Officially The Commonwealth of the Bahamas, this independent nation has a population of 316,182 (July 2012 est.). The Bahamas’ archipelago consists of some 700 islands and islets and about 2,400 cays. These islands and cays span 13,880 sq. km. across the north Atlantic Ocean approximately 80 km. southeast of Florida. The capital and principal city of The Bahamas is Nassau, found on the centrally located island of New Providence. Other inhabited islands are known as the Family Islands. The family islands offer a very different and more holistic experience than Nassau. Most of these islands offer you the needed necessities, some more than others. Air transportation to these islands is very regulated and scheduled to be very accessible and connect with International air travel through Nassau. Many of the Major Islands have international flights come straight in from The USA.
The population consists of persons of African and mixed African and European descent; some 15% is of European descent. About three quarters of the people belong to one of several Protestant denominations and nearly 20% are Roman Catholic. English is the official language. The Bahamas has a relatively low illiteracy rate. The government provides free education through the secondary level and the College of The Bahamas, currently in transition to a university status, was established in 1974. Every family island has a school for kids up to middle school. These schools are all endeared and helped by local residents and second home owners. Sports and community events play a large part of there youth and upbringing.
The Bahamas is one of the wealthiest Caribbean countries with an economy dependent upon tourism and offshore banking. Tourism, along with the tourism-driven construction and manufacturing, accounts for approximately 60% of GDP and directly or indirectly employs half of the archipelago's labour force. Financial services make up the second-most important sector of the Bahamian economy and, when combined with business services, account for about 36% of GDP. Manufacturing and agriculture combined contribute approximately a mere tenth of GDP, although recently the government has introduced incentives aimed at those sectors.
With the building of BAHA MAR, a 2.7 Billion Dollar Resort investmen due to open in The Spring of 2017. The Bahamas is poised to once again be The Premier Destination of The Eastern Coast of North America.
The islands' vivid subtropical atmosphere, brilliant sky and sea, lush vegetation, flocks of brightly-feathered birds, and submarine gardens where multi-coloured fish swim among white, rose, yellow, and purple coral, as well as the rich local colour and folklore, has made The Bahamas one of the most popular resorts in the hemisphere. Most major family island are made self sufficient with their own power generation station, Government run medical clinics and Airports that have customs and immigration on Site. The term for these islands are: "ports of entry".
The Bahamas is governed under the constitution of 1973 and have a parliamentary democracy form of government. There is a bicameral legislature consisting of a 16-seat Senate and a 49-seat House of Assembly. The prime minister is the head of government, and the monarch of the United Kingdom, represented by an appointed governor-general, is the titular head of state. The nation is divided into 21 administrative districts.