The Republic of Haiti is a Caribbean country located in the Greater Antillean archipelago just east of Cuba and Jamaica and west of Puerto Rico. Haiti shares the island of Hispaniola with neighboring country the Dominican Republic.

Named for its mountainous terrain, Haiti was once known as the “Pearl of the Antilles” but is now considered the poorest country in the Western hemisphere and one of the poorest countries in the world.

The Haitian people have been plagued by political violence and environmental degradation, resulting in extreme poverty. In 2004, the United Nations Development Program ranked Haiti 153rd out of 177 countries on the human development index.

Facts about Haiti:

  • Population: 8,000,000 people
  • Official languages: French, Haitian Creole
  • Total land area: 10,000 sq. miles
  • Life expectancy: 52 years
  • Infant mortality rate: 74 deaths per 1,000 live births
  • People living with HIV/AIDS: 300,000 (1 in 25 people)
  • Illiteracy rate: 52% inner city; 85% rural areas (compare to 15% in other Caribbean nations)
  • Unemployment rate: 70%
  • Arable land: 20%