Dominican Republic

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PAGE LAST UPDATED ON NOVEMBER 10, 2011
Flag of Dominican Republic
(CONTAINS DESCRIPTION)
Location of Dominican Republic
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Introduction

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The Taino - indigenous inhabitants of Hispaniola prior to the arrival of the Europeans - divided the island into five chiefdoms and territories. Christopher COLUMBUS explored and claimed the island on his first voyage in 1492; it became a springboard for Spanish conquest of the Caribbean and the American mainland. In 1697, Spain recognized French dominion over the western third of the island, which in 1804 became Haiti. The remainder of the island, by then known as Santo Domingo, sought to gain its own independence in 1821 but was conquered and ruled by the Haitians for 22 years; it finally attained independence as the Dominican Republic in 1844. In 1861, the Dominicans voluntarily returned to the Spanish Empire, but two years later they launched a war that restored independence in 1865. A legacy of unsettled, mostly non-representative rule followed, capped by the dictatorship of Rafael Leonidas TRUJILLO from 1930-61. Juan BOSCH was elected president in 1962 but was deposed in a military coup in 1963. In 1965, the United States led an intervention in the midst of a civil war sparked by an uprising to restore BOSCH. In 1966, Joaquin BALAGUER defeated BOSCH in an election to become president. BALAGUER maintained a tight grip on power for most of the next 30 years when international reaction to flawed elections forced him to curtail his term in 1996. Since then, regular competitive elections have been held in which opposition candidates have won the presidency. Former President (1996-2000) Leonel FERNANDEZ Reyna won election to a new term in 2004 following a constitutional amendment allowing presidents to serve more than one term, and was since reelected to a second consecutive term.
 
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Geography

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Caribbean, eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola, between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, east of Haiti
 
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19 00 N, 70 40 W
 
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total: 48,670 sq km
country comparison to the world: 132
land: 48,320 sq km
water: 350 sq km
 
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slightly more than twice the size of New Hampshire
 
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total: 360 km
border countries: Haiti 360 km
 
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1,288 km
 
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measured from claimed archipelagic straight baselines
territorial sea: 6 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
 
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tropical maritime; little seasonal temperature variation; seasonal variation in rainfall
 
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rugged highlands and mountains with fertile valleys interspersed
 
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lowest point: Lago Enriquillo -46 m
highest point: Pico Duarte 3,175 m
 
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nickel, bauxite, gold, silver
 
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arable land: 22.49%
permanent crops: 10.26%
other: 67.25% (2005)
 
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2,750 sq km (2008)
 
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21 cu km (2000)
 
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total: 3.39 cu km/yr (32%/2%/66%)
per capita: 381 cu m/yr (2000)
 
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lies in the middle of the hurricane belt and subject to severe storms from June to October; occasional flooding; periodic droughts
 
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water shortages; soil eroding into the sea damages coral reefs; deforestation
 
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party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea
 
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shares island of Hispaniola with Haiti
 
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People and Society

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noun: Dominican(s)
adjective: Dominican
 
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mixed 73%, white 16%, black 11%
 
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Spanish (official)
 
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Roman Catholic 95%, other 5%
 
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9,956,648 (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 85
 
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0-14 years: 29.5% (male 1,493,251/female 1,441,735)
15-64 years: 64% (male 3,251,419/female 3,120,540)
65 years and over: 6.5% (male 300,245/female 349,458) (2011 est.)
 
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total: 26.1 years
male: 26 years
female: 26.3 years (2011 est.)
 
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1.331% (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 88
 
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19.67 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 90
 
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4.35 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 203
 
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-2.01 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 165
 
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urban population: 69% of total population (2010)
rate of urbanization: 2.1% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
 
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SANTO DOMINGO (capital) 2.138 million (2009)
 
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at birth: 1.04 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.86 male(s)/female
total population: 1.03 male(s)/female (2011 est.)
 
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100 deaths/100,000 live births (2008)
country comparison to the world: 69
 
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total: 22.22 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 89
male: 24.21 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 20.14 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)
 
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total population: 77.31 years
country comparison to the world: 62
male: 75.16 years
female: 79.55 years (2011 est.)
 
