Haiti

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PAGE LAST UPDATED ON NOVEMBER 10, 2011
Flag of Haiti
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Location of Haiti
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OF HAITI
 

Introduction

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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 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. A massive magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti in January 2010 with an epicenter about 15 km southwest of the capital, Port-au-Prince. An estimated 2 million people lived within the zone of heavy to moderate structural damage. The earthquake was assessed as the worst in this region over the last 200 years and massive international assistance will be required to help the country recover.
 
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Geography

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Caribbean, western one-third of the island of Hispaniola, between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, west of the Dominican Republic
 
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19 00 N, 72 25 W
 
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total: 27,750 sq km
country comparison to the world: 148
land: 27,560 sq km
water: 190 sq km
 
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slightly smaller than Maryland
 
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total: 360 km
border countries: Dominican Republic 360 km
 
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1,771 km
 
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territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: to depth of exploitation
 
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tropical; semiarid where mountains in east cut off trade winds
 
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mostly rough and mountainous
 
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lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Chaine de la Selle 2,680 m
 
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bauxite, copper, calcium carbonate, gold, marble, hydropower
 
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arable land: 28.11%
permanent crops: 11.53%
other: 60.36% (2005)
 
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920 sq km (2008)
 
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14 cu km (2000)
 
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total: 0.99 cu km/yr (5%/1%/94%)
per capita: 116 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 and earthquakes; periodic droughts
 
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extensive deforestation (much of the remaining forested land is being cleared for agriculture and used as fuel); soil erosion; inadequate supplies of potable water
 
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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
 
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shares island of Hispaniola with Dominican Republic (western one-third is Haiti, eastern two-thirds is the Dominican Republic)
 
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People and Society

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noun: Haitian(s)
adjective: Haitian
 
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black 95%, mulatto and white 5%
 
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French (official), Creole (official)
 
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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
 
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9,719,932 (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 87
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
 
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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.)
 
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total: 21.4 years
male: 21.1 years
female: 21.6 years (2011 est.)
 
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0.787%
country comparison to the world: 137
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.)
 
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24.4 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 66
 
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8.21 deaths/1,000 population
country comparison to the world: 94
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.)
 
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-8.32 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 206
 
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urban population: 52% of total population (2010)
rate of urbanization: 3.9% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
 
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PORT-AU-PRINCE (capital) 2.143 million (2010)
 
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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.)
 
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300 deaths/100,000 live births (2008)
country comparison to the world: 44
 
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total: 54.02 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 42
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.)
 
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total population: 62.17 years
country comparison to the world: 182
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.)
 
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3.07 children born/woman (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 62
 
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6% of GDP (2009)
country comparison to the world: 105
 
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0.25 physicians/1,000 population (1998)
country comparison to the world: 146
 
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1.3 beds/1,000 population (2007)
country comparison to the world: 131
 
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improved:
urban: 71% of population
rural: 55% of population
total: 63% of population
unimproved:
urban: 29% of population
rural: 45% of population
total: 37% of population (2008)
 
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improved:
urban: 24% of population
rural: 10% of population
total: 17% of population
unimproved:
urban: 76% of population
rural: 90% of population
total: 83% of population (2008)
 
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1.9% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 31
 
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120,000 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 37
 
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7,100 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 29
 
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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)
 
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18.9% (2006)
country comparison to the world: 39
 
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NA
 
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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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NA
 
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Government

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conventional long form: Republic of Haiti
conventional short form: Haiti
local long form: Republique d'Haiti/Repiblik d' Ayiti
local short form: Haiti/Ayiti
 
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republic
 
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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
 
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10 departments (departements, singular - departement); Artibonite, Centre, Grand'Anse, Nippes, Nord, Nord-Est, Nord-Ouest, Ouest, Sud, Sud-Est
 
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1 January 1804 (from France)
 
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Independence Day, 1 January (1804)
 
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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
 
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civil law system strongly influenced by Napoleonic Code
 
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accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction; non-party state to the ICCt
 
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18 years of age; universal
 
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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
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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
 
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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
 
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Supreme Court or Cour de Cassation
 
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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]
 
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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
 
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ACP, AOSIS, Caricom, CDB, FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, LAES, MIGA, NAM, OAS, OIF, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, PetroCaribe, RG, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
 
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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)
 
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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
 
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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
 
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Hispaniolan trogon (bird)
 
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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

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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.
 
