Haiti Facts


Location: Caribbean, western one-third of the island of Hispanola, between the Caribbean Sea and the North AtlanticOcean, west of the Dominican Republic

Geographic coordinates: 19 00 N, 72 25 W

Map references: Central America and the Caribbean

total: 27,750 sq km
land: 27,560 sq km
water: 190 sq km


Area—comparative: slightly smaller than Maryland

Land boundaries:
total: 275 km
border countries: Dominican Republic 275 km

Coastline: 1,771 km

Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: 24 nm
continental shelf: to depth of exploitation
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm


Climate: tropical; semiarid where mountains in east cut off trade winds

Terrain: mostly rough and mountainous

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Chaine de la Selle 2,680 m

Natural resources: none

Land use:
arable land: 20%
permanent crops: 13%
permanent pastures: 18%
forests and woodland: 5%
other: 44% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 750 sq km (1993 est.)

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, Desertification, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation
signed, but not ratified: Hazardous Wastes, Nuclear Test Ban

Geography—note: shares island of Hispaniola with Dominican Republic (western one-third is Haiti , eastern two-thirds is the Dominican Republic )



Population: 6,884,264 (July 1999 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 42% (male 1,464,529; female 1,420,772)
15-64 years: 54% (male 1,783,884; female 1,932,240)
65 years and over: 4% (male 140,932; female 141,907) (1999 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.53% (1999 est.)

Birth rate: 32.55 births/1,000 population (1999 est.)

Death rate: 13.97 deaths/1,000 population (1999 est.)

Net migration rate: -3.26 migrant's)/1,000 population (1999 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.92 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.99 male(s)/female
total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (1999 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 97.64 deaths/1,000 live births (1999 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 51.65 years
male: 49.53 years
female: 53.88 years (1999 est.)

Total fertility rate: 4.59 children born/woman (1999 est.)

noun: Haitian(s)
adjective: Haitian

Ethnic groups: black 95%, mulatto plus white 5%

Religions: Roman Catholic 80%, Protestant 16% (Baptist 10%, Pentecostal 4%, Adventist 1%, other 1%), none 1%, other 3% (1982)
note: roughly one-half of the population also practices Voodoo

Languages: French (official) 20%, Creole

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 45%
male: 48%
female: 42.2% (1995 est.)



Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Haiti
conventional short form: Haiti
local long form: Republique d'Haiti
local short form: Haiti

Data code: HA

Government type: republic

Capital: Port-au-Prince

Administrative divisions: 9 departments, (departments, singular—department); Artibonite, Centre, Grand'Anse, Nord, Nord-Est, Nord-Ouest, Ouest, Sud, Sud-Est

Independence : 1 January 1804 (from France )

National holiday: Independence Day, 1 January (1804)

Constitution: approved March 1987; suspended June 1988, with most articles reinstated March 1989; in October 1991, government claimed to be observing the constitution; return to constitutional rule, October 1994

Legal system: based on Roman civil law system; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Rene Garcia PREVAL (since 7 February 1996)
head of government: Prime Minister Rosny SMARTH resigned June 1997; currently no prime minister; ratification of a new prime minister held up in political gridlock stemming from controversy over the 6 April 1997 elections
cabinet: Cabinet; chosen by the prime minister in consultation with the president
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; election last held 17 December 1995 (next to be held by December 2000); prime minister appointed by the president, ratified by the Congress
election results: Rene Garcia PREVAL elected president; percent of vote—Rene Garcia PREVAL 88%, Leon JEUNE 2.5%, Victor BENOIT 2.3%

Legislative branch: bicameral National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale consists of the Senate (27 seats; members serve six-year terms; one-third elected every two years) and the Chamber of Deputies (83 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: Senate—last held 25 June 1995, with reruns on 13 August and runoffs on 17 September (election held for nine seats 6 April 1997; results disputed and runoffs postponed indefinitely); Chamber of Deputies—last held 25 June 1995, with reruns on 13 August and runoffs on 17 September (next Senate and Chamber of Deputies elections due November 1998 but delayed indefinitely)
election results: Senate—percent of vote by party—NA; seats by party—OPL 7, FL-leaning 7, independents 3, vacant 10; Chamber of Deputies—percent of vote by party—NA; seats by party—OPL 32, antineoliberal bloc 24, minor parties and independents 22, vacant 5

Judicial branch: Supreme Court (Cour de Cassation)

Political parties and leaders: Lavalas Family or FL [Jean-Bertrand ARISTIDE]; Struggling People's Organization or OPL [Gerard PIERRE-CHARLES]; National Front for Change and Democracy or FNCD [Evans PAUL and Turneb DELPE]; National Congress of Democratic Movements or KONAKOM [Victor BENOIT]; Movement for the Installation of Democracy in Haiti or MIDH [Marc BAZIN]; National Progressive Revolutionary Party or PANPRA [Serge GILLES]; Movement for National Reconstruction or MRN [Rene THEODORE]; Haitian Christian Democratic Party or PDCH [Fritz PIERRE]; Assembly of Progressive National Democrats or RDNP [Leslie MANIGAT]; Mobilization for National Development or MDN [Hubert DE RONCERAY]; Movement for the Organization of the Country or MOP [Gesner COMEAU and Jean MOLIERE]; Open the Gate Party or PLB [Renaud BERNARDIN]; Union of Patriotic Democrats or UPD [Rockefeller GUERRE]; Generation 2004 [Claude ROUMAIN]; Alliance for the Liberation and Advancement of Haiti or ALAH [Reynold GEORGES]; Haitian Democratic Party or PADEMH [Clark PARENT]; National Alliance for Democracy and Progress [leader NA]; Haiti Can or Ayiti Kapab [Ernst VERDIEU]

