Haiti and Dominican Republic

This investigation examined four existing studies that explored the reasons in why Haiti is more impoverished than its neighbor, the Dominican Republic.

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Haiti occupies the western one-third of the island of Hispaniola in the Caribbean Sea. The other two thirds of the island is the Dominican Republic. These two independent countries are broadly similar in terms of geography and historical institutions, yet their growth performance has diverged remarkably. In the first study they talk about how AIDS has affected Haiti and how is it been concentrated in some of the Bateyes* in the Dominican Republic, affecting its population.

The second study proposes measures to improve the migration system between the two countries so as to reduce the vulnerability to human rights deprivations of Haitians in the Dominican Republic. The third study addresses the growth of the two countries since 1960, when both countries had the same income per capita, just below $800. The fourth study examines the present state of health and education of the Haitian people, in the wake of the recent natural disasters.

*A Batey (plural is bateyes) is a company town where sugar workers live, in this context it is where illegal Haitian workers live in the Dominican Republic with very poor conditions.


Poverty in Haiti is massive and deep. Up to one million Haitian immigrants live in the Dominican Republic, most of them illegally. The high unemployment rate is a major cause of increasing levels of crime thought Haiti, especially in urban areas such as the capital, Port-Au-Prince; also this has been the cause of emigration to the Dominican Republic. Haiti is described as highly corrupted according to the Corruption Perception Index score system (2008). The most common type of corruption that exists in Haiti is known as political corruption. Facilitators of this form of corruption
continue to assist political leaders who profit from unjustly acquired wealth such as briberies. The next graph shows the contrast between Haiti and the Dominican Republic in terms of political instability from 1984 to 2000. Increase Indicates Better Institutions.

Source: International Country Risk Guide.

Additionally, the fact that many intermediaries who are trained in operating leading economies whom often take advantage of the economic system. The relationship between corruption and poverty affect both individuals and businesses in a country, in this case in two countries, and they run in both directions: poverty invites corruption, while corruption deepens poverty. One of the results from the poverty in Haiti is the fact that most Haitians cannot cover their own dietary or health needs. Furthermore, the present issue of malnutrition is only one of the many causes of extreme poverty and massive emigration to the neighboring nation of the Dominican Republic.

The terrain of Haiti is two-thirds mountainous with the rest of the country marked by great valleys, extensive plateaus, and small plains. Haiti’s natural resources include bauxite, copper, calcium carbonate, gold, marble, and hydroelectric power. Environmental and other current issues include extensive deforestation (much of the remaining forested land is being cleared for agriculture and used as fuel); soil erosion; inadequate supplies of potable water. This study finds that initial conditions cannot fully explain the growth divergence, but rather policy divisions have played a central role in the growth trends of the two countries, the Dominican Republic and Haiti in terms of employment, unemployment rate, health and quality of life.


I have chosen to talk about the Dominican Republic and Haiti because I am from the Dominican Republic and the conflicts that the Dominican Republic and Haiti have interest me. What is the explanation for these cultural differences between these two counties sharing the same island? How did the island the Tainos called Hayti come to be divided into two countries, and inhabited by two peoples of such different cultures? I took a look at the colonial past of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, which contains the answer to these questions. Both countries have a colonial background that has made them into what they are today. I have read and analyzed four different studies that talk and explain some of the causes these two nations are so different in terms of education, culture, and health.

Results and Discussion

The first study used umbilical cords that were collected at seven obstetrical sites where over 95% of La Romana* deliveries occur during for phases (pilot, expanded pilot, full study, and pMTCT program monitoring) from 2 August to 30 September 2006, the results showed that HIV seroprevalence was 2.6% (263/10 040 overall; 114/4 452, full-study phase (95% confidence interval = 2.1%-3.1%)). Most HIV-infected parturients were Dominican (68.9%) and urban (64.0%). However, prevalence was higher among Haitians (3.7%) than Dominicans (2.3% (p < 0.001)), especially those aged 21-25 years (5.2% vs. 2.3% (p < 0.001)), and among rural, batey, and peri-urban (vs. urban) parturients (3.4% vs. 2.3%, (p = 0.003)). HIV prevalence was associated with commercial sex work (reported by only 0.4%), and prior pregnancy. In logistic regression analysis, commercial sex work, Haitian nationality, and prior pregnancy were independently associated with HIV infection.

