Vital Statistics

In 2013, The Government of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, with the support of the Inter American Development Bank, decided to carry out the Household Expenditure Survey (HES‐2013). Conducted by the Department of Statistics, the HES‐2013 provided an expansive profile of the conditions under which the population of The Bahamas lives.

The Bahamas is a high income economy, with a population of about 352,000 inhabitants and an estimated GDP per capita of $ 21,777 in 2010.  Social indicators are good and, as a result, the country ranked 43 out of 169 countries on the UNDP Human Development Index (2010). However, the last time that a comprehensive analysis of the socioeconomic conditions of the country was performed was in 2001--an update was desperately needed.

There was an increase in the poverty rate between 2001 and 2013

Probably due to the effects of the financial crisis started in 2009: unemployment rate was 6.9% in 2001, grew to 8.7% by 2008, reaching 15.4% in 2013. GDP per capita decreased between 2001 and 2013.

12.5% of the population in The Bahamas lives in poverty conditions. Percentage was 9.3% in 2001

8.7% of the households in the country are living in poverty

The poverty rate is significantly higher in Family Islands (17.2%) than in New Providence (12.4%) and in Grand Bahama (9.4%)

An ample majority of the poor resides in New Providence (71.5%)

Poverty rate is highest for people younger than 20 years (18.8%) and lowest for people aged 60 and older (7.2%).

  • Migrants from Haiti are the group that suffers the highest incidence of poverty (37.7%). The poverty rate for Bahamians is 11.1%, while the incidence of poverty among nationals of Canada, UK and the USA (4.9%) is much lower than the national rate.

A distinctive characteristic of The Bahamas is the uneven distribution of the population among the different islands. Nassau (72.6%), which accounts for only 1.5% of the total land mass of the country Grand Bahama (14.4%) Remaining Islands (13.0%)

A partial explanation of the disparities in the distribution of the population between regions is the existence of disparities in economics opportunities and living standards between regions

The New Providence population is over‐represented in the richest 40% of the population: while this island represents 72.6% of the population of the country, its share in the richest 40% climbs to 77.8% while its share in the poorest 40% falls to 70.2%. The opposite result is verified for the Family Islands: while this group of islands represents a 13.0% of the total population of The Bahamas, its share in the poorest 40% of the population is 16.2% and its share in the richest 40% of the population is 9.1%. 

Poverty and Inequality

The level of education of the household head and the size and the composition of the household are variables strongly related to poverty

The incidence of poverty is almost 25% for the households where the head has no formal education and 12.3% for households with a head with primary education. On the contrary, the incidence of poverty among households where the head has at least some college education is lower than 1%.

Almost 51% of the poor households have at least five members and 74% of the poor households have at least a child.

Labour Market

Unemployment rates are similar among men and women, decrease significantly with age and expenditure level, and are higher in Grand Bahama than in New Providence and in the Family Islands.


The access to private medical insurance is very unequally distributed.

While 60.3% of the individuals of the richest quintile have private medical insurance, only 5.6% of the individuals of the poorest quintile have that kind of insurance.

Contact details

Bahamas Feeding Network
P.O. Box SS-6240
Nassau Bahamas
1 (242) 676-2636