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Bahamas, The (2004)

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Bahamas, The 2004 year

 Bahamas, The
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
Age structure 0-14 years: 28.3% (male 42,474; female 42,423)

15-64 years: 65.7% (male 96,825; female 99,985)

65 years and over: 6% (male 7,351; female 10,639) (2004 est.)
Agriculture - products citrus, vegetables; poultry
Airports 63 (2003 est.)
Airports - with paved runways total: 29

over 3,047 m: 2

2,438 to 3,047 m: 3

1,524 to 2,437 m: 14

914 to 1,523 m: 9

under 914 m: 1 (2004 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways total: 34

1,524 to 2,437 m: 3

914 to 1,523 m: 10

under 914 m: 21 (2004 est.)
Area total: 13,940 sq km

land: 10,070 sq km

water: 3,870 sq km
Area - comparative slightly smaller than Connecticut
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.
Birth rate 18.22 births/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Budget revenues: $918.5 million

expenditures: $956.5 million, including capital expenditures of $106.7 million (FY99/00)
Capital Nassau
Climate tropical marine; moderated by warm waters of Gulf Stream
Coastline 3,542 km
Constitution 10 July 1973
Country name conventional long form: Commonwealth of The Bahamas

conventional short form: The Bahamas
Currency Bahamian dollar (BSD)
Death rate 8.82 deaths/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Debt - external $308.5 million (2002)
Diplomatic representation from the US chief of mission: Ambassador John D. ROOD

embassy: 42 Queen Street, Nassau

mailing address: local or express mail address: P. O. Box N-8197, Nassau; Department of State, 3370 Nassau Place, Washington, DC 20521-3370

telephone: [1] (242) 322-1181, 328-2206 (after hours)

FAX: [1] (242) 356-0222
Diplomatic representation in the US chief of mission: Ambassador Joshua SEARS

chancery: 2220 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 319-2660

FAX: [1] (202) 319-2668

consulate(s) general: Miami and New York
Disputes - international concerned about migrants fleeing Haiti's deteriorated economic and political conditions
Economic aid - recipient $9.8 million (1995)
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 half of the archipelago's labor force. Steady growth in tourism receipts and a boom in construction of new hotels, resorts, and residences had led to solid GDP growth in recent years, but the slowdown in the US economy and the attacks of 11 September 2001 held back growth in these sectors in 2001-03. Financial services constitute the second-most important sector of the Bahamian economy, accounting for about 15% of GDP. However, since December 2000, when the government enacted new regulations on the financial sector, many international businesses have left The Bahamas. 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 more than 80% of the visitors. In addition to tourism and banking, the government supports the development of a "third pillar," e-commerce.
Electricity - consumption 1.451 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports 0 kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports 0 kWh (2001)
Electricity - production 1.56 billion kWh (2001)
Elevation extremes lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m

highest point: Mount Alvernia, on Cat Island 63 m
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, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Ethnic groups black 85%, white 12%, Asian and Hispanic 3%
Exchange rates Bahamian dollars per US dollar - 1 (2003), 1 (2002), 1 (2001), 1 (2000), 1 (1999)
Executive branch chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952), represented by Governor General Dame 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
Exports 0 kWh (2001)
Exports $617 million (2002 est.)
Exports NA (2001)
Exports - commodities fish and crawfish; rum, salt, chemicals; fruit and vegetables
Exports - partners US 35%, Spain 9.6%, Germany 7.8%, France 7.6%, Poland 5.3%, Switzerland 4.8%, Peru 4.2%, Paraguay 4.2% (2003)
Fiscal year 1 July - 30 June
Flag description three equal horizontal bands of aquamarine (top), gold, and aquamarine, with a black equilateral triangle based on the hoist side
GDP purchasing power parity - $5.049 billion (2003 est.)
GDP - composition by sector agriculture: 3%

industry: 7%

services: 90% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita purchasing power parity - $16,700 (2003 est.)
GDP - real growth rate 0% (2003 est.)
Geographic coordinates 24 15 N, 76 00 W
Geography - note strategic location adjacent to US and Cuba; extensive island chain of which 30 are inhabited
Heliports 1 (2003 est.)
Highways total: 2,693 km

paved: 1,546 km

unpaved: 1,147 km (1999 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share lowest 10%: NA