Caesarean deliveries were more frequent, and rose in the last years of the study, among HIV seropositives; however, most deliveries among seropositives (57.5%) were vaginal. The traffic from Haitians to the Dominican Republic is obvious and imminent and the authorities seem to be doing nothing to stop the traffic, some Haitian parturients cross the border to the Dominican Republic just to give birth, that way they assure a better future for their baby, like Bracken (2004) said Haitian immigrants to the Dominican Republic are received ambivantly. The researchers interviewed 24 key informants including academics in Haiti and the Dominican Republic studying migration issues, representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working with the affected populations, Haitian and Dominican migration officials, and private Dominican companies that employ Haitian workers. Interview subjects were identified through prior contacts with NGOs working on Haitian issues. Semi-structured interviews were also conducted with 13 victims who had been expelled from the Dominican Republic to Haiti.

The scientists analyzed a total of 674 questionnaires administered to those expelled between August 1999 and December 2000. ONM recorded basic information (name, age, profession, etc.) for each expellee. Fletcher and Miller found that the population appears to be overwhelmingly male and concentrated in the age range 20–40. According to ONM data, about 80 per cent of those expelled are men. About half are below age 27. About 8 per cent are children below age 15 and 2 per cent are older adults over age 60. About 4 per cent were born in the Dominican Republic. Most of the adults have lived for at least two years in the Dominican Republic. The data show that levels of education, as indicated by the ability to sign one’s name, are quite low among respondents, with approximately half of expellees able to do so.

Lower rates are found among women and adults over 40 years old. Data from ONM also show that the vast majority of men deported were working in agriculture. GARR data also show men primarily employed in agriculture, but with significant proportions in construction and factory jobs. Along with this study, Jamarillo & Sancak performed a comparison between the two countries since 1960, the countries had the same income per capita GDP in 1960, but, by 2005, the Dominican Republic’s per capita real GDP had tripled, whereas that of Haiti had halved, the experiment included a panel regression to study growth determinants across a broad group of countries and a case study framework to better understand the specific policy decisions and external conditions that have shaped economic outcomes in the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Per Capita, and real GDP Growth Rates in Latin America, 1960 2005. The following graph indicates the GDP per capita (in constant 2000 US Dollars)

Source: World Bank, World Development Indicators.

Brown, G., talks about the tragedy of Haiti and the recent issues that have affected Haiti lately, this article examines the present state of education and health of Haitian people, in the wake of the recent tragedies. According to Brown although the people were very poor in economics, they were rich in culture and manners that welcome the people visiting the poor nation. Therefore, one can make the point that the inaction of the global community needs to be addressed because poverty is a continuous state of being for a country like Haiti. In addition, Haiti’s poverty has been affecting its neighbour country as well, the Dominican Republic.

By paying off border guards, Haitians immigrants are trying to find refuge within the Dominican Republic. As a result, the Dominican Government has heightened security measures in order to combat the ongoing influx of Haitian immigrants. Even though the Dominican government is heightening security, there is still the fear that their nation will be overrun with Haitians immigrants escaping poverty and environmental degradation. To counterattack this situation the Dominican government has launched a new military frontier force to prevent illegal transportation of Haitians inside the Dominican Republic.

According to the Population Reference Bureau Population Data Sheet (2009), Haiti’s population is estimated at 9.5 million people. The age structure of the population is as follows: 43% are aged 0-14 years: 54% are 15 to 64 years of age and just 3.7% is age 65 or older. The median age of the entire population of Haiti is 17.9 years indicating an overwhelmingly young population. The literacy rate, defined as people age 15 and over that can read and write is 53% of the population. Haiti suffers from the death of 60 children under the age of 5 for every 1000 live births. Being one of the highest numbers throughout the world, the United Nation is trying to reduce the children mortality rate by 2/3 in 2015, which seems very unlikely. United Nations. (2010). We can end poverty.

Retrieved from: http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/childhealth.shtml In addition to the goals on poverty and health, there are other issues the United Nations is trying to achieve such as universal primary education, gender equity, stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, environmental stability, and to create a global partnership. Health issues are also another cause of poverty and corruption in Haiti (Bracken, 2006). Haiti spends 12 dollars a head on health, which affects human resources.

There are 1.1 nurses for every 10,000 people showing a great deficit of health personnel. There is a low vaccination coverage and increase cases of child malnutrition, which causes health situations to worsen. If the United Nations achieves these goals then health would improve because the less malnutrition and poverty people suffer the better their health become. When mothers are well educated and gender equality is reached then women have access to better income, which improves the health of the population at large. (Fletcher, 2004).

