Poverty in the Bahamas, t. 1 - Guardian of Nassau (2023)

"Poverty is the worst form of violence." - Mahatma Gandhi

I've been busy writing a two-part series on poverty in the Bahamas for a long time. Admittedly, I found the task daunting, largely due to the lack of up-to-date empirical data, which left me wondering where to start on such a complex topic. It is difficult to confirm a subject of this complexity without accompanying quantitative analysis to support one's hypothesis.

The complexity of this issue is compounded by the fact that we are an archipelagic nation of dozens of inhabited islands, spanning more than 100,000 square miles of water from Florida to Cuba. This is an important consideration because any definition or discussion of poverty must take into account the demographics, socio-economic working conditions and living habits and practices of the different islands, each of which may produce changes to the generally accepted definition of poverty.

so we're going to do this weekthink about it…What factors are considered when defining poverty in the Bahamas?

What is poverty?

Poverty can be defined as a chronic lack of basic human needs, including adequate nutritious food, clothing, housing, clean water and health care.

Poverty in the Bahamas is the result of a combination of factors: mismanagement of resources, inflation, inadequate education, lack of employment opportunities, environmental degradation, and inadequate, inadequate incentives. We'll discuss these factors in more detail next week in the final part of this series.

The effects of poverty include malnutrition, drug addiction, infectious diseases, exposure to the natural environment, crime and violence.

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A 2001-2002 study in the Bahamas found that the minimum amount needed per person per day to maintain an inexpensive diet was $7.84, with slightly more for other basic needs. The survey also identified a poverty line for the first time, estimating that 9.3 percent of the population and 5 percent of households in the Bahamas live below the poverty line.

Correctly defining and understanding poverty is important because it helps us value those affected by it and helps us reduce poverty rates in our country. Additionally, the poverty reduction proposal will encourage others to join this important conversation.

poverty line

There are fundamental problems with accurately estimating poverty in the Bahamas in 2023. The latest comprehensive and reliable data comes from the Bahamas National Statistics Office's 2013 Household Expenditure Report. As a result, household expenditure data compiled by the Bahamas are outdated.

According to a 2013 report, "The poverty line is the minimum amount of money a household needs to be able to afford a balanced, affordable diet and basic needs other than food reserves."

"In 2013, the total cost of a food basket that met calorie needs at minimum cost was estimated at $3.82 per day, which equates to a food basket of $1,394 per person per year.

"The non-food component of the poverty line was estimated using household consumption patterns reported in the survey.

"The cost of the total poverty line, including allowances for non-food purchases, was set at $11.64 per day in 2013. This equates to a poverty line of $4,247 per person per year."

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Note that this figure in the 2013 report ($11.64 per day) reflects a $3.80 increase in the poverty line from the 2001 report, or $7.84 per day.

poverty index

The 2013 report continued: "Once the poor are identified, poverty levels can be incorporated into a single poverty indicator. This report calculates the three most common indicators of poverty: the poverty rate, the poverty gap, and the squared poverty gap. While this section focuses on What is important is the proportion of the population living in poverty (i.e. the poverty rate), but this information is insufficient to understand the extent of poverty.

The Poverty Gap provides insight into the depth of poverty by showing the gap between the poor and the poverty line, and allows estimating the total consumption deficit of the entire poor population relative to the poverty line. The squared poverty gap provides information about inequality among the poor by averaging the squared poverty gap relative to the poverty line. "

Measuring Poverty: Empirical Findings

The 2013 report continued: “The national poverty rate is 12.5%. In other words: In 2013, one in eight residents lived in poverty. Regionally, the Family Islands had the highest poverty rate: 17.2% per capita consumption is below the general poverty line.

“New Providence has almost the same poverty rate as the nation (12.4%), while Grand Bahama has a lower poverty rate than the other two regions (9.4%). Although the Family Islands has a higher poverty rate than the other two regions, the Greater Bahama The majority of poor people (71.5%) are in New Providence, the most populous country.

"Poverty rate statistics by gender, age and nationality. Although women make up the majority of the poor (51.8%), the poverty rate is higher for men (13.2%) than for women (12.4%).

