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Country Profile of Bahamas

Main statistical agency
Main statistical agency name
Department of Statistics
Web address

Position in the government
The Department of Statistics is mandated by the Ministry of Finance.
Organizational structure and finance
The Department of Statistics is under the Ministry of Finance. The Director of Statistics is responsible for every division. The Department of Statistics is divided into three divisions: Administration, Economics Statistics, and Social Statistics. The Economics Statistics division is responsible for national accounts, foreign trade, business establishment, and consumer price indices.
The Social Statistics division is responsible for population census, social indicators, vital statistics, and labor market information.
Main duties
Many events and persons converged to produce today's Department of Statistics with its mission: "To ensure that the Bahamian Government, businesses and people are never hampered in their activities by any inadequacies of statistics, their recent trends or their interpretation and in particular, to ensure that the managers of the Bahamian economy in the Ministry of Finance, The Central Bank and elsewhere never lack adequate statistics nor argue about them."

Role of the Department
The Department of Statistics was created at a time of tremendous advances taking place in the economic and social life of the country. There was an overwhelming need for data about the people and the economy of The Bahamas. The newly created statistical unit was charged with a five-fold responsibility:

- Collect, compile, analyze, abstract and publish statistical information relating to the commercial, social, industrial, agricultural, financial, economic and general activities and conditions of the inhabitants of the Bahamas;

- Collaborate with all other departments of government in the collection, compilation and publication of statistical records of administration;

- Conduct general purpose surveys, including any census of population in The Bahamas;

- Advise on all matters of policy relating to statistics; and

- Generally organize a co-ordinated scheme of social and economic statistics pertaining to the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.

In order to produce official statistics, the DOS undertakes a large number of separate collections, ranging from decennial censuses of population to regular household surveys on specific social or economic issues and from periodic censuses to regular surveys of industry to provide current economic indicators. The DOS devotes considerable effort to producing statistics as a byproduct of administrative systems, and continually assesses user requirements and the capacity of providers to furnish additional data in an effort to update its system.

Brief history and other relevant background information
Brief history and other relevant background information
Thirty years ago a small number of men and women under the leadership of Mr. R.R. Oswald (UN Advisor) formed the nucleus of the Department of Statistics. They began operations in rented space above the Spotless Laundry in Palmdale. T heir first official task involved the production of External Trade Statistics. They were assisted by a number of customs officers who were on loan to the Department from the Customs Department.

The neophyte unit plunged into the statistical world with eagerness and passion and by the end of the first year's activities, had taken over the responsibility for external trade statistics and the preparation of the retail price index.

By the end of 1969, the services of a Director in the person of Mr. J. Egbert Tertullien (formerly of Statistics Canada) had been acquired. The staff now boasted two statistical officers, two statistical assistants and some supporting clerical staff. They now occupied a suite of offices in Nassau Court in what was once The Government High School. The Department was ready to take on big tasks.

From these humble beginnings, a modern state-of-the art, fully staffed department, operating from two separate locations has emerged.

Legal basis
Legal basis
The Department of Statistics (DOS) operates under the authority of the Statistics Act 1973. Under the provisions of the Act, the DOS , under directions of the Minister responsible and the general control and superintendence of the Director is legally authorized to collect, compile, analyze, abstract and publicize statistical information on the commercial, industrial, agricultural, mining. social, financial, economic and general activities and conditions of The Bahamas. Persons collecting information on behalf of the Department are sworn to an oath of secrecy as required by the Act. Disclosure of information collected by such persons on any individual or business establishment to anyone not employed in the performance of a duty under the Act is an offense; so too is the publication of the data.

One of the major events in the development of the Department of Statistics was the passage in The Bahamas Independence Order 1973 of "An Act to provide for The Taking of Censuses and the Collection, Compilation, Analysis and Publication of Statistical Information and for related purposes." This Act, known as The Statistics Act, 1973, provided the legal authority for the Department to carry out its mandate. The Act established the power of the Department to obtain information, provided remedies for failure to furnish information, protected individuals from indiscriminate disclosure of information and provided penalties for breaches in the confidentiality of information by agents of the Department.

Other producers of official statistics
Other producers of official statistics
Central Bank of The Bahamas
Ministry of Health
Ministry of Tourism
Ministry of Education
Department of Labour
Department of Marine Resources
Department of Agriculture

Data collection
Most recent population census
1 May 2000

Data dissemination
Release calendar (existence, when and how published)
All data approved for release are released simultaneously to the public via press releases, publications, etc. The DOS does not produce advance release calendars at present. One will be produced for 2003.
Main publications
•National Accounts of The Bahamas
•Foreign Trade Report
•Vital Statistics
•Labour Force and Household Income
•The Bahamas in Figures
•Annual Review of Prices
•Occupations & Salaries in the Hotel Industry
•Labour Market Information newsletter
•Building Construction Statistics
•Construction Cost Index
•Vital Statistics Provisional Report
•Retail Price Index
Other Publications
•Census of Population and Housing
•Life Tables for the Bahamas
•Population Projections for The Bahamas
•A Collection of Statistics on Women
•Household Expenditure Survey Reports
•Bahamas Living Conditions Report
•Occupations & Wages Report
Languages of main publications
How are data disseminated (Paper, CD Rom, Website, online databases, databanks)?

Reports may be available in other formats for offline use. Contact Publications Department at for information regarding additional formats.

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