Quick Facts

Haitian Flag

Haitian Flag

Geography

  • 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.
People

  • 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, cholera, hepatitis A and E, and typhoid fever; Vectorborne diseases including dengue fever and malaria; Water contact disease including leptospirosis.
Government

  • 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.
Economy

  • 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.)
Transportation

  • 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 Island Environment
Environment

  • 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.

Citation: Central Intelligence Agency: The World Fact Book –  Haiti