Bahamas

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Source: https://www.cia.gov/library/publicat...k/geos/bf.html

PAGE LAST UPDATED ON NOVEMBER 9, 2011
Flag of Bahamas, The
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Introduction

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Lucayan 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 has 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.
 
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Geography

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Caribbean, chain of islands in the North Atlantic Ocean, southeast of Florida, northeast of Cuba
 
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24 15 N, 76 00 W
 
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total: 13,880 sq km
country comparison to the world: 161
land: 10,010 sq km
water: 3,870 sq km
 
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slightly smaller than Connecticut
 
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0 km
 
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3,542 km
 
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territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
 
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tropical marine; moderated by warm waters of Gulf Stream
 
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long, flat coral formations with some low rounded hills
 
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lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Alvernia on Cat Island 63 m
 
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salt, aragonite, timber, arable land
 
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arable land: 0.58%
permanent crops: 0.29%
other: 99.13% (2005)
 
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10 sq km (2008)
 
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NA
 
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hurricanes and other tropical storms cause extensive flood and wind damage
 
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coral reef decay; solid waste disposal
 
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party 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
 
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strategic location adjacent to US and Cuba; extensive island chain of which 30 are inhabited
 
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People and Society

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noun: Bahamian(s)
adjective: Bahamian
 
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black 85%, white 12%, Asian and Hispanic 3%
 
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English (official), Creole (among Haitian immigrants)
 
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Protestant 67.6% (Baptist 35.4%, Anglican 15.1%, Pentecostal 8.1%, Church of God 4.8%, Methodist 4.2%), Roman Catholic 13.5%, other Christian 15.2%, none or unspecified 2.9%, other 0.8% (2000 census)
 
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313,312 (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 178
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, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected
 
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0-14 years: 24.4% (male 38,834/female 37,715)
15-64 years: 69.2% (male 106,882/female 110,081)
65 years and over: 6.3% (male 7,578/female 12,222) (2011 est.)
 
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total: 30.2 years
male: 29.1 years
female: 31.3 years (2011 est.)
 
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0.922% (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 123
 
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16.1 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 128
 
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6.88 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 141
 
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0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 74
 
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urban population: 84% of total population (2010)
rate of urbanization: 1.3% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
 
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NASSAU (capital) 248,000 (2009)
 
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at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.62 male(s)/female
total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2011 est.)
 
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49 deaths/100,000 live births (2008)
country comparison to the world: 97
 
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total: 13.49 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 127
male: 13.29 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 13.69 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)
 
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total population: 71.18 years
country comparison to the world: 141
male: 68.8 years
female: 73.63 years (2011 est.)
 
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1.99 children born/woman (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 129
 
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7.2% of GDP (2009)
country comparison to the world: 73
 
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1.05 physicians/1,000 population (1998)
country comparison to the world: 102
 
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3.1 beds/1,000 population (2008)
country comparison to the world: 72
 
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improved:
urban: 98% of population
rural: 86% of population
total: 96% of population
unimproved:
urban: 2% of population
rural: 14% of population
total: 4% of population (2000)
 
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improved:
urban: 100% of population
rural: 100% of population
total: 100% of population (2008)
 
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3.1% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 23
 
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6,600 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 114
 
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fewer than 500 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 81
 
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NA
 
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definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 95.6%
male: 94.7%
female: 96.5% (2003 est.)
 
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total: 12 years
male: 12 years
female: 12 years (2006)
 
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total: 18.9%
country comparison to the world: 62
male: 16.7%
female: 21.7% (2007)
 
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Government

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conventional long form: Commonwealth of The Bahamas
conventional short form: The Bahamas
 
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constitutional parliamentary democracy and a Commonwealth realm
 
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name: 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
 
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31 districts; Acklins Islands, Berry Islands, Bimini, Black Point, Cat Island, Central Abaco, Central Andros, Central Eleuthera, City of Freeport, Crooked Island and Long Cay, East Grand Bahama, Exuma, Grand Cay, Harbour Island, Hope Town, Inagua, Long Island, Mangrove Cay, Mayaguana, Moore's Island, North Abaco, North Andros, North Eleuthera, Ragged Island, Rum Cay, San Salvador, South Abaco, South Andros, South Eleuthera, Spanish Wells, West Grand Bahama
 
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10 July 1973 (from the UK)
 
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Independence Day, 10 July (1973)
 
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10 July 1973
 
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common law system based on the English model
 
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has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
 
