The Bahamas is located between latitudes 21° and 27° north and longitudes 72° and 79° W, extending southeastwards from 80 km east of Florida to within 80 km of Cuba and Haiti. The country comprises an archipelago of more than 700 islands and over 2,000 islets or rocks and cays. While these islets and cays spread over 260,000 sq. km of the Atlantic Ocean, their total land area is approximately 13,940 sq. km. The islands of the Bahamas have generally flat terrain with the highest point, located on Cat Island, rising to only 63m (206ft) above sea level. The islands are coral formations made entirely of calcium carbonate. Partly owing to this, there are no rivers present however there are a number of tidal creeks. The land is covered with extensive wetlands and mangrove swamp/forests with the coastline extending for approximately 3,542km. The coastal and marine waters of the Bahamas are home to five percent of the world’s coral as well as the world’s third longest barrier reef. Other coastal habitats found in the Bahamas are seagrass beds and mangroves which act as nurseries for a wide range of coastal and marine species. The Bahamian population in 2014 was estimated at 382,600, and projected at 388,000 for the year 2015 with a population growth rate of 1% per annum. The GDP of the Bahamas was estimated at $US 8.5 billion in 2014. The major economic contributor is the services industry, which accounts for 90% of the country’s GDP.
Selected Indicators for Impacts and Vulnerabilities