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"People under the age of 20 are disproportionately represented among the poor: while they make up 33.7 percent of the population, almost half of the poor (49.7 percent) belong to this age group." More specifically, only two age-group poverty rates Higher than the national poverty rate: children aged 0 to 9 (18.2%) and children aged 10 to 19 (19.3%).

“The poverty rate for the 20-29 age group (13.0%) is closest to the national poverty rate, while other groups are under-represented in poverty. The 60-69 age group is the age group with the lowest poverty rate, with only 6.5% live in poverty.

We found that a recent report compiled and published by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in 2017 stated that 14.8% of the Bahamian population lived below the poverty line, compared to 12.5% ​​in a 2013 survey.

If this figure is correct, it would mean that 51,800 Bahamians and residents lived below the poverty line out of a population of 350,000 in 2017. In all fairness, this is a frightening statistic.

It is important to update these data to reflect the current state of poverty in the Bahamas.

Although our local research is a year or two old, it's safe to say that this number has increased significantly given the recent devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and Hurricane Dorian.

We must fully understand the magnitude of this devastating problem so we can better address it and find solutions.

out of poverty

(Video) Bahamas the history and documentary.

One of the most important preoccupations of any government is to provide a safety net for those living below the poverty line. Successive governments have implemented programs to achieve this goal.

Yet our citizens and residents are simply not immune to the relentless clutches of this insidious phenomenon, underscoring the urgent need to redouble our efforts to lift families above the poverty line.


Unless we take the time to fully understand the appalling conditions that poverty brings to those living with violence, we will never understand the social and economic causality that affects us all.

A true understanding of poverty will allow us to realize that poverty is not just a problem of the poor. This is an issue that concerns all of us, and it is an issue that requires more attention for the well-being of the country.

Next week, we'll examine real examples of human poverty in the Bahamas. We will show how the lives of thousands of people can be improved by taking bold and decisive action against this grave social scourge.

• Philip C. Galanis is managing partner of HLB Bahamas, Advisors and Chartered Accountants. He served in Congress for 15 years. Send your comments topgalanis@gmail.com.

Poverty in the Bahamas, t. 1 - Guardian of Nassau (1)

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What causes poverty in The Bahamas? ›

In The Bahamas, poverty results from several factors: poor resource management, inflation, inadequate education, lack of employment opportunities, environmental degradation, and inadequate, insufficient incentives. We will discuss these factors in greater detail next week in the final installment of this series.

What is the poverty rate in The Bahamas? ›

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.

What is the poorest island in The Bahamas? ›

The poverty rates among the islands in the Bahamas vary greatly: poverty rates are the highest within the Family Islands and lowest in Grand Bahama.

Are The Bahamas impoverished? ›

The economy of The Bahamas is dependent upon tourism and offshore banking. The Bahamas is the richest country in the Caribbean and is ranked 14th in North America for nominal GDP. It is a stable, developing nation in the Lucayan Archipelago, with a population of 407,906 (2021).

What is the biggest cause of poverty? ›

The United Nations Social Policy and Development Division identifies “inequalities in income distribution and access to productive resources, basic social services, opportunities” and more as a cause for poverty. Groups like women, religious minorities, and racial minorities are the most vulnerable.

What is the Bahamas main income? ›

Tourism and related services contribute approximately 70 percent of the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employs just over half of the workforce.

What is the minimum wage in Bahamas? ›

“As you are aware, the Bahamas government recently announced an increase in the minimum wage, which took effect on January 1, 2023, when the new minimum hourly rate increases to $6.50,” the circular said.

How many homeless people are in the Bahamas? ›

In a press briefing last Friday, Stéphane Dujarric, spokesman for the Secretary-General of the United Nations, said: “We believe that about 70,000 people are currently homeless in the Bahamas.”

What parts of the Bahamas are poor? ›

While most poor people—nearly 76%—live in the densely populated, urban areas of New Providence and Grand Bahama, the poverty rate there is less than the national rate. By contrast, in the sparsely populated region known as Other Family Islands, where less than 6% of the poor live, the poverty rate is nearly 21%.

