About Haiti

About Haiti


Republique d'Haiti


Caribbean sea. On West side of Hispaniola Island (Dominican Republic is on East side). SE

of Cuba, NE of Jamaica, NW of Puerto Rico. Other islands: La Gonave, Ile-a-Vache, La

Tortue, Les Cayemites, La Navase.


Slighlty smaller than Maryland (11,600 sq mi.). Terrain is very mountainous.



Semi-arid. Tropical. (Avg temp 80 degrees);Hurricane Season: May-Nov


9.0 million (~90% Black). For cities' population seehttp://www.citypopulation.de/Haiti.html#Land.

About 2 million Haitians live overseas, primarily in the Dominican Republic, USA, Canada, The Bahamas, Cuba, France and Venezuela. They are commonly referred to as the "diaspora" in Haiti.

2006 Estimated Pop. based on 2003 Census growth rate


Haiti has 10 Departements (States), 133 Communes (Counties) comprised of hundreds of cities and towns.


  • Dominican Republic: ~1 million

  • United States: ~ 700K

  • Canada: ~90K

  • Jamaica: ~50K

  • France: 40K+

  • Cuba: ~40K

  • Bahamas: ~25-50K

  • French Guyana: ~25K

  • Guadeloupe:~13K

  • Dominica: ~7K

  • Turks & Caicos: ~5K

  • Martinique: ~3K

  • Puerto Rico:~1K

  • Jamaica: ~1K



Statistics vary: 50%+


Creole (main language, spoken by all) & French (literates speak, read and write it). Haitian Christians & Churches use a mixture of both in worship services. Most Haitian Christians memorize Bible verses in French (Louis Segondversion); younger generations read/write Creole (see Creole Bible). Most Evangelical churches use the "Chants D'Esperance" song book, which contains native songs in both Creole and French as well as hymns translated from English. Seventh Day Adventists use an Adventist French song book. Other song books are: "Les Melodies Joyeuses"; "Sur Les Ailes de la Foi"; "La Voix du Reveil"; "Reveillons-Nous"; "Haiti Chante avec Radio Lumiere" and "Chants de foi, d'Esperance et d'Amour".



High unemployment (50%+); Labor force: Highly agricultural (66%+).

For more info see CIA Factsbook. and Library of Congress data about Haiti below:


  • Area: 27,750 sq. km. (10,714 sq. mi.); about the size of Maryland. Ile de la Gonave, Ile de la Tortue, and Ile a Vaches comprise Haiti's principal offshore territories.

  • Natural hazards: lies in the middle of the hurricane belt and subject to severe storms from June to October; occasional flooding and earthquakes; periodic droughts.

  • Cities: Capital--Port-au-Prince (pop. 2 million). Other cities--Cap Haitien (pop. 240,000).

  • Terrain: Rugged mountains with small coastal plains and river valleys, and a large east-central elevated plateau.

  • Climate: Warm, semiarid, high humidity in many coastal areas.


  • Nationality: Noun and adjective--Haitian(s).

  • Population (2006 census): 8.5 million.

  • Annual population growth rate: 1975-2001, 1.9%; 2.5% per year.

  • Ethnic groups: African descent 95%, African and European descent 5%.

  • Religions (2003 data): Roman Catholic 55%, Protestant 28%, voudou (voodoo) practices pervasive.

  • Languages: French (official), Creole (official).

  • Education: Years compulsory--6. Adult literacy (2006 census)--56%.

  • Health: Child mortality--1 out of 8 children die before they reach the age of five. Life expectancy--56 years (women), 52 years (men).

  • Infant mortality rate: 62.33 deaths/1000 live births

  • Age structure: 0-14 years 41.8%, 15-64 years 54.7%, 65+ 3.5%.

  • Median age: 18.5 years

  • Growth rate: 2.493%

  • Total fertility rate: 4.79 children born/woman

  • Birth rate: 35.69 births/1000 population

  • Death rate: 10.15 deaths/1000 population

  • HIV/AIDS adult prevalence rate: 5.6% (2003 est.) or 280,000 people

  • Major infectious diseases: food or waterborne disease including bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A and E, and typhoid fever; Vectorborne diseases including dengue fever and malaria; Water contact disease including leptospirosis.


  • Type: Republic.

  • Independence: January 1, 1804.

  • Constitution: March 1987.

  • Branches: Executive--President.Legislative--Senate (30 seats), Chamber of Deputies (99 seats). Judicial--Court of Cassation.

  • Administrative subdivisions: Ten departments.


  • GDP (2007): $6.1 billion.

  • Real GDP growth rate (2007): 3.2%.

  • Per capita GDP (2007): $713.

  • GDP by sector (2006): Agriculture--27%;industry--8%; services--40%; other--25%.

  • Inflation (2007 est.): 8.1%.

  • Labor force: 3.6 million

  • Labor force by occupation: agriculture 66%, industry 9%, services 25%

  • Unemployment rate: Widespread unemployment. More than two-thirds of the population do not have jobs.

  • Population below poverty line: 80% (2003 est.)

  • Natural resources: Bauxite, copper, calcium carbonate, gold, marble.

  • Agriculture (27% of GDP): Products--coffee, mangoes, sugarcane, rice, corn, cacao, sorghum, pulses, other fruits and vegetables.

  • Industry (8% of GDP): Types--apparel, handicrafts, electronics assembly, food processing, beverages, tobacco products, furniture, printing, chemicals, steel.

  • Services (40% of GDP): Commerce, hotels and restaurants, government, tourism.

  • Trade (2006 est.): Total exports f.o.b.--$494.4 million: apparel, mangoes, leather and raw hides, seafood, electrical.Major market--U.S. Total imports f.o.b.--$1,548.3 million: grains, soybean oil, motor vehicles, machinery, meat, vegetables, plastics, petroleum.

  • Economic aid recipient: $515 million (2005 est.)

  • External debt: $1.463 billion (2007 est.)

  • Telephones: Main line 145,300; Cellular 500,200 (2005 est.)

  • Radio broadcast stations: AM 41, FM 26, shortwave 0 (1999 est.)

  • Television broadcast stations: 2 plus a cable TV service (1997 est.)


  • Airports: 14; 4 with paved runways (2007 est.)

  • Roadways: 4,160 km; 1,011 km paved (2000 est.)

Transnational issues

  • Illicit drugs: Caribbean transshipment point for cocaine en route to the US and Europe; substantial bulk cash smuggling activity; Colombian narcotics traffickers favor Haiti for illicit financial transactions; pervasive corruption; significant consumer of cannabis.

  • International disputes: Since 2004, about 8,000 peacekeepers from the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) maintain civil order in Haiti; despite efforts to control illegal migration, Haitians cross into the Dominican Republic and sail to neighboring countries; Haiti claims US-administered Navassa IslandEnvironment


  • The environment's current issues are extensive deforestation (much of the remaining forested land is being cleared for agriculture and fuel), soil erosion, and inadequate supplies of potable water.

  • Civil strife in 2004 combined with extensive damage from flooding in Southern Haiti in May of 2004 and Tropical Jeanne in Northwest Haiti in September of 2002 further impoverished the nation.

Source: 2003 Census