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18 years of age; universal
 
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chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Sir Arthur A. FOULKES (since 14 April 2010)
head of government: Prime Minister Hubert A. INGRAHAM (since 4 May 2007)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the governor general on the prime minister's recommendation
(For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
elections: the monarchy 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
 
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bicameral 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 on 2 May 2007 (next to be held by May 2012)
election results: percent of vote by party - FNM 49.86%, PLP 47.02%; seats by party - FNM 23, PLP 18
 
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Privy Council in London; Courts of Appeal; Supreme (lower) Court; Magistrates' Courts
 
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Free National Movement or FNM [Hubert INGRAHAM]; Progressive Liberal Party or PLP [Perry CHRISTIE]
 
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Friends of the Environment
other: trade unions
 
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ACP, AOSIS, C, Caricom, CDB, FAO, G-77, IADB, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ITSO, ITU, LAES, MIGA, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, PetroCaribe, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)
 
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chief of mission: Ambassador Cornelius A. SMITH
chancery: 2220 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 319-2660
FAX: [1] (202) 319-2668
consulate(s) general: Miami, New York
 
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chief of mission: Ambassador Nicole A. AVANT
embassy: 42 Queen Street, Nassau, New Providence
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, 328-2206 (after hours)
FAX: [1] (242) 328-2206
 
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three equal horizontal bands of aquamarine (top), gold, and aquamarine, with a black equilateral triangle based on the hoist side; the band colors represent the golden beaches of the islands surrounded by the aquamarine sea; black represents the vigor and force of a united people, while the pointing triangle indicates the enterprise and determination of the Bahamian people to develop the rich resources of land and sea
 
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blue marlin; flamingo
 
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name: "March On, Bahamaland!"
lyrics/music: Timothy GIBSON
note: adopted 1973; as a Commonwealth country, in addition to the national anthem, "God Save the Queen" serves as the royal anthem (see United Kingdom)
 
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Economy

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The Bahamas is one of the wealthiest Caribbean countries 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 archipelago's labor force. Prior to 2006, a steady growth in tourism receipts and a boom in construction of new hotels, resorts, and residences led to solid GDP growth but since then tourism receipts have begun to drop off. The global recession in 2009 took a sizeable toll on the Bahamas, resulting in a contraction in GDP and a widening budget deficit. The decline continued in 2010 as tourism from the US and sector investment lagged. Financial services constitute the second-most important sector of the Bahamian economy and, when combined with business services, account for about 36% of GDP. However, the financial sector currently is smaller than it has been in the past because of the enactment of new and stricter financial regulations in 2000 that caused many international businesses to relocate elsewhere. Manufacturing and agriculture combined 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.
 
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$8.921 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 152
$8.877 billion (2009 est.)
$9.275 billion (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
 
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$7.538 billion (2010 est.)
 
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0.5% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 181
-4.3% (2009 est.)
-1.7% (2008 est.)
 
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$28,700 (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 49
$28,900 (2009 est.)
$30,400 (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
 
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agriculture: 1.6%
industry: 8.1%
services: 90.4% (2010 est.)
 
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184,000 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 173
 
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agriculture: 5%
industry: 5%
tourism: 50%
other services: 40% (2005 est.)
 
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7.6% (2006 est.)
country comparison to the world: 83
 
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9.3% (2004)
 
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lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: 27% (2000)
 
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29.9% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 30
 
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revenues: $1.3 billion
expenditures: $1.3 billion (2010 est.)
 
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17.2% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 176
 
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-4% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 122
 
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1.3% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 38
2.1% (2009 est.)
 
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5.25% (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 70
5.25% (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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5.5% (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 155
5.5% (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$1.31 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 132
$1.252 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$6.15 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 116
$5.99 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$8.5 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 99
$7.993 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$NA
 
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citrus, vegetables; poultry
 
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tourism, banking, cement, oil transshipment, salt, rum, aragonite, pharmaceuticals, spiral-welded steel pipe
 
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NA%
 
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1.945 billion kWh (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 136
 
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1.907 billion kWh (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 138
 
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0 kWh (2009 est.)
 
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0 kWh (2009 est.)
 
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0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 130
 
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35,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 110
 
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transshipments of 41,610 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 84
 
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70,990 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 80
 
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0 bbl (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 108
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 101
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 150
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 59
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 157
 
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0 cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 112
 
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-$1.038 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 136
-$893.3 million (2009 est.)
 