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2.44 children born/woman (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 88
 
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6.1% of GDP (2009)
country comparison to the world: 104
 
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1.88 physicians/1,000 population (2000)
country comparison to the world: 71
 
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1 beds/1,000 population (2009)
country comparison to the world: 147
 
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improved:
urban: 87% of population
rural: 84% of population
total: 86% of population
unimproved:
urban: 13% of population
rural: 16% of population
total: 14% of population (2008)
 
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improved:
urban: 87% of population
rural: 74% of population
total: 83% of population
unimproved:
urban: 13% of population
rural: 26% of population
total: 17% of population (2008)
 
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0.9% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 51
 
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57,000 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 57
 
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2,300 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 53
 
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degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria
water contact disease: leptospirosis (2009)
 
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3.4% (2007)
country comparison to the world: 101
 
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2.3% of GDP (2009)
country comparison to the world: 151
 
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definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 87%
male: 86.8%
female: 87.2% (2002 census)
 
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total: 12 years
male: 11 years
female: 13 years (2004)
 
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total: 30.3%
country comparison to the world: 15
male: 21.2%
female: 44.5% (2007)
 
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Government

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conventional long form: Dominican Republic
conventional short form: The Dominican
local long form: Republica Dominicana
local short form: La Dominicana
 
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democratic republic
 
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name: Santo Domingo
geographic coordinates: 18 28 N, 69 54 W
time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
 
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31 provinces (provincias, singular - provincia) and 1 district* (distrito); Azua, Bahoruco, Barahona, Dajabon, Distrito Nacional*, Duarte, El Seibo, Elias Pina, Espaillat, Hato Mayor, Independencia, La Altagracia, La Romana, La Vega, Maria Trinidad Sanchez, Monsenor Nouel, Monte Cristi, Monte Plata, Pedernales, Peravia, Puerto Plata, Salcedo, Samana, San Cristobal, San Jose de Ocoa, San Juan, San Pedro de Macoris, Sanchez Ramirez, Santiago, Santiago Rodriguez, Santo Domingo, Valverde
 
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27 February 1844 (from Haiti)
 
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Independence Day, 27 February (1844)
 
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28 November 1966; amended 25 July 2002 and January 2010
 
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civil law system based on the French civil code; Criminal Procedures Code modified in 2004 to include important elements of an accusatory system
 
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accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
 
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18 years of age, universal and compulsory; married persons regardless of age; note - members of the armed forces and national police cannot vote
 
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chief of state: President Leonel FERNANDEZ Reyna (since 16 August 2004); Vice President Rafael ALBURQUERQUE de Castro (since 16 August 2004); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Leonel FERNANDEZ Reyna (since 16 August 2004); Vice President Rafael ALBURQUERQUE de Castro (since 16 August 2004)
cabinet: Cabinet nominated by the president
(For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
elections: president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for four-year terms; election last held on 16 May 2008 (next to be held in May 2012)
election results: Leonel FERNANDEZ reelected president; percent of vote - Leonel FERNANDEZ 53.6%, Miguel VARGAS 41%, Amable ARISTY less than 5%
 
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bicameral National Congress or Congreso Nacional consists of the Senate or Senado (32 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms) and the House of Representatives or Camara de Diputados (183 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: Senate - last held on 16 May 2010 (next to be held in May 2016); House of Representatives - last held on 16 May 2010 (next to be held in May 2016); in order to synchronize presidential, legislative, and local elections for 2016, those members elected in 2010 will actually serve terms of six years
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PLD 31, PRD 1; House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PLD 105, PRD 75, PRSC 3
 
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Supreme Court or Corte Suprema (judges are appointed by the National Judicial Council comprised of the president, the leaders of both chambers of congress, the president of the Supreme Court, and an additional non-governing party congressional representative)
 
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Dominican Liberation Party or PLD [Leonel FERNANDEZ Reyna]; Dominican Revolutionary Party or PRD [Ramon ALBURQUERQUE]; National Progressive Front [Vincent CASTILLO, Pelegrin CASTILLO]; Social Christian Reformist Party or PRSC [Enrique ANTUN]
 
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Citizen Participation Group (Participacion Ciudadania); Collective of Popular Organizations or COP; Foundation for Institution-Building and Justice (FINJUS)
 
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ACP, AOSIS, BCIE, Caricom (observer), FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, ITUC, LAES, LAIA (observer), MIGA, NAM, OAS, OIF (observer), OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, PetroCaribe, RG, SICA (associated member), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
 