What is the richest place in the Bahamas? ›

Considered one of the world's wealthiest and most exclusive residential areas, Lyford Cay is an ultra-private, gated community featuring an exclusive club with its own security service and catering to a diverse cross-section of prominent social and business leaders from around the world.

What is the poorest island in the world? ›

Madagascar is the world's fifth largest island, situated in the Indian Ocean off the coast of southern Africa. Despite considerable natural resources, however, its population of about 28 million (2020) has one of the world's highest poverty rates.

Are there slums in the Bahamas? ›

Second and third largest cities are Lucaya and Freeport. More than 300,000 people live in these three cities. The majority of the economy is located here, and like any major cities, they contain elite suburbs and impoverished slums.

Do a lot of Americans live in the Bahamas? ›

It has been estimated that there are 30,000 Americans living in the Bahamas. Living in the Bahamas is an ever-popular choice for American expats, on account of the laid back culture, the climate, the beautiful beaches, and, of course, the tax advantages.

Is it safe to go to the Bahamas Nassau? ›

Is Nassau dangerous for tourists? No, the city of Nassau is not dangerous for tourists except for a few neighborhoods and areas to avoid (see list below) and provided they are careful.

Where is poverty the worst? ›

Poverty rates were highest in the states of Mississippi (19.58%), Louisiana (18.65%), New Mexico (18.55%), West Virginia (17.10%), Kentucky (16.61%), and Arkansas (16.08%), and they were lowest in the states of New Hampshire (7.42%), Maryland (9.02%), Utah (9.13%), Hawaii (9.26%), and Minnesota (9.33%).

What race has the highest poverty in the US? ›

Poverty Rates 1
  • Overall Poverty Rate: 11.4% (37.2 million people) ...
  • African American Poverty Rate: 19.5% (8.5 million people) ...
  • Hispanic Poverty Rate: 17.0% (10.4 million people) ...
  • White Poverty Rate: 8.2% (15.9 million people) ...
  • Native American Poverty Rate: 23.0% (600,000 people)

Why do people live in poverty? ›

Poverty has multiple root causes beyond just a lack of basic necessities like food, shelter, education, or healthcare. Discrimination based on gender or ethnicity, poor governance, conflict, exploitation, and domestic violence are all factors that contribute to poverty.

Why do the poor stay poor? ›

There are two broad views as to why people stay poor. One emphasizes differences in fundamentals, such as ability, talent or motivation. The other, the poverty traps view, differences in opportunities which stem from access to wealth.

Who are the poorest of poor? ›

The 'poorest of the poor' are those who are systematically denied equal access to their family resources in rural areas.

What is the average wage in Nassau Bahamas? ›

A person working in Nassau makes around 3,120 BSD (USD 3,112) per month. This is 20% lower than the national average salary of the Bahamas. Typically, the average monthly wage ranges from a minimum of 790 BSD to a maximum of 13,900 BSD. And the median salary in Nassau is about 3,300 BSD (USD 3,298) per month.

Who owns most of Bahamas? ›

Who owns the Bahamas & is it a U.S. Territory? The Bahamas is an independent country. It was formerly a British Territory for 325 years. It became independent in 1973 and joined the United Nations during the same year.

Why do wealthy people live in the Bahamas? ›

With its world-class golf courses and casinos, the islands know how to cater to wealthy retirees. Of course, their enchanting beauty, sea-swept beaches, and tropical weather are also attractive to people who simply want to live in an extraordinarily lovely place.

How much money can you leave Bahamas? ›

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT: Visitors must declare currency and other negotiable instruments of $10,000 or more upon exit.

What is the minimum wage in the Nassau Guardian? ›

Minimum wage to move from $210 to $260 weekly.

Is it easy to get a job in Bahamas? ›

While the Bahamas are more or less the place to be for foreign investors, expats who dream about working in the Bahamas have a hard time finding employment. This is due to the Bahamian government protecting its citizens and attempting to decrease unemployment among its own population.

How many whites live in Bahamas? ›

European Bahamians number 38,000 and are primarily descendants of English Puritans and American Loyalists who came to the islands in the 17th and 18th century. The account for 12% of the population and the largest minority group.