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$702.4 million (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 162
$710.7 million (2009 est.)
 
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mineral products and salt, animal products, rum, chemicals, fruit and vegetables
 
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US 35.9%, Singapore 18.1%, Germany 15.6%, Dominican Republic 7.9% (2010)
 
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$2.591 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 147
$2.535 billion (2009 est.)
 
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machinery and transport equipment, manufactures, chemicals, mineral fuels; food and live animals
 
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US 23.6%, Venezuela 19.3%, South Korea 11.3%, France 8%, India 7.5%, Japan 6.7%, Singapore 5.4%, China 4.6% (2010)
 
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$342.6 million (2004 est.)
country comparison to the world: 172
 
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Bahamian dollars (BSD) per US dollar -
1 (2009)
1 (2008)
1 (2007)
1 (2006)
 
 
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Communications

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129,300 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 142
 
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428,400 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 168
 
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general assessment: modern facilities
domestic: totally automatic system; highly developed; the Bahamas Domestic Submarine Network links 14 of the islands and is designed to satisfy increasing demand for voice and broadband Internet services
international: country code - 1-242; landing point for the Americas Region Caribbean Ring System (ARCOS-1) fiber-optic submarine cable that provides links to South and Central America, parts of the Caribbean, and the US; satellite earth stations - 2 (2007)
 
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2 television stations operated by government-owned, commercially run Broadcasting Corporation of the Bahamas (BCB); multi-channel cable TV subscription service is available; about 15 radio stations operating with BCB operating a multi-channel radio broadcasting network alongside privately-owned radio stations (2007)
 
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.bs
 
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21,939 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 107
 
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115,800 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 156
 
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Transportation

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62 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 78
 
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total: 23
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 13
914 to 1,523 m: 5 (2010)
 
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total: 39
1,524 to 2,437 m: 5
914 to 1,523 m: 12
under 914 m: 22 (2010)
 
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1 (2010)
 
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total: 2,717 km
country comparison to the world: 169
paved: 1,560 km
unpaved: 1,157 km (2002)
 
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total: 1,170
country comparison to the world: 10
by type: barge carrier 1, bulk carrier 229, cargo 191, carrier 2, chemical tanker 80, combination ore/oil 8, container 50, liquefied gas 78, passenger 100, passenger/cargo 29, petroleum tanker 222, refrigerated cargo 106, roll on/roll off 12, specialized tanker 2, vehicle carrier 60
foreign-owned: 1,080 (Angola 5, Belgium 9, Bermuda 12, Brazil 1, Canada 102, China 4, Croatia 1, Cyprus 14, Denmark 59, Finland 8, France 19, Germany 39, Greece 209, Guernsey 6, Hong Kong 2, Indonesia 2, Ireland 3, Italy 5, Japan 93, Jordan 2, Kuwait 2, Malaysia 13, Monaco 14, Montenegro 2, Netherlands 22, Nigeria 2, Norway 198, Poland 32, Saudi Arabia 16, Singapore 7, Slovenia 1, Spain 9, Sweden 6, Switzerland 2, Thailand 4, Trinidad and Tobago 1, Turkey 3, UAE 27, UK 24, US 100)
note: this country allows large numbers of ships owned by foreign entities to be registered in its national shipping registry and to fly its flag; these ships operate under the laws of the flag state
registered in other countries: 10 (Bolivia 1, Malta 1, Panama 7, Peru 1) (2010)
 
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Freeport, Nassau, South Riding Point
 
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Military

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Royal Bahamian Defense Force: Land Force, Navy, Air Wing (2011)
 
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18 years of age; no conscription (2010)
 
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males age 16-49: 85,568 (2010 est.)
 
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males age 16-49: 63,429
females age 16-49: 64,645 (2010 est.)
 
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male: 2,829
female: 2,750 (2010 est.)
 
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0.7% of GDP (2009)
country comparison to the world: 151
 
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Transnational Issues

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disagrees with the US on the alignment the northern axis of a potential maritime boundary
 
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current situation: the Bahamas is a destination, source, and transit country for men, women and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; women from South American countries such as Brazil, Colombia, and Panama may be subjected to forced prostitution; some workers from Haiti, Jamaica, China, Peru, and the Philippines could be vulnerable to involuntary servitude
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - despite making significant efforts to fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, the government did not demonstrate evidence of an overall increase in its anti-trafficking or victim-assistance efforts (2011)
 
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transshipment point for cocaine and marijuana bound for US and Europe; offshore financial center
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