The Bahamas 1997The%20Bahamas

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The Bahamas
The Bahamas 


The Bahamas - Introduction 1997
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Background: Since attaining independence from the UK in 1973 The Bahamas have prospered through tourism and international banking and investment management. By the early 1980s the islands had become a major center for drug trafficking particularly shipments to the US.

The Bahamas - Geography 1997
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Location: Caribbean, chain of islands in the North Atlantic Ocean, southeast of Florida

Geographic coordinates: 24 15 N, 76 00 W

Map referenceCentral America and the Caribbean

Total: 13,940 km²
Land: 10,070 km²
Water: 3,870 km²
Comparative: slightly smaller than Connecticut

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: 3,542 km

Maritime claims
Continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation (measured from the archipelagic straight baselines)
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

Extremes lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
Extremes highest point: Mount Alvernia 63 m

Natural resources: salt, aragonite, timber
Land use

Land use
Arable land: 1%
Permanent crops: 0%
Permanent pastures: 0%
Forests and woodland: 32%
Other: 67% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: NA km²

Major rivers

Major watersheds area km²

Total water withdrawal

Total renewable water resources

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

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

The Bahamas - People 1997
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Population: 275,941 (July 1997 est.)
Growth rate: 1.41% (1997 est.)

Noun: Bahamian(s)
Adjective: Bahamian

Ethnic groups: black 85%, white 15%

Languages: English, Creole (among Haitian immigrants)

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

Demographic profile
Age structure

Age structure
0-14 years: 28% (male 39,280; female 38,755)
15-64 years: 66% (male 89,483; female 93,479)
65 years and over: 6% (male 6,209; female 8,735) (July 1997 est.)

Dependency ratios

Median age

Population growth rate: 1.41% (1997 est.)

Birth rate: 21.47 births/1000 population (1997 est.)

Death rate: 5.45 deaths/1000 population (1997 est.)

Net migration rate: -1.88 migrant(s)/1000 population (1997 est.)

Population distribution


Major urban areas

Current issues: coral reef decay

Air pollutants

Sex ratio
At birth: 1.02 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.71 male(s)/female
Total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (1997 est.)

Mothers mean age at first birth

Maternal mortality ratio

Infant mortality rate: 19.6 deaths/1000 live births (1997 est.)

Life expectancy at birth
Total population: 73.75 years
Male: 70.36 years
Female: 77.2 years (1997 est.)

Total fertility rate: 2.36 children born/woman (1997 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

Drinking water source

Current health expenditure

Physicians density

Hospital bed density

Sanitation facility access


Major infectious diseases

Obesity adult prevalence rate

Alcohol consumption

Tobacco use

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

Education expenditures

Definition: age 15 and over can read and write but definition of literacy not available
Total population: 98.2%
Male: 98.5%
Female: 98% (1995 est.)

School life expectancy primary to tertiary education

Youth unemployment

The Bahamas - Government 1997
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Country name
Conventional long form: Commonwealth of The Bahamas
Conventional short form: The Bahamas

Government 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

Dependent areas

Independence: 10 July 1973 (from UK)

National holiday: National Day, 10 July (1973)

Constitution: 10 July 1973

Legal system: based on English common law

International law organization participation


Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch
Chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II of the UK (since 6 February 1952), represented by Governor General Sir Orville TURNQUEST (since 2 January 1995)
Head of government: Prime Minister Hubert Alexander INGRAHAM (since 19 August 1992) and Deputy Prime Minister Frank WATSON (since December 1994)
Cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the governor general on the prime minister's recommendation
Elections: none; the queen is a hereditary monarch; governor general appointed by the queen; 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 a five-year term) and the House of Assembly (40 seats; members elected by direct popular vote to serve five-year terms)
Elections: last held 14 March 1997 (next to be held by March 2002)
Election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - FNM 34, PLP 6

Judicial branch: Supreme Court

Political parties and leaders

International organization participation: ACP, C, Caricom, CCC, CDB, ECLAC, FAO, G-77, IADB, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, ITU, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO (applicant)

Diplomatic representation
In the us chief of mission: Ambassador Arlington Griffith BUTLER
In the us chancery: 2,220 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20,008
In the us telephone: [1] (202) 319-2,660
In the us FAX: [1] (202) 319-2,668
In the us consulates general: Miami and New York
From the us chief of mission: Ambassador Sidney WILLIAMS
From the us embassy: Queen Street, Nassau
From the us mailing address: P. O. Box N-8,197, Nassau; American Embassy, Nassau, P.O. Box 9,009, Miami, FL 33,159; Nassau, Department of State, Washington, DC 20,521-3,370 (pouch)
From the us telephone: [1] (242) 322-1181, 328-2,206
From the us FAX: [1] (242) 328-7,838

Flag descriptionflag of The%20Bahamas: three equal horizontal bands of aquamarine (top), gold, and aquamarine with a black equilateral triangle based on the hoist side

National symbols

National anthem

National heritage

The Bahamas - Economy 1997
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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 50% of GDP and directly or indirectly employs 40% of the archipelago's labor force. A slowdown in the expansion of the tourism sector - especially stopover travel from Europe - led to a reduction in the country's GDP growth rate in 1995, down to an estimated 2% from 3.5% in 1994. The construction sector benefited from hotel rehabilitation and the government's ongoing housing development program. Earnings from exports of vegetable and citrus production have been decreasing since 1993 but were expected to increase in 1996 due to storm damage to crops in Florida. Overall growth prospects in the short run will depend heavily on the fortunes of the tourism sector and continued income growth in the US, which accounts for the majority of tourist visits.

