Bahamas, The

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Introduction - Bahamas, The:
CountryBahamas, The
BackgroundLucayan 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.
Location - Bahamas, The:
LocationCaribbean, chain of islands in the North Atlantic Ocean, southeast of Florida, northeast of Cuba
Geographic coordinates24 15 N, 76 00 W
Map referencesCentral America and the Caribbean
Areatotal: 13,940 sq km
land: 10,070 sq km
water: 3,870 sq km
Area comparativeslightly smaller than Connecticut
Land boundaries0 km
Coastline3,542 km
Maritime claimsterritorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climatetropical marine; moderated by warm waters of Gulf Stream
Terrainlong, flat coral formations with some low rounded hills
Elevation extremeslowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Alvernia, on Cat Island 63 m
Natural resourcessalt, aragonite, timber, arable land
Land usearable land: 0.58%
permanent crops: 0.29%
other: 99.13% (2005)
Irrigated land10 sq km (2003)
Natural hazardshurricanes and other tropical storms cause extensive flood and wind damage
Environment current issuescoral reef decay; solid waste disposal
Environment international agreementsparty 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
Geography notestrategic location adjacent to US and Cuba; extensive island chain of which 30 are inhabited
People - Bahamas, The:
Population305,655
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 2007 est.)
Age structure0-14 years: 27% (male 41,268/female 41,186)
15-64 years: 66.5% (male 99,961/female 103,230)
65 years and over: 6.5% (male 8,176/female 11,834) (2007 est.)
Median agetotal: 28.1 years
male: 27.3 years
female: 28.9 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate0.602% (2007 est.)
Birth rate17.3 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate9.13 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate-2.15 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratioat birth: 1.02 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.002 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.968 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.691 male(s)/female
total population: 0.956 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 24.17 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 29.58 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 18.65 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 65.66 years
male: 62.37 years
female: 69.02 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate2.15 children born/woman (2007 est.)
Hiv aids adult prevalence rate3% (2003 est.)
Hiv aids people living with hiv aids5,600 (2003 est.)
Hiv aids deathsless than 200 (2003 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Bahamian(s)
adjective: Bahamian
Ethnic groupsblack 85%, white 12%, Asian and Hispanic 3%
ReligionsBaptist 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)
LanguagesEnglish (official), Creole (among Haitian immigrants)
Literacydefinition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 95.6%
male: 94.7%
female: 96.5% (2003 est.)
Government - Bahamas, The:
Country nameconventional long form: Commonwealth of The Bahamas
conventional short form: The Bahamas
Government typeconstitutional parliamentary democracy
Capitalname: 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 divisions21 districts; Acklins and Crooked Islands, Bimini, Cat Island, Exuma, Freeport, Fresh Creek, Governors 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
Independence10 July 1973 (from UK)
National holidayIndependence Day, 10 July (1973)
Constitution10 July 1973
Legal systembased on English common law
Suffrage18 years of age; universal
Executive branchchief 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 ministers recommendation
elections: none; 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 branchbicameral 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 called by May 2012)
election results: percent of vote by party - FNM 49.86%, PLP 47.02%; seats by party - FNM 23, PLP 18
Judicial branchPrivy Council (London); Courts of Appeal; Supreme (lower) Court; magistrates courts
Political parties and leadersFree National Movement or FNM [Hubert INGRAHAM]; Progressive Liberal Party or PLP [Perry CHRISTIE]
Political pressure groups and leadersNA
International organization participationACP, C, Caricom, CDB, FAO, G-77, IADB, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt (signatory), ICFTU, ICRM, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ITSO, ITU, MIGA, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW (signatory), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)
Diplomatic representation in the uschief of mission: vacant
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 uschief of mission: Ambassador John D. ROOD
embassy: 42 Queen Street, Nassau
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, 356-3229 (after hours)
FAX: [1] (242) 356-0222
Flag descriptionthree equal horizontal bands of aquamarine (top), gold, and aquamarine, with a black equilateral triangle based on the hoist side
Economy - Bahamas, The:
Economy overviewThe Bahamas is a stable, developing nation 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 archipelagos 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 the slowdown in the US economy and the attacks of 11 September 2001 held back growth in these sectors in 2001-03. The current government has presided over a period of economic recovery and an upturn in large-scale private sector investments in tourism. Financial services constitute the second-most important sector of the Bahamian economy, accounting for about 15% 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 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 more than 80% of the visitors.
Gdp purchasing power parity $6.556 billion (2006 est.)
Gdp official exchange rate $6.159 billion (2006 est.)
Gdp real growth rate4% (2006 est.)
Gdp per capita ppp $21,600 (2006 est.)
Gdp composition by sectoragriculture: 3%
industry: 7%
services: 90% (2001 est.)
Labor force176,300 (2004)
Labor force by occupationagriculture 5%, industry 5%, tourism 50%, other services 40% (2005 est.)
