About Haiti

Downtown Jeremie near the Market


Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere with 80% (earning $2/day) of the population living under the poverty line and 54% in abject poverty (earning less than $1/day).The average annual income is just $1300, with 54% of the population earning less than $400 a year.

Haiti suffers from extremely high unemployment. It is estimated that 66% of the work force are unemployed or lack stable jobs. Corporations are reluctant to invest because of Haiti’s political instability and limited infrastructure. Such conditions perpetuate the cycle of severe poverty, poor health care and limited education.

Two-thirds of all Haitians depend on the agricultural sector, mainly small-scale subsistence farming, and remain vulnerable to damage from frequent natural disasters, exacerbated by the country’s widespread deforestation.

While the economy has recovered in recent years, registering positive growth since 2005, four tropical storms in 2008 severely damaged the transportation infrastructure and agricultural sector.

The earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12, 2010 has been crippling to the entire economy of the country.  All other cities depend on Port-au-Prince for their supplies.  All costs across Haiti will skyrocket as basic needs will become scarce throughout the country.


Population: 9,035,536

0-14 years: 38.1%

15-64 years: 58.5%

65 years and over: 3.4%

Mortality Rate

6% of infants die within the first year

8% of children die before reaching their 5th birthday.

The most common causes of death among children are malaria (which can be prevented and eradicated with the distribution of chloraquin), diarrhea (which can be prevented through clean sources of water) and pneumonia (which could be greatly reduced with increased access to health care)

While the death rate among children in Haiti is still tragically high, thanks to HEH and other NGO’s the death rate has fallen dramatically in the past 30 years. In 1980, 19.5% of children died before the age of five.

Life expectancy: 60.8 years

18.5% of adults die before the age of 40. Many die from infections and diseases that could have been easily cured. The high death rate among adults sadly results in a large number of orphaned children with no one to care for them.


Adult Literacy (age 15 and over) : 52.9%

65% of Haitian children will receive some schooling. However, only 35% will complete primary school and a mere 20% will attend a secondary school.

Only 10% of schools in Haiti are public. While tuition at the private schools is relatively low, just $100 a year, the majority of Haitian families are unable to afford to send their children to school.