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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... See More



 Caribbean, western one-third of the island of Hispaniola, between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, west of the Dominican Republic

Geographic Coordinates:

 19 00 N, 72 25 W


 Total: 27,750 sq km
Land: 27,560 sq km
Water: 190 sq km

Area - Comparative:

 Slightly smaller than Maryland

Land Boundaries:

 Total: 360 km
Border countries: Dominican Republic 360 km


 1,771 km (Rank: 63)

Maritime Claims:

 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

Elevation Extremes:

 Lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
Highest point: Chaine de la Selle 2,680 m

Natural Resources:

 Bauxite, copper, calcium carbonate, gold, marble, hydropower

Land Use:

 Arable land: 28.11%
Permanent crops: 11.53%
Other: 60.36% (2005)

Irrigated Land:

 920 sq km (2008)

Total Renewable Water Resources:

 14 cu km (2000)

Freshwater Withdrawal:

 Total: 0.99 cu km/yr (5%/1%/94%)
Per capita: 116 cu m/yr (2000)

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

Environment - Current Issues:

 Extensive deforestation (much of the remaining forested land is being cleared for agriculture and used as fuel); soil erosion; inadequate supplies of potable water

Environment - International Agreements:

 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

Geography - Note:

 Shares island of Hispaniola with Dominican Republic (western one-third is Haiti, eastern two-thirds is the Dominican Republic)

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 Noun: Haitian(s)
Adjective: Haitian

Ethnic Groups:

 Black 95%, mulatto and white 5%


 French (official), Creole (official)


 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


 9,719,932 (July 2011 est.)

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

Age Structure:

 0-14 years: 35.9% (male 1,748,677/female 1,742,199)
15-64 years: 60.1% (male 2,898,251/female 2,947,272)
65 years and over: 3.9% (male 170,584/female 212,949) (2011 est.)

Median Age:

 Total: 21.4 years
Male: 21.1 years
Female: 21.6 years (2011 est.)

Population Growth Rate:


Note: the preliminary 2011 numbers differ significantly from those of 2010, which were strongly influenced by the demographic effect of the January 2010 earthquake; the latest figures more closely correspond to those of 2009 (2011 est.)

Birth Rate:

 24.4 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)

Death Rate:

 8.21 deaths/1,000 population

Note: the preliminary 2011 numbers differ significantly from those of 2010, which were strongly influenced by the demographic effect of the January 2010 earthquake; the latest figures more closely correspond to those of 2009 (July 2011 est.)

Net Migration Rate:

 -8.32 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)


 Urban population: 52% of total population (2010)
Rate of urbanization: 3.9% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major Cities - Population:

 PORT-AU-PRINCE (capital) 2.143 million (2010)

Sex Ratio:

 At birth: 1.011 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.62 male(s)/female
Total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2011 est.)

Maternal Mortality Rate:

 300 deaths/100,000 live births (2008)

Infant Mortality Rate:

 Total: 54.02 deaths/1,000 live births
Male: 58.16 deaths/1,000 live births
Female: 49.83 deaths/1,000 live births

Note: the preliminary 2011 numbers differ significantly from those of 2010, which were strongly influenced by the demographic effect of the January 2010 earthquake; the latest figures more closely correspond to those of 2009 (2011 est.)

Life Expectancy At Birth:

 Total population: 62.17 years
Male: 60.84 years
Female: 63.53 years

Note: the preliminary 2011 numbers differ significantly from those of 2010, which were strongly influenced by the demographic effect of the January 2010 earthquake; the latest figures more closely correspond to those of 2009 (2011 est.)

Total Fertility Rate:

 3.07 children born/woman (2011 est.)

Health Expenditures:

 6% of GDP (2009)

Physicians Density:

 0.25 physicians/1,000 population (1998)

Hospital Bed Density:

 1.3 beds/1,000 population (2007)

Drinking Water Source:

 Urban: 71% of population
Rural: 55% of population
Total: 63% of population
Urban: 29% of population
Rural: 45% of population
Total: 37% of population (2008)

Sanitation Facility Access:

 Urban: 24% of population
Rural: 10% of population
Total: 17% of population
Urban: 76% of population
Rural: 90% of population
Total: 83% of population (2008)

HIV/AIDS - Adult Prevalence Rate:

 1.9% (2009 est.)

HIV/AIDS - People Living With HIV/AIDS:

 120,000 (2009 est.)

