Key Facts

Demography

  • Population: 10.02 million (52% urban, 48% rural)
  • Growth Rate: 3.9%
  • Labour Force: 58.3% of the population
  • Life Expectancy: 62.17 years (2011)
  • Religion: Catholic, Protestant and Vodou

Geography

  • Area: 27,750km2
  • Plain: 25% of the area
  • Hills: 75% of the area
  • Cultivated Lands: 33%
  • Undeveloped Lands: 18%
  • Forest: 5%
  • Water: 0.7%
  • Hurricane Season: June to October
  • Climate: Tropical (in general, the temperature varies from 160c in the mountains to 360c at sea level).

Infrastructure

  • 1,900km of coastline
  • 4,160km of roadways
  • Two international airports, five domestic airports
  • 157 international flights per week into Port au Prince
  • Access to seven main ports; Port au Prince, Cap Haitien, Gonaives, Jacmel, Puerto Plata (DR), Manzanillo (DR) and Santo Domingo (DR)

Some Interesting Facts

  • Native Haitians were pre-Columbian Amerindians called Taíno, “the good people.” The Taíno named their land “Ayiti,” meaning “Land of Mountains” – a term that evolved into “Haiti.”
  • Haiti’s national sport is soccer. Haiti first competed in the World Cup in 1974.
  • Haiti is one of the world’s major producers of Vetiver. This valuable crop is used as a key ingredient to make some of the world’s finest perfumes. Each year buyers from leading perfume houses bid against each other to secure their order.
  • 80% of Haitians are Roman Catholic, 16% are Protestant, and 4% are other. Voodoo is often practiced alongside Christianity. Some say Haiti is 80% Catholic and 100% Voodoo.
  • In Haiti, there is one hospital bed for every 10,000 inhabitants. There are only about eight doctors and 10 nurses for every 100,000 inhabitants.
  • Even before the 2010 earthquake, only 54% of Haitians had access to sanitation facilities (toilets, indoor plumbing, sewer systems). Less than half had a regular source of safe drinking water.
  • Haitian currency is named after the gourd, a plant of the Cucurbitaceous family. Gourd is occasionally used to describe crops like pumpkins, cucumbers, squash and melons. Gourds were so important to the Haitian people that in 1807, President Henri Christophe (1761-1820) made them the base of national currency and declared all gourds the property of the state. Today, the Haitian currency is called “gourdes.”
  • The bitter oranges used to make Cointreau liqueur are sourced in Haiti.
  • In the eighteenth century, St. Dominique (Haiti) was the richest colony in the French Empire and was known as the “Pearl of the Antilles.”
  • In 1801, ex-slave Toussaint L’Ouverture (1743-1803) led nearly one-half million Haitian slaves against Haiti’s French colonialists. Their eventual victory was the first successful slave revolt and helped establish Haiti as the first black republic. After a betrayal from the French, L’Ouverture died in a French prison.
  • Haiti is the most mountainous nation in the Caribbean.
  • Christopher Columbus initially called the island La Isla Espanola, meaning “The Spanish Isle” when he landed there in 1492. Over time, the name became Hispaniola and includes both Haiti, which covers the western third of the island, and the Dominican Republic (or Santo Domingo), which covers the eastern two thirds.
  • One of Haiti’s islands, Tortuga Island (Île de la Tortue in French), was a pirate stronghold in the seventeenth century.
  • Île a Vache (Cow Island) lies off Haiti’s southern coast and is so named because it was once overrun by wild cows descended from animals abandoned by the Spanish.

Source: Institut Haitien de Statistiques et d’Informatique (IHSI), Commission Interministérielle pour l’Aménagement du Territoire (CIAT).