Bahamas

Official name: The commonwealth of the Bahamas..Form of governement:constitutional monarchy with two legislative houses (Sentae 16);House of Assemly (30). Chief of State: British Queen Elizabeth II (from 1952), represented by Governor-General Sir Clifford Husbands (from 1996).Head of government: Prime Minister David Thompson (from 2008).Capital:Bridgetown.Official Language: English.Official Religion:none.Monetary unit:1 Bahamian dollarr (BDS$)=100 cents;valuation (1 Jul 2009) US$1=BDS$1.98.

Demography

Area: 5,382 sw mi, 13,939 sq km.Population(2008): 335,000. Density (2008):persons per sq mi 86.1, persons per sq km 33,3. Urban (2003): 89.5%. Sex distribution (2007): male 48.62%; female 51.38%.Age breakdown (2006) :under 15, 27.6%;15-29, 26.0%; 30-44,26.22.2%;45-59, 14.9%;60-74, 7.1%; 75-84,3.8%;75 and over , 2.2%.Ethnic composition (2000):local black 67.5%; mulatto 14.2.%;British expatriates 4.3%;US white 1.2%;Indo-Pakistani 1.1%;other 0.3%.Religious affiliation (2000)Christian 72.5%, of which Anglican 28.3%, Pentecostal 18.7%,Adventist 5.5%, Methodist 5.1%;Rastafarian 1.1%;Muslim 0.7%;Hindu 0.3%;nonreligious 17.3%;other /unknown 8.1%. Major Urban areas(2004):Bridgetown 99,100; Speightstown 3,600; Oistins (2000) 1, 203.Location: chain of isands in the Caribbean Sea,southeast of Florida.

Vital statistics

Birth rate per 1,000 population (2006):13.9 (world avg 20.3). Death rate per 1,000 population (2006): 5.3(world average 8.6).Natural increase rate per 1,000 population (2006) :8.6 (world avg. 11.7).Total fertility rate (avg.births per childbearing woman; 2006): 2.18. Life expectancy at birth (2006):male 62.2 years ;female 69.0 years.

National Economy

Budget (2004-05).Revenue:Bds $1,039,376,000 (tax revenue 89.0%, of which VAT 31.8%, corporate taxes 16.8%,personal income taxes 14.3%;nontax revenue 11%.) Expenditures:Bds 1.143,469,000(current expenditures 85.2%, of which education 18.7%, debt payments 12.8%,health 16.9%;development expenditures 14.8%). Public debt (exrernal, outstanding ;December 2005):US $ 763,500,000. Production (metric tons except as noted). Agriculture and fishing (2006): raw sugar 33,701,sweet poptatoes 2,000,coconuts 1,950;livestock (number of live animals) 19,000 pigs, 10,800 sheep, 3,400,000 chicken ;fisheries production (2005) 1,869 (from aquaculture, none)Manufacturing (value added in US$ 000,000;1997): industrial chemicals 87;food peoducts 63;beverages (significantly rum and beer)58.Energy production ( consumption) :electricity (kW-hr 2007) 924,000,000(924,000,000);crude petroleum (barrels;2007)303,000 (2005) negligible); petroleum products (metric tons ;2005) 1,000 (360,000);natural gas (cum;2007) 21,200,000 (2005) 26,600,000). Population economically active (December 2005):total 145,800;activity rate of total population 53.1%(participation rates:ages 15 and over 69.0%;female 49.5%;unemployed (January -March 2008) 7.9%.Gross National Income (2006):US $3,307,000,000(US$11,291 per capita). Selected balance of payments data.Receipts from (US$000,000): tourism (2006) 978;remittances (2007) 140; foreign direct investment (FDI) ( 2004-06 avg) 29.Disbursements for (US $ 000,000): tourism (2005) 96;remittances (2007) 40;FDI(2004-06 abg.)6.

Foreign Trade

Imports (2005)B$2,567,000,000(machinary and transportation equipment 22.1%;minerla fuels 19.8%;food products 13.2%;chemcial products 7.0% ). Major import sources:US 83.9%;Curacao 7.1%, Puerto Rico 1.9%;Japan 1.2%.Exports (2005) B$ 450, 800,000(domestic exports 60.1%, of which plastics 25.7%,fish, crustaceans, and lousks(mainly crayfish) 17.2%,alcoholic beverages 3.7%,reexports 39.9%,pf which petroleum 9.0%.Major export destinations:US 68.9%;France 8.3%;Germany 7.0&;UK 4.6%;Canada 4.5%.

Transport and communications

Transport.Railroads:none.Roads (2000):total length 2,963 km (paved 57%). Vehicles (2002):passenger cars 90,000;trucks and buses 25,000.Air transport (2001): passenger-km 374,000,000;short ton mi cargo 1,208,000,metric ton-km cargo 1,764,000, Communications, in total units (unites per 1,000 persons). Telephone landlines (2007): 133,000 (401); cellular telephone subscibers (2007):374,000 (766);personal computers (2005): 40,000 (148); total internet uses (2007): 120,000(953); broadband internet subrscibers (2005):13,000(118).

Education and Health

Education attainment (2000).Percentage of employed labor force gaving:no formal schooling/unknown 2.5%;primary education 8.7%;secondary 19.9%;technical/vocational 53.7%,university 19.6%.Literacy (2002):total population ages 15 and over literate 99.7%.Health (2002):physicians 376 (1 per 721 persons); hospital beds 501 (1 per 541 persons); infant mortality rate per 1,000 live births (2006) 11.8;undernourished population (2002-04)less than 2.5% of total population.

Military

Total active duty personnel (2007):860(army 82.0%, navy 18.0%). Military expenditures as percentage of GDP(2005): 0.7%;per capita expenditures US %121.

Background

The islands were inhabited by Lucayan Indians when Christopher Columbus sighted them on 12 Oct 1492. He is thought to have landed on San Salvador (Watling) Island. The spaniards made no attempt to settle but carried out slave raids that depopulated the islands; when English settles arrived in 1648 from Bermuda, the islands were uninhabited. They became a haunt of pirates, and few of the ensuing settlements prospered. The islands enjoyed some prosperity following the American revolution , when loyalist fled to the US and established cotton plantations. The islands were a center of blockade runners during the American Civil War.Not until the development of tourism after world war II did permanent economic prosperity arrive.The Bahamas were granted internal self-government in 1964 and became independent in 1973.

Recent developments

In early 2009 the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development announced that the Bahamas was on its so-called Gray list of countries;these nations have agreed to improve financial transparency standiards but have not signed the necessary international accords to do so.

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