahamas, The

Background:  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 its territory is used for smuggling illegal migrants into the US.

Geography Bahamas, The

Location:  Caribbean, chain of islands in the North Atlantic Ocean,
southeast of Florida

Geographic coordinates:  24 15 N, 76 00 W

Map references:  Central America and the Caribbean

Area:  total: 13,940 sq km water: 3,870 sq km land: 10,070 sq km

Area - comparative:  slightly smaller than Connecticut

Land boundaries:  0 km

Coastline:  3,542 km

Maritime claims:  exclusive economic zone: 200 NM territorial sea: 12 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: 1% permanent crops: 0% other: 99% (1998 est.)

Irrigated land:  NA sq km

Natural hazards:  hurricanes and other tropical storms cause extensive
flood and wind damage

Environment - current issues:  coral reef decay; solid waste disposal

Environment - international agreements:  party to: Biodiversity, Climate
Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, 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

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

People Bahamas, The

Population:  300,529 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 and death rates, lower
population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population
by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2002 est.)

Age structure:  0-14 years: 29% (male 43,964; female 43,250) 15-64 years:
64.7% (male 95,508; female 98,859) 65 years and over: 6.3% (male 7,948;
female 11,000) (2002 est.)

Population growth rate:  0.86% (2002 est.)

Birth rate:  18.69 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate:  7.49 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate:  -2.63 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Sex ratio:  at birth: 1.02 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.02
male(s)/female 15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female 65 years and over:
0.72 male(s)/female total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2002 est.)

Infant mortality rate:  17.08 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:   73.49 years (2002 est.)  male: Total fertility
rate:  2.28 children born/woman (2002 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:  4.13% (1999 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:  6,900 (1999 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:  500 (1999 est.)

Nationality:  noun: Bahamian(s) adjective: Bahamian

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

Religions:  Baptist 32%, Anglican 20%, Roman Catholic 19%, Methodist 6%,
Church of God 6%, other Protestant 12%, none or unknown 3%, other 2%

Languages:  English, Creole (among Haitian immigrants)

Literacy:  definition: age 15 and over can read and write total
population: 98.2% male: 98.5% female: 98% (1995 est.)

Government Bahamas, The

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

Government type:  constitutional parliamentary democracy

Capital:  Nassau

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 Ivy DUMONT (since NA May 2002)
head of government:  Cynthia PRATT (since 7 May 2002) cabinet: Cabinet
appointed by the governor general on the prime minister's recommendation
elections: none; the monarch is hereditary; governor general appointed
by the monarch; prime minister and deputy prime minister appointed by
the governor general

Legislative branch:  bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate
(16-member body appointed by the governor general upon the advice
of the prime minister and the opposition leader for five-year terms)
and the House of Assembly (40 seats; members elected by direct popular
vote to serve five-year terms) elections: last held NA March 2002 (next
to be held by March 2007) election results: percent of vote by party -
PLP 50.8%, FNM 41.1%, independents 5.2%; seats by party - PLP 29, FNM 7,
independents 4

Judicial branch:  Supreme Court; Court of Appeal; magistrates courts

Political parties and leaders:  Free National Movement or FNM
[leader-designate Tommy TURNQUEST]; Progressive Liberal Party or PLP

Political pressure groups and leaders:  NA

International organization participation:  ACP, C, Caricom, CCC, CDB,
IMO, Interpol, IOC, ITU, LAES, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW (signatory), UN,

Diplomatic representation in the US:  chief of mission: Ambassador Joshua
SEARS consulate(s) general: Miami and
 [1] (202) 319-2660 chancery:
Diplomatic representation from the US:  chief of mission: Ambassador
J. Richard BLANKENSHIP embassy: Queen Street, Nassau mailing address:
local or express mail address: P. O. Box N-8197, Nassau; stateside
address: American Embassy Nassau, P. O.  Box 599009, Miami, FL 33159-9009;
pouch address: Nassau, Department of State,
 [1] (242) 322-1181, 328-2206 FAX:
Flag description:  three equal horizontal bands of aquamarine (top), gold,
and aquamarine, with a black equilateral triangle based on the hoist side

Economy Bahamas, The

Economy - overview:  The Bahamas is a stable, developing nation with
an economy heavily dependent on tourism and offshore banking. Tourism
alone accounts for more than 60% of GDP and directly or indirectly
employs almost half of the archipelago's labor force. Steady growth in
tourism receipts and a boom in construction of new hotels, resorts, and
residences have led to solid GDP growth in recent years. Manufacturing
and agriculture together 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, which depends on growth in the US,
the source of the majority of tourist visitors.

GDP:  purchasing power parity - $5 billion (2001 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:  3.5% (2001)

GDP - per capita:  purchasing power parity - $16,800 (2000 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:  agriculture: 3% industry: 7% services: 90%
(1999 est.)

Population below poverty line:  NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share:  lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Inflation rate (consumer prices):  1.5% (2001 est.)

Labor force:  156,000 (1999)

Labor force - by occupation:  tourism 40%, other services 50%, industry
5%, agriculture 5% (1995 est.)

Unemployment rate:  6.9% (2001 est.)

