[Country map of The Bahamas]

The Bahamas


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

Map references: Central America and the Caribbean

total area: 13,940 sq km
land area: 10,070 sq km
comparative area: slightly larger than Connecticut

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: 3,542 km

Maritime claims:
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 3 nm

International disputes: none

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

Terrain: long, flat coral formations with some low rounded hills

Natural resources: salt, aragonite, timber

Land use:
arable land: 1%
permanent crops: 0%
meadows and pastures: 0%
forest and woodland: 32%
other: 67%

Irrigated land: NA sq km

current issues: coral reef decay
natural hazards: hurricanes and other tropical storms that cause extensive flood and wind damage
international agreements: party to - Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution

Note: strategic location adjacent to US and Cuba; extensive island chain


Population: 256,616 (July 1995 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 28% (female 35,924; male 36,504)
15-64 years: 66% (female 87,868; male 82,780)
65 years and over: 6% (female 8,247; male 5,293) (July 1995 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.09% (1995 est.)

Birth rate: 19.23 births/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Death rate: 5.79 deaths/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Net migration rate: -2.56 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 24.3 deaths/1,000 live births (1995 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 72.12 years
male: 67.37 years
female: 76.97 years (1995 est.)

Total fertility rate: 2.01 children born/woman (1995 est.)

noun: Bahamian(s)
adjective: Bahamian

Ethnic divisions: black 85%, white 15%

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: age 15 and over can read and write but definition of literary not available (1963 est.)
total population: 90%
male: 90%
female: 89%

Labor force: 136,900 (1993)
by occupation: government 30%, hotels and restaurants 25%, business services 10%, agriculture 5% (1989)


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

Digraph: BF

Type: commonwealth

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, Nicholls Town and Berry Islands, Ragged Island, Rock Sound, Sandy Point, San Salvador and Rum Cay

Independence: 10 July 1973 (from UK)

National holiday: National 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 Sir Clifford DARLING (since 2 January 1992)
head of government: Prime Minister Hubert A. INGRAHAM (since 19 August 1992)
cabinet: Cabinet; appointed by the governor on the prime minister's recommendation

Legislative branch: bicameral Parliament
Senate: a 16-member body appointed by the governor general
House of Assembly: elections last held 19 August 1992 (next to be held by August 1997); results - percent of vote by party NA; seats - (49 total) FNM 32, PLP 17

Judicial branch: Supreme Court

Political parties and leaders: Progressive Liberal Party (PLP), Sir Lynden O. PINDLING; Free National Movement (FNM), Hubert Alexander INGRAHAM;


Diplomatic representation in US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Timothy Baswell DONALDSON
chancery: 2220 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 319-2660
FAX: [1] (202) 319-2668
consulate(s) general: Miami and New York

US diplomatic representation:
chief of mission: Ambassador Sidney WILLIAMS
embassy: Mosmar Building, Queen Street, Nassau
mailing address: P. O. Box N-8197, Nassau
telephone: [1] (809) 322-1181, 328-2206
FAX: [1] (809) 328-7838

Flag: three equal horizontal bands of aquamarine (top), gold, and aquamarine with a black equilateral triangle based on the hoist side


Overview: The Bahamas is a stable, developing nation whose economy is based primarily on tourism and offshore banking. Tourism alone provides about 50% of GDP and directly or indirectly employs about 50,000 people or 40% of the local work force. The economy has slackened in recent years, as the annual increase in the number of tourists slowed. Nonetheless, per capita GDP is one of the highest in the region.

National product: GDP - purchasing power parity - $4.4 billion (1994 est.)

National product real growth rate: 3.5% (1994 est.)

National product per capita: $15,900 (1994 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 2.7% (1994)

Unemployment rate: 13.1% (1993)

revenues: $696 million
expenditures: $756 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (FY94/95)

Exports: $257 million (f.o.b., 1993 est.)
commodities: pharmaceuticals, cement, rum, crawfish, refined petroleum products
partners: US 51%, UK 7%, Norway 7%, France 6%, Italy 5%

Imports: $1.15 billion (f.o.b,,1993 est.)
commodities: foodstuffs, manufactured goods, crude oil, vehicles, electronics
partners: US 55%, Japan 17%, Nigeria 12%, Denmark 7%, Norway 6%

External debt: $455 million (December 1993)

Industrial production: growth rate 3% (1990); accounts for 15% of GDP

capacity: 424,000 kW
production: 929 million kWh
consumption per capita: 3,200 kWh (1993)

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

Agriculture: accounts for 5% of GDP; dominated by small-scale producers; principal products - citrus fruit, vegetables, poultry; large net importer of food

Illicit drugs: transshipment point for cocaine and marijuana bound for US and Europe; also a money-laundering center

Economic aid:
recipient: US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY85-89), $1 million; Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-89), $345 million

Currency: 1 Bahamian dollar (B$) = 100 cents

Exchange rates: Bahamian dollar (B$) per US$1 - 1.00 (fixed rate)

Fiscal year: 1 July - 30 June


Railroads: 0 km

total: 2,400 km
paved: 1,350 km
unpaved: gravel 1,050 km

Ports: Freeport, Matthew Town, Nassau

Merchant marine:
total: 936 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 21,815,474 GRT/35,253,416 DWT
ships by type: bulk 162, cargo 181, chemical tanker 39, combination bulk 9, combination ore/oil 19, container 52, liquefied gas tanker 20, oil tanker 182, passenger 55, refrigerated cargo 146, roll-on/roll-off cargo 43, short-sea passenger 16, vehicle carrier 12
note: a flag of convenience registry; includes 46 countries among which are UK 158 ships, Norway 125, Greece 100, US 94, Denmark 80, Netherlands 53, France 36, Finland 35, Japan 35, Sweden 25

total: 60
with paved runways over 3,047 m: 2
with paved runways 2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
with paved runways 1,524 to 2,437 m: 16
with paved runways 914 to 1,523 m: 11
with paved runways under 914 m: 22
with unpaved runways 914 to 1,523 m: 8


Telephone system: 99,000 telephones; totally automatic system; highly developed
local: NA
intercity: NA
international: tropospheric scatter and submarine cable links to Florida; 3 coaxial submarine cables; 1 INTELSAT (Atlantic Ocean) earth station

broadcast stations: AM 3, FM 2, shortwave 0
radios: NA

broadcast stations: 1
televisions: NA

Defense Forces

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

Defense expenditures: exchange rate conversion - $65 million, 2.7% of GDP (1990)