Unemployment rate10.2% (2005 est.)
Population below poverty line9.3% (2004)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: 27% (2000)
Inflation rate consumer prices 1.2% (2004)
Budgetrevenues: $1.03 billion
expenditures: $1.03 billion; including capital expenditures of $130 million (FY04/05)
Agriculture productscitrus, vegetables; poultry
Industriestourism, banking, cement, oil transshipment, salt, rum, aragonite, pharmaceuticals, spiral-welded steel pipe
Industrial production growth rateNA%
Electricity production1.795 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity consumption1.669 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity exports0 kWh (2004)
Electricity imports0 kWh (2004)
Oil production0 bbl/day (2004)
Oil consumption27,000 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil exportstransshipments of 41,290 bbl/day (2004)
Oil importsNA bbl/day
Oil proved reserves0 bbl
Natural gas production0 cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas consumption0 cu m (2004 est.)
Exports$451 million (2005 est.)
Exports commoditiesmineral products and salt, animal products, rum, chemicals, fruit and vegetables
Exports partnersSpain 23.3%, US 20.7%, Poland 14.1%, Germany 7.2%, UK 6%, Guatemala 5.1% (2006)
Imports$2.16 billion (2005 est.)
Imports commoditiesmachinery and transport equipment, manufactures, chemicals, mineral fuels; food and live animals
Imports partnersUS 20.9%, South Korea 17.9%, Brazil 16.8%, Japan 11.1%, Spain 6.1% (2006)
Debt external$342.6 million (2004 est.)
Economic aid recipient$5 million (2004)
Currency code Bahamian dollar (BSD)
Exchange ratesBahamian dollars per US dollar - 1 (2006), 1 (2005), 1 (2004), 1 (2003), 1 (2002)
Communications - Bahamas, The:
Fiscal year1 July - 30 June
Telephones main lines in use133,100 (2005)
Telephones mobile cellular227,800 (2005)
Telephone systemgeneral assessment: modern facilities
domestic: totally automatic system; highly developed
international: country code - 1-242; tropospheric scatter and submarine cable to Florida; 3 coaxial submarine cables; satellite earth station - 2 (2005)
Radio broadcast stationsAM 3, FM 5, shortwave 0 (2006)
Television broadcast stations2 (2006)
Internet country code.bs
Internet hosts591 (2006)
Internet users103,000 (2005)
Transportation - Bahamas, The:
Airports64 (2006)
Airports with paved runwaystotal: 29
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 14
914 to 1,523 m: 9
under 914 m: 1 (2006)
Airports with unpaved runwaystotal: 35
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 10
under 914 m: 22 (2006)
Heliports1 (2006)
Roadwaystotal: 2,693 km
paved: 1,546 km
unpaved: 1,147 km (1999)
Merchant marinetotal: 1,177 ships (1000 GRT or over) 37,743,270 GRT/50,918,747 DWT
by type: barge carrier 1, bulk carrier 253, cargo 250, chemical tanker 64, container 79, liquefied gas 35, livestock carrier 2, passenger 115, passenger/cargo 34, petroleum tanker 175, refrigerated cargo 114, roll on/roll off 20, specialized tanker 5, vehicle carrier 30
foreign-owned: 1,093 (Angola 5, Australia 2, Belgium 13, Canada 18, China 3, Cuba 1, Cyprus 13, Denmark 59, Estonia 1, Finland 8, France 37, Germany 22, Greece 232, Hong Kong 8, Iceland 1, India 1, Indonesia 4, Ireland 2, Israel 1, Italy 5, Japan 51, Jordan 2, Kenya 1, Latvia 1, Malaysia 12, Monaco 17, Montenegro 2, Netherlands 24, Nigeria 2, Norway 259, Philippines 1, Poland 15, Reunion 1, Russia 6, Saudi Arabia 12, Singapore 12, Slovenia 1, Spain 12, Sweden 6, Switzerland 2, Thailand 1, Turkey 8, UAE 16, UK 69, Uruguay 2, US 121, Venezuela 1)
registered in other countries: 4 (Barbados 1, Liberia 1, Panama 2) (2006)
Ports and terminalsFreeport, Nassau, South Riding Point
Military - Bahamas, The:
Military branchesRoyal Bahamian Defense Force: Marines, Air Wing (2006)
Military service age and obligation18 years of age (est.); no conscription (2001)
Manpower available for military servicemales age 18-49: 73,121 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military servicemales age 18-49: 44,309 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annuallymales age 18-49: 2,804 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures percent of gdp0.5% (2006)
Disputes internationaldisagrees with the US on the alignment of a potential maritime boundary; continues to monitor and interdict drug dealers and Haitian refugees in Bahamian waters
This page was last updated on 16 September, 2007
Source: CIA >>>


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