Unemployment is a serious problem. There is widespread unemployment and underemployment. Estimates are that more than two-thirds of the labour force is unemployed or underemployed (Central Intelligence Agency, 2010). There is a direct relationship between the unemployment rate and the state of the economy of Haiti. Consider these facts provided by the United States Central Intelligence agency (“CIA Fact book- Haiti”): * About 80% of the population lives in abject poverty

* Nearly 70% of all Haitians depend on the agriculture sector, which consists mainly of small-scale subsistence farming * Following tainted legislative elections in May 2000, international donors including the United States suspended almost all economic aid to Haiti

* Real GDP growth dropped by almost 1% in 2002
* GDP per capita is an anemic $1400 a year
* Inflation in Haiti in 2001 was estimated at about 12%
* There is a shortage of skilled labour in Haiti, but unskilled labour is abundant * The government’s budget is unbalanced with Revenues of $273 million and Expenditures of $361 million * There is a three to one ratio between unpaved roads and paved roads in Haiti pointing to infrastructure deficiencies * A number of private companies have gone bankrupt, and those businesses still operating are doing so in order to be in a position to capitalize on opportunities when the economy rebounds (“Situation in Haiti borders on chaos, economist says”).

* Crime, along with political and civil unrest, deters international investment. * Without a stable political and economic environment, multi national companies are unwilling to invest or build in Haiti meaning that there is not enough work available for the people that live on the island. * According to the Association of Haitian Economists Vice President, the minimum wage for those lucky enough to have a job is $1.50 per day. A different situation embraces the Dominican Republic. According to the Population Reference Bureau Population Data Sheet (2009) the Dominican Republic occupies the eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola.

The terrain encompasses rugged highlands and mountains with fertile valleys interspersed. The Dominican Republic’s natural resources include nickel, bauxite, gold, and silver. This nation has a population of approximately 10.7 million, just slightly higher than the population of its neighbour Haiti. The age structure of the population is markedly different. 34% of its population is 0-14 years old, 61% is age 15-64 and 5.2% of the population is 65 years and over. The median age of the population is approaching 24 years. The literacy rate, defined as people age 15 and over that can read and write is 85% of the population.

The Central Intelligence Agency (2010) informed that the unemployment rate in the Dominican Republic was estimated at 14.5% in 2002. The Dominican Republic’s economy experienced dramatic growth over the last decade, even though Hurricane Georges hit the economy hard in 1998. Although the country has long been viewed primarily as an exporter of sugar, coffee, and tobacco, in recent years the service sector has overtaken agriculture as the economy’s largest employer, due to growth in tourism and free trade zones. Real GDP growth was estimated at 4.1% in 2002. The GDP per capita is $6300, which is more than four times the GDP per capital of its island neighbour Haiti. Despite this, almost 25% of the population lives below the poverty line.

According to a 2001 estimate published by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (“CIA Fact book – Dominican Republic”), GDP by sector in the Dominican Republic is broken down as follows: Agriculture: 11%, Industry: 34%, and Services: 55%. For comparison, in Haiti the breakdown is as follows: Agriculture: 30%, Industry: 20%, and Services: 50% based on 2001 estimates.

Furthermore, I believe, intuitively, that there is or must be a statistically significant causal relationship between the following factors: * Declining GDP growth in Haiti and unemployment in Haiti * Low literacy rates [relative to the Dominican Republic and the dramatic difference in unemployment rates between these nations * The lack of skilled labour in Haiti and the unemployment rate * The limited number of paved roads, which is indicative of a weak infrastructure and the rate of unemployment in Haiti.


This study examined four existing studies that explored the reasons in why Haiti is much poorer than its neighbor, the Dominican Republic. I suspect there are statistically provable relationships between a variety of factors and the rates of unemployment in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. However, there are not enough data points to generate a statistically relevant analysis of the data. If Haiti is to recover, the world needs to be aware of the problems plaguing the land and its people. The world also needs to come to the aid of Haiti and provide assistance and foreign loans if it hopes to help the poverty-stricken population of Haiti.

Brown, G., (2010). The tragedy of Haiti: A reason for major cultural change. The ABNF Journal, 90-93.
Central Intelligence Agency 2010. The world fact book Dominican Republic. Retrieved from https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/dr.html CSR International (2010). 2008 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI). Retrieved from: http://www.csrinternational.org/?tag=corruption-perception-index Central Intelligence Agency. (2010). CIA World Fact book Haiti. Retrieved from: http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/ha.html Fletcher, L., & Miller, T. (2004). New perspectives on old patterns: Forced migration of Haitians in the Dominican Republic. Journal of Ethnic & Migration Studies. pp. 659-679. Jamarillo, L., & Sancak, C., (2009). Why has the grass been greener on one side of Hispaniola? A comparative growth analysis of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. IMF Staff Papers, 56(2), 323-349. Roman-Poueriet, J., Fernandez, A., Beck-Sague, C., Garcia Szabo, F., Duke, W., Martinez. A., & Stephen, N., (2009) HIV infection and prevention of mother to child transmission in the childbearing women: La Romana, Dominican Republic, 2002-2006. J Public Health 26(4) 315-23.

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Haiti and Dominican Republic. (2016, Dec 01). Retrieved from http://studymoose.com/haiti-and-dominican-republic-essay

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