More than two-thirds of Bahamas live on the small island of New Providence, where the capital Nassau is located. Grand Bahama, with the country’s second city of Freeport, also has a relatively large population. The vast majority of Bahamas are black.
Around nine out of ten residents come from Africa. Their ancestors came mainly as slaves to the Bahamas, from Bermuda in the 17th century and from the United States in the late 18th century. Of the other Bahamas, almost half are white, mainly from the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada. The remainder identifies with mixed origin or other origin.
- COUNTRYAAH.COM: Key populations estimated size and data of Bahamas, including population density of how many people per square mile. Also included are facts for population and language.
From the 1960s, people from Haiti – and to a lesser extent from Cuba and Jamaica – have applied to the Bahamas to work. Since the 1990s, the number of Haitian refugees and undocumented immigrants has increased significantly. According to official statistics, just over a tenth of the population is Haitian, but at least as many Haitians are believed to be living illegally in the country.
As more Haitians have arrived in the country, ethnic tensions between Haitians and Bahamians have increased. Tens of thousands of Haitians have been deported from the Bahamas without asylum. The rejections continued despite criticism from, among others, the UN and the human rights organization Amnesty International. Criticism is also directed at difficult conditions in detention centers for the paperless. According to a 2014 law, all non-Bahamian citizens must have a passport, something many Haitians lack. Many Haitians and Cubans also die when their boats capsize on the way to the Bahamas.
The Bahamas had a high population growth earlier, mainly in the 1950s and 1960s as a result of immigration from other countries in the Caribbean and from the United States. Since the mid-1990s, growth has slowed somewhat due to lower birth rates and reduced immigration, but it is still relatively high.
English is the official language and is used throughout the country. The English is often spoken as a mixed language (Creole language) with elements of, among other things, African words.
FACTS – POPULATION AND LANGUAGE
people of African or African / European origin, smaller groups of people with European or Latin American roots
Number of residents
395 361 (2017)
Number of residents per square kilometer
Percentage of residents in the cities
82.9 percent (2017)
Nativity / birth
14.3 per 1000 residents (2016)
Mortality / mortality
6.3 per 1000 residents (2016)
1.0 percent (2017)
1.8 number of births per woman (2016)
Percentage of women
51.0 percent (2017)
76 years (2016)
Life expectancy for women
79 years (2016)
Life expectancy for men
73 years (2016)
English is commonly used 1
- otherwise, mixed language sources are spoken