The Bahamas Travel Information

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Facts About the Bahamas

Background: Since attaining independence from the United Kingdom 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 United States.
Government type: constitutional parliamentary democracy
Capital: Nassau
Currency: 1 Bahamian dollar (B$) = 100 cents

Geography of the Bahamas

Location: Caribbean, chain of islands in the North Atlantic Ocean, southeast of Florida
Geographic coordinates: 24 15 N, 76 00 W
total: 13,940 sq km
land: 10,070 sq km
water: 3,870 sq km
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 3,542 km
Maritime claims:
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
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
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Alvernia, on Cat Island 63 m
Natural resources: salt, aragonite, timber
Land use:
arable land: 1%
permanent crops: 0%
permanent pastures: 0%
forests and woodland: 32%
other: 67% (1993 est.)
Natural hazards: hurricanes and other tropical storms that cause extensive flood and wind damage
Environment - current issues: coral reef decay; solid waste disposal
Environment - 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
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note: strategic location adjacent to US and Cuba; extensive island chain

People of the Bahamas

Eighty-five percent of the Bahamian population is of African heritage. About two-thirds of the population reside on New Providence Island (the location of Nassau). Many ancestors arrived in the Bahama Islands when they served as a staging area for the slave trade in the early 1800s. Others accompanied thousands of British loyalists who fled the American colonies during the Revolutionary War.

School attendance is compulsory between the ages of 5 and 16. The government fully operates 158 of the 210 primary and secondary schools in The Bahamas. The other 52 schools are privately operated. Enrollment for state and private primary and secondary schools amounts to more than 66,000 students. The College of The Bahamas, established in Nassau in 1974, provides programs leading to bachelors and associates degrees. The college is now converting from a 2-year to a 4-year institution. Several non-Bahamian colleges also offer higher education programs in The Bahamas.

Population: 301,790
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 2005 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years:  29.43% (male 44,179; female 43,486)
15-64 years:  64.46% (male 94,329; female 97,674)
65 years and over:  6.11% (male 7,618; female 10,566)
Population growth rate: 0.93%
Birth rate: 19.1 births/1,000 population 
Death rate: 7.14 deaths/1,000 population 
Net migration rate: -2.65 migrant(s)/1,000 population
Infant mortality rate: 17.03 deaths/1,000 live births 
Life expectancy at birth:
total population:  70.46 years
male:  67.27 years
female:  73.71 years 
Total fertility rate: 2.3 children born/woman 
noun: Bahamian(s)
adjective: Bahamian
Ethnic groups: black 85%, white 12%, Asian and Hispanic 3%
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)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 98.2%
male: 98.5%
female: 98% (1995 est.)

SOURCES: The World Factbook, U.S. Department of State

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > The Bahamas Map Economy History