Budget:  revenues: $918.5 million expenditures: $956.5 million, including
capital expenditures of $106.7 million (FY99/00)

Industries:  tourism, banking, cement, oil refining and transshipment,
salt, rum, aragonite, pharmaceuticals, spiral-welded steel pipe

Industrial production growth rate:  NA%

Electricity - production:  1.54 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - production by source:  fossil fuel: 100% hydro: 0% other: 0%
(2000) nuclear: 0%

Electricity - consumption:  1.432 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - exports:  0 kWh (2000)

Electricity - imports:  0 kWh (2000)

Agriculture - products:  citrus, vegetables; poultry

Exports:  $535.8 million (2000)

Exports - commodities:  fish and crawfish; rum, salt, chemicals; fruit
and vegetables (1999)

Exports - partners:  US 28.2%, France 16.5%, Germany 14.1%, UK 12.4%

Imports:  $1.88 billion (2000)

Imports - commodities:  machinery and transport equipment, manufactures,
chemicals, mineral fuels; food and live animals (1999)

Imports - partners:  US 31.6%, South Korea 18.2%, Italy 17.4%, Japan 5.8%

Debt - external:  $381.9 million (2000)

Economic aid - recipient:  $9.8 million (1995)

Currency:  Bahamian dollar (BSD)

Currency code:  BSD

Exchange rates:  Bahamian dollars per US dollar - 1.000 (fixed rate
pegged to the dollar)

Fiscal year:  1 July - 30 June

Communications Bahamas, The

Telephones - main lines in use:  96,000 (1997)

Telephones - mobile cellular:  6,152 (1997)

Telephone system:  general assessment: modern facilities domestic:
totally automatic system; highly developed international: tropospheric
scatter and submarine cable to Florida; 3 coaxial submarine cables;
satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (1997)

Radio broadcast stations:  AM 3, FM 4, shortwave 0 (1998)

Radios:  215,000 (1997)

Television broadcast stations:  1 (1997)

Televisions:  67,000 (1997)

Internet country code:  .bs

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):  19 (2000)

Internet users:  13,100 (2001)

Transportation Bahamas, The

Railways:  0 km

Highways:  total: 2,693 km paved: 1,546 km unpaved: 1,147 km (1997)

Waterways:  none

Ports and harbors:  Freeport, Matthew Town, Nassau

Merchant marine:  total: 1,076 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling
31,309,187 GRT/45,859,485 DWT ships by type: bulk 159, cargo 246, chemical
tanker 41, combination bulk 13, combination ore/oil 22, container 80,
liquefied gas 28, livestock carrier 2, multi-functional large-load carrier
8, passenger 88, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 178, railcar carrier
1, refrigerated cargo 120, roll on/roll off 49, short-sea passenger 16,
specialized tanker 2, vehicle carrier 22 note: includes some foreign-owned
ships registered here as a flag of convenience: Angola 1, Argentina
1, Australia 4, Belgium 18, Bermuda 1, Canada 5, Chile 1, China 3,
Croatia 2, Cuba 3, Cyprus 2, Denmark 27, Ecuador 1, Estonia 2, Finland
9, France 15, Germany 26, Greece 173, Hong Kong 6, India 2, Indonesia 2,
Ireland 1, Israel 3, Italy 9, Jamaica 1, Japan 32, Kenya 3, Malaysia 10,
Malta 2, Monaco 67, Netherlands 32, New Zealand 2, Norway 237, Panama 2,
Philippines 3, Poland 13, Reunion 1, Russia 6, Saudi Arabia 9, Singapore
13, Slovenia 1, South Korea 2, Spain 7, Sweden 12, Switzerland 8, Thailand
1, Trinidad and Tobago 2, Turkey 2, Ukraine 2, United Arab Emirates 10,
United Kingdom 107, United States 159, Uruguay 1 (2002 est.)

Airports:  67 (2001)

Airports - with paved runways:  total: 32 over 3,047 m: 3 2,438 to 3,047
m: 4 914 to 1,523 m: 10 under 914 m: 3 (2001) 1,524 to 2,437 m: 12

Airports - with unpaved runways:  total: 35 1,524 to 2,437 m: 3 914 to
1,523 m: 9 under 914 m: 23 (2001)

Heliports:  1 (2001)

Military Bahamas, The

Military branches:  Royal Bahamas Defense Force (Coast Guard only),
Royal Bahamas Police Force

Military expenditures - dollar figure:  $20 million (FY95/96)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP:  0.7% (FY99)

Transnational Issues Bahamas, The

Disputes - international:  none

Illicit drugs:  transshipment point for cocaine and marijuana bound for
US and Europe; banking industry vulnerable to money laundering

This page was last updated on 1 January 2002

Internet Sites

Official Sites of Bahamas
The Commonwealth of the Bahamas

Office of the Prime Minister

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Map of the Bahamas

Map of Central America and the Caribbean


The Freeport News

The Nassau Guardian

Arts & Culture
Antonius Roberts

Bahamas International Film Festival

Business & Economy
The Central Bank of The Bahamas

Bahamas Chamber of Commerce



The Bahamas

Bahamas Tourist Guide

Bahamas Vacation Guide

Grand Bahama Island Tourism

What's On Bahamas

College of The Bahamas

Bahamas National Parks

Ecosystems Of The Bahamas

Bahamian history

Grand Bahama Island History

Pirates of the Bahamas


Bahamas Web Directory




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