page last updated on October 28, 2009
Flag of Haiti
Location of Haiti
 
Map of Haiti
Introduction ::Haiti
The native Taino Amerindians - who inhabited the island of Hispaniola when it was discovered by COLUMBUS in 1492 - were virtually annihilated by Spanish settlers within 25 years. In the early 17th century, the French established a presence on Hispaniola. In 1697, Spain ceded to the French the western third of the island, which later became Haiti. The French colony, based on forestry and sugar-related industries, became one of the wealthiest in the Caribbean but only through the heavy importation of African slaves and considerable environmental degradation. In the late 18th century, Haiti's nearly half million slaves revolted under Toussaint L'OUVERTURE. After a prolonged struggle, Haiti became the first black republic to declare independence in 1804. The poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, Haiti has been plagued by political violence for most of its history. After an armed rebellion led to the forced resignation and exile of President Jean-Bertrand ARISTIDE in February 2004, an interim government took office to organize new elections under the auspices of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). Continued violence and technical delays prompted repeated postponements, but Haiti finally did inaugurate a democratically elected president and parliament in May of 2006.
Geography ::Haiti
Caribbean, western one-third of the island of Hispaniola, between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, west of the Dominican Republic
19 00 N, 72 25 W
total: 27,750 sq km
country comparison to the world: 147
land: 27,560 sq km
water: 190 sq km
slightly smaller than Maryland
total: 360 km
border countries: Dominican Republic 360 km
1,771 km
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: to depth of exploitation
tropical; semiarid where mountains in east cut off trade winds
mostly rough and mountainous
lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Chaine de la Selle 2,680 m
bauxite, copper, calcium carbonate, gold, marble, hydropower
arable land: 28.11%
permanent crops: 11.53%
other: 60.36% (2005)
920 sq km (2003)
14 cu km (2000)
total: 0.99 cu km/yr (5%/1%/94%)
per capita: 116 cu m/yr (2000)
lies in the middle of the hurricane belt and subject to severe storms from June to October; occasional flooding and earthquakes; periodic droughts
extensive deforestation (much of the remaining forested land is being cleared for agriculture and used as fuel); soil erosion; inadequate supplies of potable water
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: Hazardous Wastes
shares island of Hispaniola with Dominican Republic (western one-third is Haiti, eastern two-thirds is the Dominican Republic)
People ::Haiti
9,035,536
country comparison to the world: 88
note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2009 est.)
0-14 years: 38.1% (male 1,735,917/female 1,704,383)
15-64 years: 58.5% (male 2,621,059/female 2,665,447)
65 years and over: 3.4% (male 120,040/female 188,690) (2009 est.)
total: 20.2 years
male: 19.8 years
female: 20.7 years (2009 est.)
1.838% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 70
29.1 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 50
8.65 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 88
-2.07 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 138
urban population: 47% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 4.5% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.64 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
total: 59.69 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 37
male: 66.18 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 53.01 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)
total population: 60.78 years
country comparison to the world: 181
male: 59.13 years
female: 62.48 years (2009 est.)
3.81 children born/woman (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 50
2.2% (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 28
120,000 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 43
7,200 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 38
degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A and E, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria
water contact disease: leptospirosis (2009)
noun: Haitian(s)
adjective: Haitian
black 95%, mulatto and white 5%
Roman Catholic 80%, Protestant 16% (Baptist 10%, Pentecostal 4%, Adventist 1%, other 1%), none 1%, other 3%
note: roughly half of the population practices voodoo
French (official), Creole (official)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 52.9%
male: 54.8%
female: 51.2% (2003 est.)
