Open main menu


World Factbook (1990) Haiti.jpg

 See regional map III


Total area: 27,750 km²; land area: 27,560 km²

Comparative area: slightly larger than Maryland

Land boundary: 275 km with the Dominican Republic

Coastline: 1,771 km

Maritime claims:

Contiguous zone: 24 nm
Continental shelf: to depth of exploitation
Extended economic zone: 200 nm
Territorial sea: 12 nm

Disputes: claims US-administered Navassa Island

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

Terrain: mostly rough and mountainous

Natural resources: bauxite

Land use: 20% arable land; 13% permanent crops; 18% meadows and pastures; 4% forest and woodland; 45% other; includes 3% irrigated

Environment: lies in the middle of the hurricane belt and subject to severe storms from June to October; occasional flooding and earthquakes; deforestation

Note: shares island of Hispaniola with Dominican Republic


Population: 6,142,141 (July 1990), growth rate 2.3% (1990)

Birth rate: 45 births/1,000 population (1990)

Death rate: 16 deaths/1,000 population (1990)

Net migration rate: -6 migrants/1,000 population (1990)

Infant mortality rate: 107 deaths/1,000 live births (1990)

Life expectancy at birth: 52 years male, 55 years female (1990)

Total fertility rate: 6.4 children born/woman (1990)

Nationality: noun—Haitian(s); adjective—Haitian

Ethnic divisions: 95% black, 5% mulatto and European

Religion: 75-80% Roman Catholic (of which an overwhelming majority also practice Voodoo), 10% Protestant

Language: French (official) spoken by only 10% of population; all speak Creole

Literacy: 23%

Labor force: 2,300,000; 66% agriculture, 25% services, 9% industry; shortage of skilled labor, unskilled labor abundant (1982)

Organized labor: NA


Long-form name: Republic of Haiti

Type: republic

Capital: Port-au-Prince

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

Independence: 1 January 1804 (from France)

Constitution: 27 August 1983, suspended February 1986; draft constitution approved March 1987, suspended June 1988, most articles reinstated March 1989

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

National holiday: Independence Day, 1 January (1804)

Executive branch: president, Council of Ministers (cabinet)

Legislative branch: bicameral National Assembly (Assemblée Nationale) consisted of an upper house or Senate and a lower house or House of Representatives, but was dissolved on 20 June 1988 after the coup of 19 June 1988 (there was a subsequent coup on 18 September 1988); after naming a civilian as provisional president on 13 March 1990, it was announced that a Council of State was being formed

Judicial branch: Court of Appeal (Cour de Cassation)

Leaders: Chief of State and Head of Government—Provisional President Ertha PASCAL-TROUILLOT (since 13 March 1990)

Political parties and leaders: Haitian Christian Democratic Party (PDCH), Sylvio Claude; Haitian Social Christian Party (PSCH), Grégoire Eugéne; Movement for the Installation of Democracy in Haiti (MIDH), Marc Bazin; National Alliance Front (FNC), Gerard Gourgue; National Agricultural and Industrial Party (PAIN), Louis Dejoie; Congress of Democratic Movements (CONACOM), Victor Bono; National Progressive Revolutionary Party (PANPRA), Serge Gilles; National Patriotic Movement of November 28 (MNP-28), Dejean Belizaire; Movement for the Organization of the Country (MOP), Gesner Comeau; Mobilization for National Development (MDN), Hubert De Ronceray

Suffrage: none

Elections: President—last held 17 January 1988 (next to be held by mid-June 1990); on 13 March 1990 Ertha Pascal-Trouillot became provisional president after the resignation of President Lieut. Gen. Prosper Avril;

Legislature—last held 17 January 1988, but dissolved on 20 June 1988; the government has promised an election by mid-June 1990

Communists: United Party of Haitian Communists (PUCH), René Théodore (roughly 2,000 members)

Other political or pressure groups: Democratic Unity Confederation (KID), Roman Catholic Church, Confederation of Haitian Workers (CTH), Federation of Workers Trade Unions (FOS), Autonomous Haitian Workers (CATH), National Popular Assembly (APN)


Diplomatic representation: Ambassador (vacant), Chargé d'Affaires Fritz VOUGY; Chancery at 2311 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington DC 20008; telephone (202) 332-4090 through 4092; there are Haitian Consulates General in Boston, Chicago, Miami, New York, and San Juan (Puerto Rico); US—Ambassador Alvin ADAMS; Embassy at Harry Truman Boulevard, Port-au-Prince (mailing address is P. O. Box 1761, Port-au-Prince), telephone [509](1) 20354 or 20368, 20200, 20612

Flag: 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)


Overview: About 85% of the population live in absolute poverty. Agriculture is mainly small-scale subsistence farming and employs 65% of the work force. The majority of the population does not have ready access to safe drinking water, adequate medical care, or sufficient food. Few social assistance programs exist, and the lack of employment opportunities remains the most critical problem facing the economy.

GDP: $2.4 billion, per capita $380; real growth rate 0.3% (1988 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 5.8% (1988)

Unemployment rate: 50% (1988 est.)

Budget: revenues $252 million; expenditures $357 million, including capital expenditures of $NA million (1988)

Exports: $200 million (f.o.b., FY88); commodities—light manufactures 65%, coffee 17%, other agriculture 8%, other products 10%; partners—US 77%, France 5%, Italy 4%, FRG 3%, other industrial 9%, less developed countries 2% (FY86)

Imports: $344 million (c.i.f., FY88); commodities—machines and manufactures 36%, food and beverages 21%, petroleum products 11%, fats and oils 12%, chemicals 12%; partners—US 65%, Netherlands Antilles 6%, Japan 5%, France 4%, Canada 2%, Asia 2% (FY86)

External debt: $820 million (December 1988)

Industrial production: growth rate -2% (FY87)

Electricity: 230,000 kW capacity; 482 million kWh produced, 75 kWh per capita (1989)

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

Agriculture: accounts for 32% of GDP and employs 65% of work force; mostly small-scale subsistence farms; commercial crops—coffee and sugarcane; staple crops—rice, corn, sorghum, mangoes; shortage of wheat flour

Aid: US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY70-88), $638 million; Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-87), $627 million

Currency: gourde (plural—gourdes); 1 gourde (G) = 100 centimes

Exchange rates: gourdes (G) per US$1—5.0 (fixed rate)

Fiscal year: 1 October-30 September


Railroads: 40 km 0.760-meter narrow gauge, single-track, privately owned industrial line

Highways: 4,000 km total; 950 km paved, 900 km otherwise improved, 2,150 km unimproved

Inland waterways: negligible; less than 100 km navigable

Ports: Port-au-Prince, Cap-Haitien

Civil air: 4 major transport aircraft

Airports: 15 total, 10 usable; 3 with permanent-surface runways; none with runways over 3,659 m; 1 with runways 2,440-3,659 m; 4 with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Telecommunications: domestic facilities barely adequate, international facilities slightly better; 36,000 telephones; stations—33 AM, no FM, 4 TV, 2 shortwave; 1 Atlantic Ocean earth station

Defense Forces

Branches: Army, Navy, Air Corps

Military manpower: males 15-49, 1,264,238; 679,209 fit for military service; 59,655 reach military age (18) annually

Defense expenditures: NA