The Bahamas 2002The%20Bahamas

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The Bahamas
The Bahamas 

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The Bahamas - Introduction 2002
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Background: Arawak 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 its territory is used for smuggling illegal migrants into the US.

The Bahamas - Geography 2002
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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
Water: 3,870 km²
Land: 10,070 km²
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

Extremes lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
Extremes highest point: Mount Alvernia, on Cat Island 63 m

Natural resources: salt aragonite timber arable land
Land use

Land use
Arable land: 0.6%
Permanent crops: 0.4%
Other: 99% (1998 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 cause extensive flood and wind damage

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

The Bahamas - People 2002
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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.)
Growth rate: 0.86% (2002 est.)
Below poverty line: NA%

Noun: Bahamian
Adjective: Bahamian

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

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: 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.)

Dependency ratios

Median age

Population growth rate: 0.86% (2002 est.)

Birth rate: 18.69 births/1000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate: 7.49 deaths/1000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate: -2.63 migrant(s)/1000 population (2002 est.)

Population distribution


Major urban areas

Current issues: coral reef decay; solid waste disposal
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
International agreements signed but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Air pollutants

Sex ratio
At birth: 1.02 male/female
Under 15 years: 1.02 male/female
15-64 years: 0.97 male/female
65 years and over: 0.72 male/female
Total population: 0.96 male/female (2002 est.)

Mothers mean age at first birth

Maternal mortality ratio

Infant mortality rate: 17.08 deaths/1000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth
Total population: 69.87 years
Female: 73.49 years (2002 est.)
Male: 66.32 years

Total fertility rate: 2.28 children born/woman (2002 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

Drinking water source

Current health expenditure

Physicians density

Hospital bed density

Sanitation facility access

Adult prevalence rate: 4.13% (1999 est.)
People living with hivaids: 6,900 (1999 est.)
Deaths: 500 (1999 est.)

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
Total population: 98.2%
Male: 98.5%
Female: 98% (1995 est.)

School life expectancy primary to tertiary education

Youth unemployment

The Bahamas - Government 2002
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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

Dependent areas

Independence: 10 July 1973 (from UK)

National holiday: Independence 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 (since 6 February 1952), represented by Governor General Ivy DUMONT (since NA May 2002)
Head of government: Prime Minister Perry CHRISTIE (since 3 May 2002) and Deputy Prime Minister 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; 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
Elections: last held 1 May 2002 (next to be held by May 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 [Tommy TURNQUEST]; Progressive Liberal Party or PLP [Perry CHRISTIE]


Diplomatic representation
In the us chief of mission: Ambassador Joshua SEARS
In the us consulates general: Miami and New York
In the us fax: [1] (202) 319-2,668
In the us telephone: [1] (202) 319-2,660
In the us chancery: 2,220 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20,008
From the us chief of mission: Ambassador J. Richard BLANKENSHIP
From the us embassy: 42 Queen Street, Nassau
From the us mailing address: local or express mail address: P. O. Box N-8,197, Nassau; stateside address: American Embassy Nassau, P. O. Box 599,009, Miami, FL 33,159-9,009; pouch address: Nassau, Department of State, Washington, DC 20,521-3,370
From the us telephone: [1] (242) 322-1181, 328-2,206
From the us fax: [1] (242) 356-0222

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 2002
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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 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.

Real gdp purchasing power parity

Real gdp growth rate: 3.5% (2001)

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: 7%
Services: 90% (1999 est.)

Agriculture products: citrus vegetables; poultry

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

Industrial production growth rate: NA%

Labor force: 156,000 (1999)
By occupation tourism: 40%
By occupation other services: 50%
By occupation industry: 5%
By occupation agriculture: 5% (1995 est.)
Labor force

Unemployment rate: 6.9% (2001 est.)

Youth unemployment

Population below poverty line: NA%

Gini index

Household income or consumption by percentage share
Lowest 10: NA%
Highest 10: NA%

Distribution of family income gini index

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

Public debt

Taxes and other revenues


Fiscal year: 1 July - 30 June

Current account balance

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

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

Exports: $535.8 million (2000)
Commodities: fish and crawfish; rum salt chemicals; fruit and vegetables (1999)
Partners: US 28.2% France 16.5% Germany 14.1% UK 12.4% (2000)

Imports: $1.88 billion (2000)
Commodities: machinery and transport equipment manufactures chemicals mineral fuels; food and live animals (1999)
Partners: US 31.6% South Korea 18.2% Italy 17.4% Japan 5.8% (2000)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

Debt external: $381.9 million (2000)

Stock of direct foreign investment at home

Stock of direct foreign investment abroad

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

The Bahamas - Energy 2002
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Electricity access

Electricity production: 1.54 billion kWh (2000)
By source fossil fuel: 100%
By source hydro: 0%
By source other: 0% (2000)
By source nuclear: 0%

Electricity consumption: 1.432 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity exports: 0 kWh (2000)

Electricity imports: 0 kWh (2000)

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 2002
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Telephones fixed lines

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)

Broadcast media

Internet country code: .bs

Internet users: 16,900 (2002)

Broadband fixed subscriptions

The Bahamas - Military 2002
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Military expenditures
Dollar figure: $20 million (FY95/96)
Percent of gdp: 0.7% (FY99)

Military and security forces

Military service age and obligation

Terrorist groups

The Bahamas - Transportation 2002
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National air transport system

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

Airports: 67 (2001)
With paved runways total: 30
With paved runways over 3047 m: 2
With paved runways 2438 to 3047 m: 3
With paved runways 914 to 1523 m: 11
With paved runways under 914 m: 2 (2002)
With paved runways 15-24 to 2437 m: 12
With unpaved runways total: 34 35
With unpaved runways 15-24 to 2437 m: 3
With unpaved runways 914 to 1523 m: 9
With unpaved runways under 914 m: 3 23 (2002)

Airports with paved runways
Total: 30
Over 3047 m: 2
2438 to 3047 m: 3
914 to 1523 m: 11
Under 914 m: 2 (2002)
15-24 to 2437 m: 12

Airports with unpaved runways
Total: 34 35
15-24 to 2437 m: 3
914 to 1523 m: 9
Under 914 m: 3 23 (2002)

Heliports: 1 (2002)


Railways: 0 km


Waterways: none

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.)

Ports and terminals

The Bahamas - Transnational issues 2002
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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; offshore financial center


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