1.4% of GDP (1991)
country comparison to the world: 175
Government ::Haiti
conventional long form: Republic of Haiti
conventional short form: Haiti
local long form: Republique d'Haiti/Repiblik d' Ayiti
local short form: Haiti/Ayiti
republic
name: Port-au-Prince
geographic coordinates: 18 32 N, 72 20 W
time difference: UTC-5 (same time as Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins first Sunday in April; ends last Sunday in October
10 departments (departements, singular - departement); Artibonite, Centre, Grand 'Anse, Nippes, Nord, Nord-Est, Nord-Ouest, Ouest, Sud, Sud-Est
1 January 1804 (from France)
Independence Day, 1 January (1804)
approved March 1987
note: suspended June 1988 with most articles reinstated March 1989; constitutional government ousted in a military coup in September 1991, although in October 1991 military government claimed to be observing the constitution; returned to constitutional rule in October 1994; constitution, while technically in force between 2004-2006, was not enforced; returned to constitutional rule in May 2006
based on Roman civil law system; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
18 years of age; universal
chief of state: President Rene PREVAL (since 14 May 2006)
head of government: Prime Minister Michele PIERRE-LOUIS (since 5 September 2008)
cabinet: Cabinet chosen by the prime minister in consultation with the president
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (may not serve consecutive terms); election last held 7 February 2006 (next to be held in 2011); prime minister appointed by the president, ratified by the National Assembly
election results: Rene PREVAL elected president; percent of vote - Rene PREVAL 51%
bicameral National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale consists of the Senate (30 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve six-year terms; one-third elected every two years) and the Chamber of Deputies (99 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms); note - in reestablishing the Senate, the candidate in each department receiving the most votes in the last election serves six years, the candidate with the second most votes serves four years, and the candidate with the third most votes serves two years
elections: Senate - last held 21 April 2006 with run-off elections on 3 December 2006 (next regular election, for one third of seats, to be held in 2008); Chamber of Deputies - last held 21 April 2006 with run-off elections on 3 December 2006 and 29 April 2007 (next regular election to be held in 2010)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - L'ESPWA 11, FUSION 5, OPL 4, FL 3, LAAA 2, UNCRH 2, PONT 2, ALYANS 1; Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - L'ESPWA 23, FUSION 17, FRN 12, OPL 10, ALYANS 10, LAAA 5, MPH 3, MOCHRENA 3, other 10; results for six other seats contested on 3 December 2006 remain unknown
Supreme Court or Cour de Cassation
Artibonite in Action or LAAA [Youri LATORTUE]; Assembly of Progressive National Democrats or RDNP [Leslie MANIGAT]; Convention for Democratic Unity or KID [Evans PAUL]; Cooperative Action to Build Haiti or KONBA [Evans LESCOUFALIR]; Democratic Alliance or ALYANS [Evans PAUL] (coalition composed of KID and PPRH); Effort and Solidarity to Create an Alternative for the People or ESKAMP [Joseph JASME]; For Us All or PONT [Jean-Marie CHERESTAL]; Front for Hope or L'ESPWA [Rene PREVAL] (alliance of ESKAMP, PLB, and grass-roots organizations Grand-Anse Resistance Committee, the Central Plateau Peasants' Group, and Kombit Sudest); Haitian Christian Democratic Party or PDCH [Osner FEVRY and Marie-Denise CLAUDE]; Haitian Democratic and Reform Movement or MODEREH [Dany TOUSSAINT and Pierre Soncon PRINCE]; Heads Together or Tet-Ansanm [Dr. Gerard BLOT]; Independent Movement for National Reconciliation or MIRN [Luc FLEURINORD]; Justice for Peace and National Development or JPDN [Rigaud DUPLAN]; Fanmi Lavalas or FL [Rudy HERIVEAUX]; Liberal Party of Haiti or PLH [Gehy MICHEL]; Merging of Haitian Social Democratic Parties or FUSION or FPSDH [Serge GILLES] (coalition of Ayiti Capable, Haitian National Revolutionary Party, and National Congress of Democratic Movements); Mobilization for Haiti's Development or MPH [Samir MOURRA]; Mobilization for National Development or MDN [Hubert de RONCERAY]; Movement for National Reconstruction or MRN [Jean Henold BUTEAU]; Movement for the Installation of Democracy in Haiti or MIDH [Marc BAZIN]; National Christian Union for the Reconstruction of Haiti or UNCRH [Marie Claude GERMAIN]; National Front for the Reconstruction of Haiti or FRN [Guy PHILIPPE]; New Christian Movement for a New Haiti or MOCHRENA [Luc MESADIEU]; Open the Gate Party or PLB [Anes LUBIN]; Popular Party for the Renewal of Haiti or PPRH [Claude ROMAIN]; Struggling People's Organization or OPL [Edgard LEBLANC]; Union of Nationalist and Progressive Haitians or UNITE [Edouard FRANCISQUE]
Autonomous Organizations of Haitian Workers or CATH [Fignole ST-CYR]; Confederation of Haitian Workers or CTH; Federation of Workers Trade Unions or FOS; General Organization of Independent Haitian Workers [Patrick NUMAS]; Grand-Anse Resistance Committee, or KOREGA; National Popular Assembly or APN; Papaye Peasants Movement or MPP [Chavannes JEAN-BAPTISTE]; Popular Organizations Gathering Power or PROP; Protestant Federation of Haiti; Roman Catholic Church
ACP, Caricom, CDB, FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt (signatory), ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, LAES, MIGA, NAM, OAS, OIF, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
chief of mission: Ambassador Raymond JOSEPH
chancery: 2311 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 332-4090
FAX: [1] (202) 745-7215
consulate(s) general: Boston, Chicago, Miami, New York, San Juan (Puerto Rico)
consulate(s): Orlando (Florida)
chief of mission: Ambassador Janet A. SANDERSON
embassy: Tabarre 41, Route de Tabarre, Port-au-Prince
mailing address: use mailing address
telephone: [509] 229-8000
FAX: [509] 229-8028
two equal horizontal bands of blue (top) and red with a centered white rectangle bearing the coat of arms, which contains a palm tree flanked by flags and two cannons above a scroll bearing the motto L'UNION FAIT LA FORCE (Union Makes Strength); the colors are taken from the French Tricolor and represent the union of blacks and mulattoes
Economy ::Haiti
Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere with 80% of the population living under the poverty line and 54% in abject poverty. Two-thirds of all Haitians depend on the agricultural sector, mainly small-scale subsistence farming, and remain vulnerable to damage from frequent natural disasters, exacerbated by the country's widespread deforestation. While the economy has recovered in recent years, registering positive growth since 2005, four tropical storms in 2008 severely damaged the transportation infrastructure and agricultural sector. US economic engagement under the Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement (HOPE) Act, passed in December 2006, has boosted apparel exports and investment by providing tariff-free access to the US. HOPE II, passed in October 2008, has further improved the export environment for the apparel sector by extending preferences to 2018; the apparel sector accounts for two-thirds of Haitian exports and nearly one-tenth of GDP. Remittances are the primary source of foreign exchange, equaling nearly a quarter of GDP and more than twice the earnings from exports. Haiti suffers from high inflation, a lack of investment because of insecurity and limited infrastructure, and a severe trade deficit. In 2005, Haiti paid its arrears to the World Bank, paving the way for reengagement with the Bank. Haiti is expected to receive debt forgiveness for about $525 million of its debt through the Highly-Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) initiative by mid-2009. The government relies on formal international economic assistance for fiscal sustainability.