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$11.48 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 146
$12.09 billion (2009 est.)
$11.75 billion (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
 
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$6.632 billion (2010 est.)
 
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-5.1% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 212
2.9% (2009 est.)
0.8% (2008 est.)
 
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$1,200 (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 208
$1,200 (2009 est.)
$1,200 (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
 
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agriculture: 25%
industry: 16%
services: 59% (2010 est.)
 
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4.81 million
country comparison to the world: 76
note: shortage of skilled labor, unskilled labor abundant (2010 est.)
 
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agriculture: 38.1%
industry: 11.5%
services: 50.4% (2010)
 
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40.6% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 187
note: widespread unemployment and underemployment; more than two-thirds of the labor force do not have formal jobs
 
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80% (2003 est.)
 
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lowest 10%: 0.7%
highest 10%: 47.7% (2001)
 
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59.2 (2001)
country comparison to the world: 8
 
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25% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 61
 
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revenues: $1.291 billion
expenditures: $1.43 billion (2010 est.)
 
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19.5% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 160
 
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-2.1% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 79
 
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5.7% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 161
0% (2009 est.)
 
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17.5% (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 35
17.3% (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$833.1 million (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 144
$784.4 million (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$3.269 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 133
$2.462 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$1.728 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 134
$1.664 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$NA
 
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coffee, mangoes, sugarcane, rice, corn, sorghum; wood
 
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textiles, sugar refining, flour milling, cement, light assembly based on imported parts
 
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-4.8% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 161
 
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650 million kWh (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 156
 
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309 million kWh (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 169
 
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NA kWh (2010 est.)
 
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0 kWh (2010 est.)
 
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0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 161
 
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12,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 149
 
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0 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 181
 
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13,480 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 136
 
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0 bbl (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 143
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 141
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 189
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 112
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 204
 
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0 cu m (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 147
 
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-$1.102 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 137
-$626.6 million (2009 est.)
 
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$536.6 million (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 165
$551 million (2009 est.)
 
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apparel, manufactures, oils, cocoa, mangoes, coffee
 
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US 90.2%, Canada 4%, France 1.5% (2010)
 
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$2.778 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 144
$2.032 billion (2009 est.)
 
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food, manufactured goods, machinery and transport equipment, fuels, raw materials
 
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US 51%, Dominican Republic 19%, China 11% (2010 est.)
 
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$1.108 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 132
$789.9 million (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$504.1 million (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 164
$1.362 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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gourdes (HTG) per US dollar -
40.15 (2010)
42.02 (2009)
39.216 (2008)
37.138 (2007)
40.232 (2006)
 
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Communications

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50,000 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 164
 
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4 million (2010)
country comparison to the world: 111
 
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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)
 
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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)
 
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.ht
 
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273 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 185
 
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1 million (2009)
country comparison to the world: 99
 
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Transportation

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14 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 151
 
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total: 4
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 3 (2010)
 
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total: 10
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 8 (2010)
 
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total: 4,160 km
country comparison to the world: 155
paved: 1,011 km
unpaved: 3,149 km (2001)
 
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Cap-Haitien, Gonaives, Jacmel, Port-au-Prince
 
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Military

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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)
 
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males age 16-49: 2,398,804
females age 16-49: 2,415,039 (2010 est.)
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
males age 16-49: 1,666,324
females age 16-49: 1,704,364 (2010 est.)
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
male: 115,246
female: 115,282 (2010 est.)
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
0.4% of GDP (2006)
country comparison to the world: 165
 
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Transnational Issues

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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
 
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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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