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chief of mission: Ambassador Anibal de Jesus de CASTRO Rodriguez
chancery: 1715 22nd Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 332-6280
FAX: [1] (202) 265-8057
consulate(s) general: Anchorage, Boston, Chicago, Mayaguez (Puerto Rico), Miami, New Orleans, New York, San Juan (Puerto Rico), Sun Valley (California)
 
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chief of mission: Ambassador Raul H. YZAGUIRRE
embassy: corner of Calle Cesar Nicolas Penson and Calle Leopoldo Navarro, Santo Domingo
mailing address: Unit 5500, APO AA 34041-5500
telephone: [1] (809) 221-2171
FAX: [1] (809) 686-7437
 
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a centered white cross that extends to the edges divides the flag into four rectangles - the top ones are blue (hoist side) and red, and the bottom ones are red (hoist side) and blue; a small coat of arms featuring a shield supported by a laurel branch (left) and a palm branch (right) is at the center of the cross; above the shield a blue ribbon displays the motto, DIOS, PATRIA, LIBERTAD (God, Fatherland, Liberty), and below the shield, REPUBLICA DOMINICANA appears on a red ribbon; in the shield a bible is opened to a verse that reads "Y la verdad nos hara libre" (And the truth shall set you free); blue stands for liberty, white for salvation, and red for the blood of heroes
 
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palmchat (bird)
 
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name: "Himno Nacional" (National Anthem)
lyrics/music: Emilio PRUD"HOMME/Jose REYES
note: adopted 1934; also known as "Quisqueyanos valientes" (Valient Sons of Quisqueye); the anthem never refers to the people as Dominican but rather calls them "Quisqueyanos," a reference to the indigenous name of the island
 
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Economy

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The Dominican Republic has long been viewed primarily as an exporter of sugar, coffee, and tobacco, but in recent years the service sector has overtaken agriculture as the economy's largest employer, due to growth in telecommunications, tourism, and free trade zones. The economy is highly dependent upon the US, the destination for nearly 60% of exports. Remittances from the US amount to about a tenth of GDP, equivalent to almost half of exports and three-quarters of tourism receipts. The country suffers from marked income inequality; the poorest half of the population receives less than one-fifth of GDP, while the richest 10% enjoys nearly 40% of GDP. High unemployment and underemployment remains an important long-term challenge. The Central America-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) came into force in March 2007, boosting investment and exports and reducing losses to the Asian garment industry. The growth of the Dominican Republic's economy rebounded in 2010 from the global recession, and remains one of the fastest growing in the region.
 
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$87.25 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 75
$80.97 billion (2009 est.)
$78.27 billion (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
 
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$51.63 billion (2010 est.)
 
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7.8% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 22
3.5% (2009 est.)
5.3% (2008 est.)
 
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$8,900 (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 117
$8,400 (2009 est.)
$8,200 (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
 
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agriculture: 7.1%
industry: 28.3%
services: 64.6% (2010 est.)
 
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4.63 million (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 79
 
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agriculture: 14.6%
industry: 22.3%
services: 63.1% (2005)
 
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13.3% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 141
14.9% (2009 est.)
 
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42.2% (2004)
 
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lowest 10%: 1.7%
highest 10%: 37.8% (2007)
 
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48.4 (2007)
country comparison to the world: 26
47.4 (1998)
 
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16% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 159
 
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revenues: $7.038 billion
expenditures: $8.504 billion (2010 est.)
 
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13.6% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 195
 
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-2.8% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 90
 
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36.8% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 78
36.7% of GDP (2009 est.)
 
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6.3% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 170
1.4% (2009 est.)
 
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12.14% (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 32
18.14% (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$4.237 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 98
$4.059 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$16.76 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 88
$15.48 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$21.87 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 77
$18.81 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$NA
 
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sugarcane, coffee, cotton, cocoa, tobacco, rice, beans, potatoes, corn, bananas; cattle, pigs, dairy products, beef, eggs
 
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tourism, sugar processing, ferronickel and gold mining, textiles, cement, tobacco
 
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1.5% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 140
 
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14.58 billion kWh (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 80
 
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12.87 billion kWh (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 81
 
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0 kWh (2009 est.)
 
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0 kWh (2009 est.)
 