$11.5 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 145
$11.35 billion (2007 est.)
$10.98 billion (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
$6.952 billion (2008 est.)
1.3% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 167
3.4% (2007 est.)
2.3% (2006 est.)
$1,300 (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 202
$1,300 (2007 est.)
$1,300 (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
agriculture: 28%
industry: 20%
services: 52% (2004 est.)
3.643 million
country comparison to the world: 93
note: shortage of skilled labor, unskilled labor abundant (2007)
agriculture: 66%
industry: 9%
services: 25% (1995)
NA%
note: widespread unemployment and underemployment; more than two-thirds of the labor force do not have formal jobs
80% (2003 est.)
lowest 10%: 0.7%
highest 10%: 47.7% (2001)
59.2 (2001)
country comparison to the world: 8
28.9% of GDP (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 26
revenues: $967.5 million
expenditures: $1.162 billion (2008 est.)
15.5% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 194
8.5% (2007 est.)
NA% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 2
46.99% (31 December 2007)
$NA (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 128
$704.7 million (31 December 2007)
$NA (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 107
$1.561 billion (31 December 2007)
$NA (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 118
$1.537 billion (31 December 2007)
$NA
coffee, mangoes, sugarcane, rice, corn, sorghum; wood
sugar refining, flour milling, textiles, cement, light assembly based on imported parts
0% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 133
448 million kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 161
273 million kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 169
0 kWh (2008 est.)
0 kWh (2008 est.)
0 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 189
12,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 145
0 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 196
12,280 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 135
0 bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 163
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 99
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 174
0 cu m (2008)
country comparison to the world: 69
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 170
0 cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 171
$-611 million (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 106
$-407 million (2007 est.)
$490 million (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 162
$522 million (2007 est.)
apparel, manufactures, oils, cocoa, mangoes, coffee
US 68.8%, Dominican Republic 10.2%, Canada 3% (2008)
$2.107 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 147
$1.618 billion (2007 est.)
food, manufactured goods, machinery and transport equipment, fuels, raw materials
US 44.1%, Netherlands Antilles 13.7%, China 5.5% (2008)
$708 million (31 December 2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 133
$555 million (31 December 2007 est.)
$1.506 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 144
$1.475 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
gourdes (HTG) per US dollar - 39.216 (2008 est.), 37.138 (2007), 40.232 (2006), 40.449 (2005), 38.352 (2004)
Communications ::Haiti
108,000 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 142
3.2 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 105
general assessment: telecommunications infrastructure is among the least developed in Latin America and the Caribbean; domestic facilities barely adequate; international facilities slightly better; mobile-cellular telephone services are expanding rapidly due, in part, to the introduction of low-cost GSM phones in 2006
domestic: coaxial cable and microwave radio relay trunk service
international: country code - 509; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)
AM 41, FM 26, shortwave 0 (1999)
2 (plus a cable TV service) (1997)
.ht
9 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 222
1 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 90
Transportation ::Haiti
14 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 151
total: 4
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 3 (2009)
total: 10
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 8 (2009)
total: 4,160 km
country comparison to the world: 155
paved: 1,011 km
unpaved: 3,149 km (2000)
Cap-Haitien
Military ::Haiti
no regular military forces - small Coast Guard; the regular Haitian Armed Forces (FAdH) - Army, Navy, and Air Force - have been demobilized but still exist on paper until or unless they are constitutionally abolished (2009)
males age 16-49: 2,047,083
females age 16-49: 2,047,953 (2008 est.)
males age 16-49: 1,518,840
females age 16-49: 1,530,043 (2009 est.)
male: 108,444
female: 106,243 (2009 est.)
0.4% of GDP (2006)
country comparison to the world: 167
Transnational Issues ::Haiti
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
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