HIV/AIDS - Deaths:

 7,100 (2009 est.)

Major Infectious Diseases:

 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)

Children Under 5 - Underweight:

 18.9% (2006)


 Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 52.9%
Male: 54.8%
Female: 51.2% (2003 est.)

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Country Name:

 Conventional long form: Republic of Haiti
Conventional short form: Haiti
Local long form: Republique d'Haiti/Repiblik d' Ayiti
Local short form: Haiti/Ayiti

Government Type:



 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: no DST planned for 2011

Administrative Divisions:

 10 departments (departements, singular - departement); Artibonite, Centre, Grand'Anse, Nippes, Nord, Nord-Est, Nord-Ouest, Ouest, Sud, Sud-Est


 1 January 1804 (from France)

National Holiday:

 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

Legal System:

 Civil law system strongly influenced by Napoleonic Code

International Law Organization Participation:

 Accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction; non-party state to the ICCt


 18 years of age; universal

Executive Branch:

 Chief of state: President Michel MARTELLY (since 14 May 2011)

Head of government: Prime Minister Garry CONILLE (since 18 October 2011)

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 on 28 November 2010; runoff scheduled for 16 January 2011 (next to be held in 2015); prime minister appointed by the president, ratified by the National Assembly

Election results: Michel MARTELLY wins the runoff election held on 20 March 2011 with 67.6% of the vote against 31.7% for Mirlande MANIGAT

Legislative Branch:

 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 elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms); note - in reestablishing the Senate in 2006, 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 on 28 November 2010 with run-off elections scheduled for 16 January 2011 (next regular election, for one third of seats, to be held in 2012); Chamber of Deputies - last held on 28 November 2010 with run-off elections schedule for 16 January 2011 (next regular election to be held in 2014)

Election results: 2010 election results are not final; 2006 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; 2006 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

Judicial Branch:

 Supreme Court or Cour de Cassation

Political Parties and Leaders:

 Assembly of Progressive National Democrats or RDNP [Mirlande MANIGAT]; Christian and Citizen For Haiti's Reconstruction or ACCRHA [Chavannes JEUNE]; Convention for Democratic Unity or KID [Evans PAUL]; Cooperative Action to Rebuild Haiti or KONBA [Jean William JEANTY]; December 16 Platform or Platfom 16 Desanm [Dr. Gerard BLOT]; 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]; Fanmi Lavalas or FL [Maryse NARCISSE]; For Us All or PONT [Jean-Marie CHERESTAL]; Grouping of Citizens for Hope or RESPE [Charles-Henri BAKER]; Haiti in Action or AAA [Youri LATORTUE]; Haitian Youth Democratic Movement or MODEJHA [Jean Hector ANACACIS]; Haitians for Haiti [Yvon NEPTUNE]; Independent Movement for National Reconstruction or MIRN [Luc FLEURINORD]; Lavni Organization or LAVNI [Yves CRISTALIN]; Liberal Party of Haiti or PLH [Jean Andre VICTOR]; Love Haiti or Renmen Ayiti [Jean-Henry CEANT and Camille LEBLANC]; Merging of Haitian Social Democratics or FUSION [Victor BENOIT] (coalition of Ayiti Capable, Haitian National Revolutionary Party, and National Congress of Democratic Movements); Mobilization for National Development or MDN [Hubert de RONCERAY]; Mobilization for Progress in Haiti or MPH [Samir MOURRA]; National Coalition of Nonaligned Political Parties or CONACED [Osner FEVRY]; 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]; Peasant's Response or Repons Peyizan [Michel MARTELLY]; Platform Alternative for Progress and Democracy or ALTENATIV [Victor BENOIT and Evans PAUL]; Platform of Haitian Patriots or PLAPH [Dejean BELISAIRE and Himler REBU]; Popular Party for the Renewal of Haiti or PPRH [Claude ROMAIN]; Strength in Unity or Ansanm Nou Fo [Leslie VOLTAIRE]; Struggling People's Organization or OPL [Harry MARSAN]; Union [Chavannes JEUNE]; Union of Haitian Citizens for Democracy, Development, and Education or UCADDE [Jeantel JOSEPH]; Union of Nationalist and Progressive Haitians or UNPH [Edouard FRANCISQUE]; Unity or Inite [Rene PREVAL] (coalition that includes Front for Hope or L'ESPWA); Vigilance or Veye Yo [Lavarice GAUDIN]; Youth for People's Power or JPP [Rene CIVIL]

