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IDB study reveals data on social conditions in The Bahamas

Senior Business Reporter

Published: Feb 17, 2017

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Bahamian women play a key role in the labor force of this country, the highest of 22 Latin American and Caribbean countries studied, according to data in a recent Inter-American Development Bank Group’s (IDB Group) publication.

Yesterday, the University of The Bahamas (UB) hosted the launch of “Development in the Americas” at the Harry C. Moore Library Auditorium, where two of the IDB’s flagship publications were introduced to Caribbean regional audiences.

The publications: “The Early Years: The Child Well-Being and the Role of Public Policies”, and “Social Pulse in Latin America and the Caribbean”, give a statistical breakdown of the differences in social conditions in The Bahamas compared to the rest of the Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) region.

The Social Pulse publication revealed that 80 percent of all Bahamian women ages 25-64 are active in the labor market, compared with 60 percent of women in the Southern Cone and Andean countries and slightly over 40 percent of women in Central America. It added that Bahamian women have the second highest contributions to family labor income in the region.

The publication also revealed that the unemployment rates for youth ages 15-24 are the highest in the Caribbean countries that were studied. The top three of the 22 countries were Jamaica, Barbados and The Bahamas, with youth unemployment percentages more than 20 percent in 2014 data. The government has since claimed it has improved on that number in recent statics distributed by the Department of Statistics.

The report also revealed some good news, showing that adolescent fertility for women 15-19 is lowest in The Bahamas in comparison to the 22 countries studied.

Social Pulse drew data from households surveyed in four Caribbean countries and eighteen in Latin American and compared living conditions across the region. The publication is the first institutional study on social conditions to cover the Caribbean in this way.

The report represents a tremendous ability to benchmark and compare social conditions in the Caribbean, though some key indicators were not available for The Bahamas and other Caribbean countries.

President of the University of The Bahamas Dr. Rodney Smith said the university and the IDB will explore ways for students and researchers to use the data available in the report towards evidence-based social policy, as well as to explore new avenues for data collection.

Regional public ministries and private institutions were invited to provide policy perspectives on recent regional and local industry and regulatory developments in sectors related to education, social services, labor and health.


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