Who has the worst homeless population? ›

In 2022, Los Angeles had the nation's largest homeless population. About 582,000 Americans are experiencing homelessness, according to 2022 Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) data.

Where do the most homeless live in USA? ›

California, New York, Florida and Washington had the most homeless people in 2022, according to the Annual Homeless Assessment Report. The four states accounted for more than half of the nation's homeless population, with 30% of the total living in California alone.

What is the biggest problem in the Bahamas? ›

High crime rate:

Most incidents involving U.S. citizens residing in The Bahamas are robberies or property crimes. Armed robbery, property crime, purse snatching, theft, fraud, and to a lesser extent sexual assault remain the most common crimes perpetrated against tourists.

Where to avoid in Bahamas? ›

  • Avoid Nassau's “over the hill” (south of Shirley Street) and Fish Fry (Arawak Cay) areas, especially at night.
  • Stay alert to your surroundings at all times.
  • Don't walk alone, particularly after dark.
  • Don't carry large sums of cash or wear expensive jewellery.

Where do most Americans live in the Bahamas? ›

Most expats moving to the Bahamas find themselves relocating to New Providence Island, where roughly two-thirds of all inhabitants live.

Do any celebrities live in the Bahamas? ›

What celebrities have homes in The Bahamas? Oprah Winfrey owns a home on the exclusive island of Harbour Island. Tim McGraw and Faith Hill own a home on the island of Eleuthera. Nicolas Cage used to own a private island in the Exuma Cays, but he sold it later.

Where do celebrities live in Bahamas? ›

Many well-known celebrities own Bahamas real estate. As one of the most sought-after destinations in the Caribbean, there are several celebrity homes in The Bahamas, including in Grand Bahama, Nassau, Bahamas, Harbor Island, and Paradise Island.

What billionaire owns an island in the Bahamas? ›

Sampson Cay – John Malone

Malone isn't the only prominent billionaire to own an island in the Bahamas, though. LVMH Chairman and CEO Bernard Arnault, the third-richest person in the world, holds the deeds to nearby Indigo Island.

What is the dirtiest island in the world? ›

Far out in the Pacific Ocean, Henderson Island lies 3,600 miles (5,800 kilometers) to the west of Chile and holds the upsetting title of "world's most polluted island". With an astonishing 270 objects washing up on its shore each day, the beaches of Henderson Island are littered with man-made pollution.

What is the poorest Caribbean island? ›

Haiti remains the poorest country in the Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region and among the poorest countries in the world. In 2021, Haiti had a GNI per capita of US$1,420, the lowest in the LAC region, which averaged US$15,092. On the UN's Human Development Index, Haiti ranked 163 out of 191 countries in 2021.

Which country has zero poverty? ›

Iceland stands at the top of countries with the lowest poverty rates with a poverty rate of 4.9% in 2021.

What is the safest city in Bahamas? ›

The Abacos are considered some of the safest islands in The Bahamas and are known for being family-friendly. The Abaco Islands have only a population of around 17,000 and are made up of Great Abaco, Little Abaco, and several smaller barrier cays. See crime statistics in The Bahamas on the Royal Bahaman Police website.

Are there homeless people in the Bahamas? ›

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) estimates Hurricane Dorian's damages to The Bahamas at $3.4 billion, including almost $15 million in housing damage. All of the damage has led to severe cases of homelessness in The Bahamas.

What is the least visited island in the Bahamas? ›

Mayaguana is one of the least visited islands in the Bahamas!

How long can a US citizen stay in the Bahamas? ›

American passport holders do not require visas to enter The Bahamas for a maximum duration stay of up to eight (8) months.

Do I have to pay US taxes if I live in the Bahamas? ›

In general, yes — Americans must pay U.S. taxes on foreign income. The U.S. is one of only two countries in the world where taxes are based on citizenship, not place of residency. If you're considered a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident, you pay income tax regardless where the income was earned.

Do Americans pay taxes in the Bahamas? ›

US Expat Taxes in the Bahamas

US expats living in the Bahamas only need to file their US tax returns and do not have to worry about filing a Bahamas tax return since the country does not impose an income tax on residents or non-residents.