Political Pressure Groups and Leaders:

 Autonomous Organizations of Haitian Workers or CATH [Fignole ST-CYR]; Confederation of Haitian Workers or CTH; Economic Forum of the Private Sector or EF [Reginald BOULOS]; Federation of Workers Trade Unions or FOS; General Organization of Independent Haitian Workers [Patrick NUMAS]; Grand-Anse Resistance Committee, or KOREGA; The Haitian Association of Industries or ADIH [Georges SASSINE]; 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

International Organization Participation:


Diplomatic Representation in the US:

 Chief of mission: Ambassador Louis Harold 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)

Diplomatic Representation From the US:

 Chief of mission: Ambassador Kenneth H. MERTEN
Embassy: Tabarre 41, Route de Tabarre, Port-au-Prince
Mailing address: use mailing address
Telephone: [509] 229-8000
FAX: [509] 229-8028

Flag Description:

 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

National Symbols:

 Hispaniolan trogon (bird)

National Anthem:

 Name: "La Dessalinienne" (The Dessalines Song)
Lyrics/music: Justin LHERISSON/Nicolas GEFFRARD

Note: adopted 1904; the anthem is named for Jean-Jacques DESSALINES, a leader in the Haitian Revolution and first ruler of an independent Haiti

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Economy - Overview:

 Haiti is a free market economy that enjoys the advantages of low labor costs and tariff-free access to the US for many of its exports. Poverty, corruption, and poor access to education for much of the population are among Haiti's most serious disadvantages. Over the longer term, Haiti needs to create jobs for its young workforce and to build institutional capacity. Haiti's economy suffered a severe setback when a 7.0 magnitude earthquake destroyed much of its capital city, Port-au-Prince, and neighboring areas in January 2010. Already the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere with 80% of the population living under the poverty line and 54% in abject poverty, the damage to Port-au-Prince caused the country's GDP to contract an estimated 5.1% in 2010. 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. 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 duty-free access to the US. Congress voted in 2010 to extend the legislation until 2020 under the Haitian Economic Lift Act (HELP); the apparel sector accounts for three-quarters of Haitian exports and nearly one-tenth of GDP. Remittances are the primary source of foreign exchange, equaling nearly 20% of GDP and more than twice the earnings from exports. Haiti suffers from a lack of investment, partly because of limited infrastructure and a lack of security. In 2005, Haiti paid its arrears to the World Bank, paving the way for reengagement with the Bank. Haiti received debt forgiveness for over $1 billion through the Highly-Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) initiative in mis-2009. The remainder of its outstanding external debt was cancelled by donor countries in early 2010 but has since risen to about $400 million. The government relies on formal international economic assistance for fiscal sustainability, with over half of its annual budget coming from outside sources.

GDP (Purchasing Power Parity):

 $11.48 billion (2010 est.)
$12.09 billion (2009 est.)
$11.75 billion (2008 est.)

Note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP (Official Exchange Rate):

 $6.632 billion (2010 est.)

GDP - Real Growth Rate:

 -5.1% (2010 est.)
2.9% (2009 est.)
0.8% (2008 est.)

GDP - Per Capita (PPP):

 $1,200 (2010 est.)
$1,200 (2009 est.)
$1,200 (2008 est.)

Note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP - Composition By Sector:

 Agriculture: 25%
Industry: 16%
Services: 59% (2010 est.)

Labor Force:

 4.81 million

Note: shortage of skilled labor, unskilled labor abundant (2010 est.)

Labor Force - By Occupation:

 Agriculture: 38.1%
Industry: 11.5%
Services: 50.4% (2010)

Unemployment Rate:

 40.6% (2010 est.)

Note: widespread unemployment and underemployment; more than two-thirds of the labor force do not have formal jobs

Population Below Poverty Line:

 80% (2003 est.)

Household Income / Consumption By Share:

 Lowest 10%: 0.7%
Highest 10%: 47.7% (2001)

Distribution of Family Income - Gini Index:

 59.2 (2001)

Investment (Gross Fixed):

 25% of GDP (2010 est.)


 Revenues: $1.291 billion
Expenditures: $1.43 billion (2010 est.)

Taxes and Other Revenues:

 19.5% of GDP (2010 est.)

Budget Surplus / Deficit:

 -2.1% of GDP (2010 est.)

Inflation Rate (Consumer Prices):

 5.7% (2010 est.)
0% (2009 est.)