highest 10%: NA
Illicit drugs transshipment point for cocaine and marijuana bound for US and Europe; offshore financial center
Imports 0 kWh (2001)
Imports $1.614 billion (2002 est.)
Imports NA (2001)
Imports - commodities machinery and transport equipment, manufactures, chemicals, mineral fuels; food and live animals
Imports - partners US 20.8%, South Korea 17.4%, Italy 11.4%, France 9.1%, Brazil 7.5%, Japan 5.6%, Venezuela 5.3% (2003)
Independence 10 July 1973 (from UK)
Industrial production growth rate NA (2002 est.)
Industries tourism, banking, e-commerce, cement, oil refining and transshipment, salt, rum, aragonite, pharmaceuticals, spiral-welded steel pipe
Infant mortality rate total: 25.7 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 31.73 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 19.55 deaths/1,000 live births (2004 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 1.7% (2002 est.)
International organization participation ACP, C, Caricom, CDB, FAO, G-77, IADB, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt (signatory), ICFTU, ICRM, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOM, IOC, ITU, LAES, MIGA, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW (signatory), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)
Irrigated land NA sq km
Judicial branch Supreme Court; Court of Appeal; magistrates courts
Labor force 156,000 (1999)
Labor force - by occupation agriculture 5%, industry 5%, tourism 50%, other services 40% (1999 est.)
Land boundaries 0 km
Land use arable land: 0.8%

permanent crops: 0.4%

other: 98.8% (2001)
Languages English (official), Creole (among Haitian immigrants)
Legal system based on English common law
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 five-year terms) and the House of Assembly (40 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 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
Life expectancy at birth total population: 65.63 years

male: 62.21 years

female: 69.11 years (2004 est.)
Literacy definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 95.6%

male: 94.7%

female: 96.5% (2003 est.)
Location Caribbean, chain of islands in the North Atlantic Ocean, southeast of Florida, northeast of Cuba
Map references Central America and the Caribbean
Maritime claims territorial sea: 12 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Merchant marine total: 1,035 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 31,631,252 GRT/43,025,977 DWT

by type: bulk 165, cargo 188, chemical tanker 45, combination bulk 10, combination ore/oil 17, container 97, liquefied gas 27, livestock carrier 2, multi-functional large load carrier 4, passenger 108, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 163, refrigerated cargo 133, roll on/roll off 34, short-sea/passenger 18, specialized tanker 3, vehicle carrier 20

foreign-owned: Algeria 1, Australia 7, Belgium 14, Bermuda 1, Canada 4, Chile 1, China 4, Croatia 1, Cuba 3, Cyprus 14, Denmark 49, Estonia 1, Faroe Islands 1, Finland 9, France 21, Germany 13, Gibraltar 1, Greece 163, Hong Kong 9, India 1, Indonesia 3, Ireland 1, Israel 3, Italy 7, Japan 35, Kenya 2, South Korea 1, Latvia 1, Liberia 1, Malaysia 11, Malta 1, Monaco 68, Netherlands 29, New Zealand 1, Norway 231, Panama 2, Philippines 3, Poland 14, Reunion 1, Russia 1, Saudi Arabia 9, Singapore 13, Slovenia 1, Spain 6, Sweden 9, Switzerland 1, Thailand 1, Trinidad and Tobago 2

registered in other countries: 11 (2004 est.)
Military branches Royal Bahamas Defense Force (including Coast Guard)
Military expenditures - dollar figure NA
Military expenditures - percent of GDP NA
National holiday Independence Day, 10 July (1973)
Nationality noun: Bahamian(s)

adjective: Bahamian
Natural hazards hurricanes and other tropical storms cause extensive flood and wind damage
Natural resources salt, aragonite, timber, arable land
Net migration rate -2.2 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Political parties and leaders Free National Movement or FNM [Tommy TURNQUEST]; Progressive Liberal Party or PLP [Perry CHRISTIE]
Political pressure groups and leaders NA
Population 299,697

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 2004 est.)
Population below poverty line NA
Population growth rate 0.72% (2004 est.)
Ports and harbors Freeport, Matthew Town, Nassau
Radio broadcast stations AM 3, FM 5, shortwave 0 (2004)
Religions Baptist 32%, Anglican 20%, Roman Catholic 19%, Methodist 6%, Church of God 6%, other Protestant 12%, none or unknown 3%, other 2%
Sex ratio at birth: 1.02 male(s)/female

under 15 years: 1 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.69 male(s)/female

total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2004 est.)
Suffrage 18 years of age; universal
Telephone system general assessment: modern facilities

domestic: totally automatic system; highly developed

international: country code - 1-242; tropospheric scatter and submarine cable to Florida; 3 coaxial submarine cables; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (1997)
Telephones - main lines in use 131,700 (2003)
Telephones - mobile cellular 121,800 (2002)
Television broadcast stations 2 (2004)
Terrain long, flat coral formations with some low rounded hills
Total fertility rate 2.23 children born/woman (2004 est.)
Unemployment rate 6.9% (2001 est.)
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