Is it safe to walk around Nassau at night? ›

Be vigilant at all times and don't walk alone away from the main hotels, tourist areas, beaches and downtown Nassau, particularly after dark. Take care if travelling on local bus services after dusk on routes away from the main tourist areas. Don't carry large amounts of cash or jewellery. Robbers may be armed.

Are taxis safe in Nassau? ›

Are taxis safe in Nassau, Bahamas? Taxis in Nassau are safe and reliable; you only need to ensure that you use a licensed taxi if you are nervous. In Nassau, taxis prices are regulated by the government, so if you have any doubts about the cost of your journey, it's worth checking the set rates.

Are Bahamians friendly? ›

Bahamas are known for being friendly, outgoing and informal.

Hospitality is an extension of this and they like to get to know people, say hello to strangers and invite people into their homes.

What are three reasons for poverty in the Caribbean? ›

Low worker productivity, low educational achievement, limited economic diversification, and scarcity of productive investment beyond a few economic enclaves have historically restricted economic growth and curbed employment in the region.

What causes unemployment in the Bahamas? ›

Weakened tourism demand in major markets led to a decline in stay-over arrivals and reduced average spending. Value added in offshore financial services was also down due to the recession in major markets. The slump in activity caused unemployment to increase sharply to 14.2%.

What is the main source of income in the Bahamas? ›

The Bahamas is largely an export service economy, almost entirely dependent on tourism and financial services to generate foreign exchange earnings.

Is it safe to walk around Nassau? ›

The risk of crime increases after dark, especially around poorly lit and isolated or deserted areas. Tourists should therefore avoid walking alone at night in the less busy streets and on the beaches.

What are 3 unusual facts about the Bahamas? ›

17 Interesting Facts About The Bahamas
  • The name Bahamas comes from the Spanish term “baja mar.” Baha mar means shallow sea in Spanish. ...
  • The Bahamas was the landing site of Christopher Columbus. ...
  • The Bahamas has the 3rd highest per capita GDP in the western hemisphere.

What is the safest island in the Bahamas? ›

The Abacos are considered some of the safest islands in The Bahamas and are known for being family-friendly. The Abaco Islands have only a population of around 17,000 and are made up of Great Abaco, Little Abaco, and several smaller barrier cays.

Which is the poorest island in the Caribbean? ›

Haiti's economic and social development continues to be hindered by political instability, increasing violence and unprecedented levels of insecurity, which exacerbate fragility. Haiti remains the poorest country in the Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region and among the poorest countries in the world.

How can we solve poverty in the Caribbean? ›

States should invest in basic services such as healthcare and housing and in developing human resources by improving education and work-based training. Better education for women will help break the intergenerational transfer of poverty.

What is the socioeconomic status of The Bahamas? ›

The World Bank recognizes The Bahamas as a high-income, developed country with a GDP per capita of $25,194 (2020) and a Gross National Income per capita of $26,070 (2020).

What are the 3 main causes of unemployment? ›

What Are the Main Causes of Unemployment? There are a number of reasons for unemployment. These include recessions, depressions, technological improvements, job outsourcing, and voluntarily leaving one job to find another.

How much is unemployment in The Bahamas? ›

Unemployment refers to the share of the labor force that is without work but available for and seeking employment. Bahamas unemployment rate for 2021 was 13.24%, a 0.08% decline from 2020.

What is the number 1 industry in the Bahamas? ›

The Bahamas is largely an import service economy; its economy is almost entirely dependent on tourism and financial services to generate foreign exchange earnings. Tourism alone provides an estimated 60% of the gross domestic product (GDP) and employs about half the Bahamian work force. 2.

Why is living in the Bahamas so expensive? ›

So, Why Is The Bahamas So Expensive? The reason for the higher cost of living in the Bahamas is because the place is an island, which means they do not have their own factories to produce the goods they use within the country therefore they import the majority of the goods they use.

Why is the cost of living so high in the Bahamas? ›

The higher cost of living in the Bahamas are due to the fact that most goods need to be imported, and all of these items are taxed, when they arrive and clear customs. Unlike the US, there is no income tax in the Bahamas.


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