Definition of Youth

The Ministry of Youth, Sports & Culture defines youth as between individuals between the ages of 16-24 years.


Marriageable Age

  • Opposite Sex
  • Same Sex
  • Without parental consent
  • with parental consent
  • Male
  • 18
  • 0
  • --
  • Female
  • 18
  • 0
  • --

  • The Marriage Act (1908) provides no minimum age with parental consent or with a Supreme Court ruling. There is no specific legislation for same-sex marriage. Source: UNSD, ILGA

Candidacy Age

Criminal Responsibility

Minimum Age
Source:  Child Protection Act

Majority Age


Source: Minors Act (1976)

Voting Age


Situation of Young People

Literacy Rates

Both sexes (15-24) %
  • -- Male (15-24) %
  • -- Female (15-24) %
  • Year: No data.
  • Source: UNESCO

Net Enrolment Rate

Secondary School
Both sexes %
  • 79.94%Male %
  • 85.89% Female %

Situation of Young People

Prevalence of HIV

Male (15-24) %
Female (15-24) %

Tobacco Use

Consumed any smokeless or smoking tobacco product at least once 30 days prior to the survey.
Both sexes (13-15) %
  • 17.80% Male (13-15) %
  • 15.10% Female (13-15) %
  • Year: 2010
  • Source: WHO

Policy & Legislation

Is there a national youth policy?
The Bahamas envisage to finalise the development of their first national youth policy in 2013.

The Your Commonwealth reports that the national youth policy consultation day in 2013 focused upon six main themes:

  1. Identification & Self-Awareness;
  2. Education, Technology & Capacity Building;
  3. Employment, Social Enterprise & Young Professionals;
  4. Health, Sustainable Livelihoods & the Environment;
  5. Youth in Conflict with the Law, Access to Justice & Safety; and
  6. Inclusion in the Decision-Making Process & Youth Empowerment.
The draft youth policy was presented to the Cabinet in 2013 and is expected to pass the House of Assembly in 2014. As a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Bahamas is a signatory of The Commonwealth Plan of Action for Youth Empowerment (PAYE) 2006-2015.

Public Institutions

Is there a governmental authority
(ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth?
The Division of Youth within the Ministry of Youth, Sports & Culture has the responsibility “to facilitate, create, implement and enhance youth programmes, services and projects throughout The Bahamas.” The Division of Youth is structured to facilitate the implementation of The Commonwealth PAYE and is advised monthly by the National Youth Advisory Council. It has responsibility for programmes including the Youth Parliament, Youth Organisation Strengthening, Youth Ambassadorships, Youth Leaders Certification and National Summer Youth Programme.

Youth and Representation

Does the country have a national youth organisation / association (council, platform, body)?
The Bahamas National Youth Council (BNYC) is an umbrella association for youth organisations. It aims for the “empowerment of young Bahamians to participate actively in the shaping and moulding of their society.” It is run by an Executive Board that is elected for a three-year term. There is also an annual Youth Parliament that holds two sessions within the House of Assembly as part of National Youth Month. Young people are represented regionally through the CARICOM Youth Ambassadors and globally through The Commonwealth Youth Council.

Budget & Spending

What is the budget allocated to the governmental authority (ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth and/or youth programming?
According to the Summary of Agencies Recurrent Expenditure 2013/2014, the estimated budget for the Ministry of Youth, Sports & Culture is BSD 14 million (the Bahamian Dollar is pegged to the US Dollar at 1:1). It is unclear what proportion of this amount is specifically for youth. According to the World Bank the Bahamas spent 19.67% of its government expenditure and 2.85% of its GDP on education provision in 2000. This is the most recent data available.
Total Expenditure on Education as a Percentage of Government Spending and GDP

  • % of GDP
  • % of gov. expenditure

Source: World Bank
Gaps indicate missing data from the original data source. (Accessed August 2013).

Additional Background