macrohistory & world report

Republic of Haiti

Map of Haiti

Haiti (capital Port-su-Prince) and neighboring states

World Factbook as of November 2014: "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, vulnerability to natural disasters, and low levels of education for much of the population are among Haiti's most serious impediments to economic growth... Two-fifths 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 Caribbean Basin Trade Preference Agreement (CBTPA) and the 2008 Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement (HOPE II) Act helped increase apparel exports and investment by providing duty-free access to the US... Haiti suffers from a lack of investment, partly because of weak infrastructure such as access to electricity. Haiti's outstanding external debt was cancelled by donor countries following the 2010 earthquake, but has since risen to $1.1 billion as of December 2013. The government relies on formal international economic assistance for fiscal sustainability, with over half of its annual budget coming from outside sources."

Haiti suffered a devastating earthquake in January 2010.

Economic growth rate

2011: 6/1%
2010: minus 5.4%
2009: 2.9%

Labor force in agriculture
2010: 38.1%

Unemployment rate
2010: 46.6%

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

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

Export commodities
apparel, manufactures, oils, cocoa, mangoes, coffee

Export partners
2009: US 90.2%, Canada 4%, France 1.5%

2011: exports $690.3 million, imports $3.275 billion

Income Distribution – GINI index
Ranks 7th among 140 countries (lower rank number is less equal). Less equal than Britain, which ranks 94th, and the US, which ranks 45th.  

One percent of the populations owns nearly half of the nation's wealth. The elite live a half-hour's drive from Port-au-Prince, in the mountain suburb of Pétionville, where it is cooler and, according to Jared Diamond, they are "enjoying expensive French restaurants and fine wines."

Health expenditures
2009: 6% of GDP


Living in an urban area:
2010: 52%
2008: 47%

Density estimated:
2011: 350.27 persons per square kilometer.

Ethnic groups
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

Net migration rate
2011: Net loss of 6.9 persons per 1,000 population 

Living with HIV/AIDS, ages 15 to 49:
2003: 5.6 percent

The joy expressed at independence is gone. The average Haitian is distressed.  Eighty percent of the population, according to the World Factbook, lives in "abject poverty."

Female to male income rate: 52:100 (from Foreign Policy magazine, May 23, 2008)

Quality of Life:
Ranks next to last, 110, in the Economist Magazine's 2005 Quality-of-Life index. 

2003: males 54.8%, females 51.2%


In the Caribbean Sea. The western one-third of the island of Hispaniola. Equal to 334 by 83.5 kilometers, or 208 by 52 miles. Only 1 percent of Haiti is now forest. Capital: Port-au-Prince.


The Republic of Haiti became independent of France on January 1, 1804, with much joy and hope expressed by its inhabitants.


World Factbook: "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."


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