Political pressure groups and leaders: Roman Catholic Church; Confederation of Haitian Workers or CTH; Federation of Workers Trade Unions or FOS; Autonomous Haitian Workers or CATH; National Popular Assembly or APN; Papaye Peasants Movement or MPP; Popular Organizations Gathering Power or PROP

International organization participation: ACCT, ACP, Caricom (observer), CCC, ECLAC, FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ITU, LAES, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires 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, and San Juan (Puerto Rico)

Diplomatic representation from the US :
chief of mission: Ambassador Timothy Michael CARNEY
embassy: 5 Harry Truman Boulevard , Port-au-Prince
mailing address: P. O. Box 1761 , Port-au-Prince
telephone: [509] 22-0354, 22-0368, 22-0200, 22-0612
FAX: [509] 23-1641

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)



Economy—overview: About 75% of the population lives in abject poverty. Nearly 70% of all Haitians depend on the agriculture sector, which consists mainly of small-scale subsistence farming and employs about two-thirds of the economically active work force. The country has experienced little job creation since President PREVAL took office in February 1996, although the informal economy is growing. Failure to reach agreements with international sponsors have denied Haiti badly needed budget and development assistance. Meeting aid conditions in 1999 will be especially challenging in the face of mounting popular criticism of reforms.

GDP: purchasing power parity—$8.9 billion (1998 est.)

GDP—real growth rate: 3% (1998 est.)

GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$1,300 (1998 est.)

GDP—composition by sector:
agriculture: 42%
industry: 14%
services: 44% (1997 est.)

Population below poverty line: 75% (1998 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 8% (1998 est.)

Labor force: 3.6 million (1995)
note: shortage of skilled labor, unskilled labor abundant (1998)

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

Unemployment rate: 60% (1996 est.)

revenues: $323 million
expenditures: $363 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (FY97/98 est.)

Industries: sugar refining, flour milling, textiles, cement, tourism, light assembly industries based on imported parts

Industrial production growth rate: 0.6% (1997 est.)

Electricity—production: 415 million kWh (1996)

Electricity—production by source:
fossil fuel: 60.24%
hydro: 39.76%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (1996)

Electricity—consumption: 415 million kWh (1996)

Electricity—exports: 0 kWh (1996)

Electricity—imports: 0 kWh (1996)

Agriculture—products: coffee, mangoes, sugarcane, rice, corn, sorghum; wood

Exports: $110 million (f.o.b., 1997)

Exports—commodities: light manufactures 80.5%, coffee 7.6%, other agriculture 7.2%

Exports—partners: US 76%, EU 19% (1997)

Imports: $486 million (f.o.b., 1997)

Imports—commodities: machines and manufactures 50%, food and beverages 39%, petroleum products 2%, chemicals 5%, fats and oils 4%

Imports—partners: US 60%, EU 12% (1997)

Debt—external: $1 billion (1997 est.)

Economic aid—recipient: $730.6 million (1995)

Currency: 1 gourde (G) = 100 centimes

Exchange rates: gourdes (G) per US$1—16.778 (January 1999), 16.205 (1998), 17.311 (1997), 15.093 (1996), 16.160 (1995), 12.947 (1994)

Fiscal year: 1 October—30 September



Telephones: 50,000 (1990 est.)

Telephone system: domestic facilities barely adequate; international facilities slightly better
domestic: NA
international: satellite earth station—1 Intelsat ( Atlantic Ocean )

Radio broadcast stations: AM 33, FM 0, shortwave 2

Radios: 320,000 (1992 est.)

Television broadcast stations: 2 (in addition, there is a cable TV station) (1997)

Televisions: 32,000 (1992 est.)



total: 40 km (single track; privately owned industrial line)—closed in early 1990s
narrow gauge: 40 km 0.760-m gauge

total: 4,160 km
paved: 1,011 km
unpaved: 3,149 km (1996 est.)

Waterways: NEGL; less than 100 km navigable

Ports and harbors: Cap-Haitien, Gonaives , Jacmel, Jeremie, Les Cayes, Miragoane, Port-au-Prince , Port-de-Paix, Saint-Marc

Merchant marine: none

Airports: 13 (1998 est.)

Airports—with paved runways:
total: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (1998 est.)

Airports—with unpaved runways:
total: 10
914 to 1,523 m: 5
under 914 m: 5 (1998 est.)



Military branches: Haitian National Police (HNP)
note: the regular Haitian Army, Navy, and Air Force have been demobilized but still exist on paper until/unless constitutionally abolished

Military manpower—military age: 18 years of age

Military manpower—availability:
males age 15-49: 1,541,402 (1999 est.)

Military manpower—fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 835,578 (1999 est.)

Military manpower—reaching military age annually:
males: 80,158 (1999 est.)

Military expenditures—dollar figure: $NA; note—mainly for police and security activities

Military expenditures—percent of GDP: NA%

Military—note: the Haitian Armed Forces have been demobilized and replaced by the Haitian National Police


Transnational Issues

Disputes—international: claims US-administered Navassa Island

Illicit drugs: transshipment point for cocaine and marijuana en route to the US and Europe