Commercial Bank Prime Lending Rate:

 17.5% (31 December 2010 est.)
17.3% (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Money:

 $NA (31 December 2008)
$704.7 million (31 December 2007)

Stock of Quasi Money:

 $NA (31 December 2008)
$1.561 billion (31 December 2007)

Stock of Narrow Money:

 $833.1 million (31 December 2010 est.)
$784.4 million (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Broad Money:

 $3.269 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$2.462 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Domestic Credit:

 $1.728 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$1.664 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Agriculture - Products:

 Coffee, mangoes, sugarcane, rice, corn, sorghum; wood


 Textiles, sugar refining, flour milling, cement, light assembly based on imported parts

Industrial Production Growth Rate:

 -4.8% (2010 est.)

Electricity - Production:

 650 million kWh (2010 est.)

Electricity - Production By Source:

 Fossil fuel: 60.3%
Hydro: 39.7%
Nuclear: 0%
Other: 0% (2001)

Electricity - Consumption:

 309 million kWh (2010 est.)

Electricity - Exports:

 NA kWh (2010 est.)

Electricity - Imports:

 0 kWh (2010 est.)

Oil - Production:

 0 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - Consumption:

 12,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - Exports:

 0 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - Imports:

 13,480 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - Proven Reserves:

 0 bbl (1 January 2011 est.)

Natural Gas - Production:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Consumption:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Exports:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Imports:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Proven Reserves:

 0 cu m (1 January 2011 est.)

Current Account Balance:

 -$1.102 billion (2010 est.)
-$626.6 million (2009 est.)


 $536.6 million (2010 est.)
$551 million (2009 est.)

Exports - Commodities:

 Apparel, manufactures, oils, cocoa, mangoes, coffee

Exports - Partners:

 US 90.2%, Canada 4%, France 1.5% (2010)


 $2.778 billion (2010 est.)
$2.032 billion (2009 est.)

Imports - Commodities:

 Food, manufactured goods, machinery and transport equipment, fuels, raw materials

Imports - Partners:

 US 51%, Dominican Republic 19%, China 11% (2010 est.)

Reserves of Foreign Exchange and Gold:

 $1.108 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$789.9 million (31 December 2009 est.)

Debt - External:

 $504.1 million (31 December 2010 est.)
$1.362 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Exchange Rates:

 Convert Haiti Gourde to Any Currency

Gourdes (HTG) per US dollar -
40.15 (2010)
42.02 (2009)
39.216 (2008)
37.138 (2007)
40.232 (2006)

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Telephones - Main Lines In Use:

 50,000 (2010)

Telephones - Cellular:

 4 million (2010)

Telephone System:

 General assessment: telecommunications infrastructure is among the least developed in Latin America and the Caribbean; domestic facilities barely adequate; international facilities slightly better

Domestic: mobile-cellular telephone services are expanding rapidly due, in part, to the introduction of low-cost GSM phones; mobile-cellular teledensity reached 40 per 100 persons in 2009

International: country code - 509; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)

Broadcast Media:

 Several television stations, including 1 government-owned; cable TV subscription service is available; government-owned radio network; more than 250 private and community radio stations operating with about 50 FM stations in Port-au-Prince alone (2007)

Radio Broadcast Stations:

 AM 41, FM 53, shortwave 0 (2009)

Television Broadcast Stations:

 2 (plus a cable TV service) (1997)

Internet Country Code:


Internet Hosts:

 273 (2010)

Internet Users:

 1 million (2009)

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 14 (2010)

Airports - With Paved Runways:

 Total: 4
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 3 (2010)

Airports - With Unpaved Runways:

 Total: 10
914 to 1,523 m: 2
Under 914 m: 8 (2010)


 Total: 4,160 km
Paved: 1,011 km
Unpaved: 3,149 km (2001)

Ports and Terminals:

 Cap-Haitien, Gonaives, Jacmel, Port-au-Prince

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Military Branches:

 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)

Manpower Available For Military Service:

 Males age 16-49: 2,398,804
Females age 16-49: 2,415,039 (2010 est.)

Manpower Fit For Military Service:

 Males age 16-49: 1,666,324
Females age 16-49: 1,704,364 (2010 est.)

Manpower Reaching Militarily Significant Age Annually:

 Male: 115,246
Female: 115,282 (2010 est.)

Military Expenditures:

 0.4% of GDP (2006)

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Disputes - International:

 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

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

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Last Updated: December 2011

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