Real gdp purchasing power parity

Real gdp growth rate: 2% (1995 est.)

Real gdp per capita ppp

Gross national saving
Gdp composition by sector of origin

Gdp composition by end use

Gdp composition by sector of origin
Agriculture: 3%
Industry: 6%
Services: 91% (1994)

Agriculture products: citrus, vegetables; poultry

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

Industrial production growth rate: NA%

Labor force
Total: 136,900 (1993)
By occupation government: 30%
By occupation tourism: 40%
By occupation businessservices: 10%
By occupation agriculture: 5% (1995 est.)
Labor force

Unemployment rate: 15% (1995 est.)

Youth unemployment

Population below poverty line

Gini index

Household income or consumption by percentage share

Distribution of family income gini index

Revenues: $665 million
Expenditures: $725 million, including capital expenditures of $94 million (FY95/96 est.)

Public debt

Taxes and other revenues


Fiscal year: 1 July - 30 June

Current account balance

Inflation rate consumer prices

Central bank discount rate

Commercial bank prime lending rate

Stock of narrow money

Stock of broad money

Stock of domestic credit

Market value of publicly traded shares

Current account balance

Total value: $267.5 million (f.o.b., 1995)
Commodities: pharmaceuticals, cement, rum, crawfish, refined petroleum products
Partners: US 24%, Spain 14%, UK 7%, Norway 7%, France 6%, Italy 5% (1995 est.)

Total value: $1.17 billion (f.o.b., 1995)
Commodities: foodstuffs, manufactured goods, crude oil, vehicles, electronics
Partners: US 29%, Finland 10%, Iran 10%, Denmark 8%

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

Debt external: $393 million (1995)

Stock of direct foreign investment at home

Stock of direct foreign investment abroad

Exchange rates: Bahamian dollar (B$) per US$1 - 1.00 (February 1997; fixed rate)

The Bahamas - Energy 1997
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Electricity access

Electricity production: 874 million kWh (1993)

Electricity consumption
Per capita: 2,717 kWh (1993)

Electricity exports

Electricity imports

Electricity installed generating capacity

Electricity transmission distribution losses

Electricity generation sources


Refined petroleum

Natural gas

Carbon dioxide emissions

Energy consumption per capita

The Bahamas - Communication 1997
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Telephones fixed lines

Telephones mobile cellular

Telephone system
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)

Broadcast media

Internet country code

Internet users

Broadband fixed subscriptions

The Bahamas - Military 1997
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Military expenditures
Dollar figure: $20 million (FY95/96)
Percent of gdp: 3.8% (FY95/96)

Military and security forces

Military service age and obligation

Terrorist groups

The Bahamas - Transportation 1997
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National air transport system

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

Airports: 54 (1996 est.)
With paved runways total: 47
With paved runways over 3047 m: 2
With paved runways 2438 to 3047 m: 1
With paved runways 15-24 to 2437 m: 15
With paved runways 914 to 1523 m: 12
With paved runways under 914 m: 17 (1996 est.)
With unpaved runways total: 7
With unpaved runways 914 to 1523 m: 7 (1996 est.)

Airports with paved runways
Total: 47
Over 3047 m: 2
2438 to 3047 m: 1
15-24 to 2437 m: 15
914 to 1523 m: 12
Under 914 m: 17 (1996 est.)

Airports with unpaved runways
Total: 7
914 to 1523 m: 7 (1996 est.)



Railways: 0 km



Merchant marine
Total: 988 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 23,690,478 GRT/37,428,826 DWT
Ships by type: bulk 176, cargo 205, chemical tanker 41, combination bulk 7, combination ore/oil 23, container 56, liquefied gas tanker 21, oil tanker 184, passenger 47, refrigerated cargo 150, roll-on/roll-off cargo 53, short-sea passenger 11, vehicle carrier 14
Note: a flag of convenience registry; includes ships from 46 countries among which are Norway 157, Greece 146, UK 128, US 69, Denmark 51, Sweden 34, Finland 32, Belgium 29, Japan 27, and Monaco 27; Bahamas owns 10 additional ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 256,379 DWT that operate under Panamanian and Cypriot registry (1996 est.)

Ports and terminals

The Bahamas - Transnational issues 1997
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Disputes international: none

Refugees and internally displaced persons

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


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