Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere with 80% of the population living under the poverty line and 54% in horrible poverty. Two-thirds of all Haitians depend on the agricultural sector, mainly small-scale subsistence farming, and remain at risk to damage from frequent natural disasters as well as the country’s widespread growth of deforestation (much of the remaining forested land is being cleared for agriculture and used as fuel).
While the economy has recovered in recent years, registering positive growth since 2005, four tropical storms in 2008 along with the recent storm that had hit Haiti this year in 2010 severely damaged the transportation, communications, and agricultural areas. Larger scale agricultural products in Haiti include coffee, mangos, sugarcane, rice, corn, sorghum and wood. Although industry is small, sugar refining, textiles and some assembly are common in Haiti. The economic inequality in Haiti is comparatively high. Expenditure distributions are highly slanted with the majority of expenditures at the low end.
The GDP (gross domestic product) per capita in Haiti as of 2009 is $1,300. The number of the unemployed in Haiti is 3. 643 million people. The labor force rates in Haiti by occupation, for agriculture it is 66%, for services it is 25%, and for industry it is only 9%. In Haiti, those who can read and write are usually 15 and older. Typical males can read and write more so than girls, but only by a small percentage: males are 54. 8% literate and females are 51. 2% literate. Haiti has 15,200 primary schools, of which 90% are non-public and managed by the communities, religious organizations.
The enrollment rate for primary school is 67%, and fewer than 30% reach 6th grade. Secondary schools enroll 20% of eligible-age children. Although, public education is free, private and unsophisticated schools provide around 75% of educational programs offered and less than 65% of those eligible for primary education are actually enrolled. Only 63% of those enrolled will complete primary school. Although Haitians place a high value on education, few can afford to send their children to secondary school. Remittances sent by Haitians living abroad are important in contributing to educational costs.
Haiti meets most international human rights standards. In practice, however, many provisions are not respected. The government’s human rights record is poor. Political killings, kidnapping, torture, and unlawful custody are common unofficial practices. Medical facilities in Haiti are in short supply and for the most part they are all very poor quality; outside the capital standards are even lower than in Port-au-Prince. Medical care in Port-au-Prince is limited, and the level of community sanitation is extremely low. Life-threatening emergencies often require evacuation by air ambulance at the patient’s expense.
Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services. The degree of risk in Haiti is quite high; half of the children in Haiti are unvaccinated and just 40% of the population has access to basic health care. Even before the 2010 earthquake, nearly half the causes of deaths have been attributed to HIV/AIDS, respiratory infections, meningitis and diarrheal diseases, including cholera and typhoid. Ninety percent of Haiti’s children suffer from waterborne diseases and intestinal parasites. Approximately 5% of Haiti’s adult population is infected with HIV.
Cases of tuberculosis in Haiti are more than ten times as high as those in other Latin American countries. Also, around 30,000 people in Haiti suffer each year from malaria. Environmental widespread growth of deforestation in Haiti as well as, soil erosion, poor supply of drinkable water, biodiversity, climate change, and desertification are some main causes as to why Haiti is such a poor and lacking country today. The forests that once covered the entire country have now been reduced to 4% of the total land area. Haiti loses 3% of its forests every year.
Deforestation has had a disastrous effect on soil fertility, because the steep hillsides on which so many Haitian farmers work are particularly at risk to erosion. Another environmental factor that faces Haiti is the unplanned and unsustainable timber harvesting, agricultural clearing, and livestock cultivation that has thrown Haiti’s environment into crisis, creating the effects of hurricanes and floods on the already unstable country. Haiti’s transportation is not at all well; although they have 14 airports in Haiti, only 4 of them are paved and the other 10 are not.
The road total mileage in Haiti is about 2,585 miles, only 628 miles of it is paved and 1,957 miles is unpaved. Haiti has only two main highways that run from one end of the country to the other. In the past Haiti used railroads, but today they are no longer in use due to other forms of transportation that have become available. The birth rate in Haiti is 24. 92 births per 1,000 people of the population, and the death rate is 32. 31 deaths per 1,000 people of the population as of 2010. The infant mortality rate total is 77. 26% deaths per 1,000 live births; males have a higher death rate than females. Males having 81. deaths per 1,000 live births and females having 73. 07 deaths per 1,000 live births. Life expectancy of the total population is only 29. 93 years, males only having 29. 61 years and females living until around age 30. The reason for such a high mortality rate is due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected.
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