Haiti occupies the western third of the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, sharing a border with the Dominican Republic. It sits about 700 miles off the coast of Miami and occupies an area just slightly smaller than the state of Maryland.
Being a tropical climate, Haiti is hot and humid during most months of the year. Some areas of the country, however, can be almost desert-like and dry where the mountains cut off the trade winds.
TERRAIN AND ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES
Most of Haiti is rugged and mountainous. Mass deforestation and poor environmental controls have left large areas of the country bare and contributed to large-scale loss of topsoil. Much of the remaining forested land is being cleared and used as fuel.
Haiti lies in the middle of the hurricane belt and subject to severe storms from June to October. In 2010, Haiti experienced a magnitude 7 earthquake.
Haiti has a very large young population, in part because of a high birthrate and shorter life expectancies – 37% of Haitians are younger than 14, 59% are between 15 and 64 years old, and just 3% are 65 and older.
Over 9 million people live in Haiti.
Black 95%, Mulatto and White 5%
Age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 52.9%
Female: 51.2% (2003 est.)
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.
Haitian Creole, French
Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. More than two-thirds of the population is unemployed. Its main exports are apparel, oils, cocoa, mangoes and coffee.
Roughly 80 percent of Haitians are Roman Catholic, while fewer than one in five claims to be Protestant. Roughly 95 percent of Haitians – regardless of religious affiliation – hold at least some Voodoo beliefs or superstitions.