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Bahamas

  • Capital Nassau (25° 4´N, 77° 20´W)
  • International airport(s) Lynden Pindling International Airport, Grand Bahama International Airport, Leonard M. Thompson International Airport
  • Official language(s) English
  • Currency Bahamian dollar (BSD)
  • Time UTC -5
  • Region Caribbean
GeographyClimateEconomyCulture
Located in the Atlantic Ocean, the Bahamas archipelago (also known as the Lucayan Archipelago) is comprised of some 700 low lying, tropical islands located off the east coast of Florida. Consisting mainly of raised coral reefs and sandbars, with a high point of only 63 m, it is one of the lowest countries in the world. It is unclear whether the name of the islands derive from the Spanish 'baja mar', meaning shallow water, or from the Taíno 'ba ha ma', meaning big upper middle land, which was a term for the region used by the indigenous peoples. Only about 30 of the islands are inhabited, with the majority (about 70 per cent) of people living in Nassau on the island of New Providence.

The Commonwealth of the Bahamas covers a massive 470 000 km2 of ocean, stretching from Bimini, just 80 km off the Florida coast, then running along the entire coast of Cuba to Inagua, less than 100 km north of Haiti. The Bahamas sit right on the south western edge of the infamous Bermuda Triangle. The Tropic of Cancer bisects the Bahamian islands of Long Island and Exuma.
The Bahamas, surrounded by the warm Gulf stream, enjoys a tropical marine climate. The hot and rainy season spans from May to October while the cooler season lasts from November to April. Cooler weather is felt more on the north‐western islands. Average monthly temperatures range between 22 to 29 °C. Sea temperatures remain at around 26 °C all year round. Hurricanes and tropical cyclones strike mainly from August to November. The average annual rainfall is about 1 300 mm, with June and September being the wettest months. -—
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The prevailing winds have a cooling effect on the often humid climate.
The Bahamas had the 3rd highest per capita GDP in the western hemisphere in 2019, after the United States and Canada -—
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. In 2019, over seven million people arrived to the Bahamas by air and sea according to the local authorities. With only 0.8 per cent of arable land, according to FAO, agriculture makes a small contribution to the economy. Manufactured exports often relate to the oceans economy, such as shipping equipment and sea food, but also petroleum. Over 80 per cent of GDP comes from the service sector where four in five persons are employed -—
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, many in tourism and transport. Travel and tourism's contribution to the economy is large. Almost 7.3 million tourists arrived in the country in 2019 and inbound tourism expenditure reached 28 per cent over GDP -—
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. The islands are also an important centre for business and financial services and banking -—
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The Bahamas is a hub for transshipment and shipping services. It has one of the highest numbers of registered ships in the world ‐ in particular, cruise ships that sail in the Caribbean. Other industries include oil bunkering, salt, rum, aragonite and pharmaceuticals. Because of its ship registries and heavy reliance on tourism, the Bahamas does not collect taxes on personal income or capital gains. Revenues are mainly generated from tariffs on imported goods, value added tax and property taxes, as well as from tourists who visit the country.

The Bahamas imports almost all its food. However, some fruits are cultivated locally, mainly: tomatoes, pineapple, banana, mango, guava, sapodilla, soursop, grapefruit and sea grape. Some pigs, sheep and cattle are also raised. A small industry catches spiny lobster, grouper and conch.
The national dish is Conch, a staple in the Bahamas. It is a large tropical mollusc (sea snail) with firm, white flesh. It is often served raw as Conch salad with lime juice, vegetables and fruit.

On 26 December each year, the Bahamians celebrate Junkanoo. It is a spectacular carnival, characterized by colourful costumes, stilt dancers, street dancers, clowns and acrobats, all accompanied by powerful rhythms beaten traditionally on goatskin drums, cowbells, bugles, horns, whistles and conch shells.

Cricket is the national sport of the Bahamas but track and field is also very popular. The Bahamas have produced some notable athletic stars, including: Frank Rutherford, Chandra Sturrup, Debbie Ferguson, Eldece Clarke‐Lewis, Pauline Davis‐Thompson, Savatheda Fynes, Tonique Williams‐Darling and Shaunae Miller.

For scuba divers, the Bahamas boasts the longest known underwater cave system in the world beneath Grand Bahama Island. It also has Dean's Blue Hole, located west of Clarence Town on Long Island, which, at 202 m, is one of the deepest blue holes in the world. The warm waters surrounding the islands boast colourful fish and turtles. Andros Island offers the 225 km‐long Andros Barrier Reef, one of the longest coral reefs in the world.

The Bahamas have a number of national symbols: the yellow elder is the national flower, the Lignum Vitae (tree of life) the national tree, the flamingo the national bird and the blue marlin the national fish of the islands.
Land areakm2
Arable land%
Forest area%
Coastline
lengthkm
Exclusive economic zonekm2
Nearest
neighbourkm
Economic trendsMaritime transportPopulationInternational tradeEnvironmentInformation and communications technology
Gross domestic product
US dollars at constant prices (2015) in millions
GDP per capita

2019

US$

Productive Capacity Index

2018

Economic and environmental vulnerability index

2019

Consumer Price Index growth

2019

%

Unemployment
rate

Total %
Female %, Male %
Main economic sectors, 2019
Percentage of GDP
Tourist arrivals
Thousands of tourists, percentage of GDP
External financial resources
Percentage of GDP
Public debt as % of GDP

2018

%

Fleet size
Number of ships
Ship type20112019
Total fleet1 4071 407
Oil tankers264266
Bulk carriers311333
General cargo16177
Container ships5249
Other types of ships619682
Port performance
Ranked by 2019 data within SIDS group
Indicators2019SIDS Ranking
Number of port calls6 3152
Median time in port (days)0.825
Average age of vessels217
Average size (GT) of vessels58 2832
Container port throuput

2019

TEU

Bilateral connectivity index, 2019
Top 5 partners
Liner shipping connectivity index
Maximum China Q1 2006=100
Total population
Thousands of people, share of urban population
Population development indicators
IndicatorsPeriodValue
Poverty headcount (% of population)....
Human development index20180.8
Human assets index202092
Adult literacy rate (15+ years, both sexes %)....
Gender inequality index20190.3
Life expectancy at birth

years

Population density

2019

persons per km2
Dependency
ratio

2019

Child:
Old-age:
Age structure by gender, 2019
Percentage of total population
Merchandise and services trade
US dollars in millions
Indicators20052010201520192019 (% of GDP)
Merchandise exports5497025216694.9
Merchandise imports2 3122 5912 9543 07322.6
Services exports2 5112 4942 8964 09430.1
Services imports1 2861 1811 2781 95414.4
Trade openness
Goods and services

% of GDP

Export concentration index

2019

Food import
dependency
Average 2015-2019

Top 5 partners in merchandise trade, 2019
Exports in millions US dollars
Merchandise exports by product group, 2019
Services exports by category, 2019
CO2 emissions per capita
Kg per capita
CO2 emissions per GDP
Kg per 2010 US$ of GDP
Renewable energy share in total energy consumption, 2017
Percentage of total energy consumption
Material
footprint
per capita

2016

kg

Terrestrial
protected
area

2018

%

Marine
protected
area

2018

%

Disasters indicators
Data not available
Trade in ICT goods

Exports: %
Imports: %
Trade in ICT services

Exports: %
Imports: %
Share of
internet users

%

Fixed broadband vs Mobile broadband subscriptions
Number of subscriptions per 100 people
Sources
Source of data: -—
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except indicators listed below.
References
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