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392 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 112
 
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119,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 71
 
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0 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 168
 
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107,300 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 64
 
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0 bbl (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 125
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 122
 
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560 million cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 95
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 88
 
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560 million cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 64
 
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0 cu m (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 131
 
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-$4.435 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 173
-$2.159 billion (2009 est.)
 
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$6.598 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 103
$5.519 billion (2009 est.)
 
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ferronickel, sugar, gold, silver, coffee, cocoa, tobacco, meats, consumer goods
 
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US 52%, Haiti 13.6% (2010)
 
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$15.3 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 80
$12.26 billion (2009 est.)
 
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foodstuffs, petroleum, cotton and fabrics, chemicals and pharmaceuticals
 
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US 44%, Venezuela 7%, China 6.1%, Mexico 4.9%, Colombia 4.8% (2010)
 
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$3.502 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 98
$2.905 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$13.24 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 86
$10.86 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$18.91 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 70
$17.28 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$59 million (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 84
$59 million (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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Dominican pesos (DOP) per US dollar -
36.92 (2010)
36.03 (2009)
34.775 (2008)
33.113 (2007)
33.406 (2006)
 
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Communications

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1.01 million (2010)
country comparison to the world: 77
 
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8.893 million (2010)
country comparison to the world: 77
 
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general assessment: relatively efficient system based on island-wide microwave radio relay network
domestic: fixed-line teledensity is about 10 per 100 persons; multiple providers of mobile-cellular service with a subscribership of roughly 75 per 100 persons
international: country code - 1-809; landing point for the Americas Region Caribbean Ring System (ARCOS-1), Antillas 1, and the Fibralink submarine cables that provide links to South and Central America, parts of the Caribbean, and US; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2009)
 
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combination of state-owned and privately-owned broadcast media; 1 state-owned television network and a number of private TV networks; networks operate repeaters to extend signals throughout country; combination of state-owned and privately-owned radio stations; more than 300 radio stations operating (2007)
 
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.do
 
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283,298 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 60
 
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2.701 million (2009)
country comparison to the world: 68
 
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Transportation

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35 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 109
 
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total: 16
over 3,047 m: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 4
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 4
under 914 m: 1 (2010)
 
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total: 19
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 17 (2010)
 
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oil 99 km
 
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total: 142 km
country comparison to the world: 125
standard gauge: 142 km 1.435-m gauge (2010)
 
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total: 19,705 km
country comparison to the world: 110
paved: 9,872 km
unpaved: 9,833 km (2002)
 
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total: 1
country comparison to the world: 154
by type: cargo 1
registered in other countries: 1 (Panama 1) (2008)
 
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Puerto Haina, Puerto Plata, Santo Domingo
oil terminals: Andres LGN terminal (Boca Chica), Punta Nizao oil terminal
 
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Military

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Army, Navy (Marina de Guerra), Air Force (Fuerza Aerea Dominicana, FAD) (2011)
 
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16-21 years of age for compulsory military service; recruits must be Dominican Republic citizens; women may volunteer (2010)
 
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males age 16-49: 2,580,083
females age 16-49: 2,464,698 (2010 est.)
 
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males age 16-49: 2,188,358
females age 16-49: 2,090,180 (2010 est.)
 
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male: 100,047
female: 96,302 (2010 est.)
 
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0.7% of GDP (2009)
country comparison to the world: 150
 
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Transnational Issues

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Haitian migrants cross the porous border into the Dominican Republic to find work; illegal migrants from the Dominican Republic cross the Mona Passage each year to Puerto Rico to find better work
 
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current situation: the Dominican Republic is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor; a large number of Dominican women are trafficked into prostitution and sexual exploitation throughout the Dominican Republic, the Caribbean, Europe, South America, the Middle East, and the United States; child sex tourism is a problem; forced labor of adults exists in construction, some agricultural production, and the domestic service sectors
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - the Government of the Dominican Republic does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so; despite some progress, most notably in the area of identifying and protecting a greater number of trafficking victims, the government did not demonstrate overall increased efforts over the previous reporting period in prosecuting trafficking offenders, including officials complicit in forced prostitution and forced labor (2011)
 
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transshipment point for South American drugs destined for the US and Europe; has become a transshipment point for ecstasy from the Netherlands and Belgium destined for US and Canada; substantial money laundering activity in particular by Colombian narcotics traffickers; significant amphetamine consumption (2008)
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