Poverty in Haiti

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Slums in the area of Bas-Ravine, in the northern part of Cap-Haïtien

Poverty in Haiti affects its people in many aspects of everyday life, including housing, nutrition, education, healthcare, infant mortality rates, as well as environment.[1] Haiti has constantly been plagued with low levels of living conditions, with many Haitians moving into the capital city of Port-au-Prince in a bid to escape poverty in the more rural areas of the country. Levels of poverty in Haiti are generally regarded as among the most severe in the western hemisphere. In 2012, the gross domestic product in Haiti was estimated to be US$13.15 billion by The World Factbook, ranked 146 (out of 299 countries) in the world.[2] Based on estimates by the World Bank in 2001, the percentage of people living below the poverty line is 78%.[3]


In 2014, Haiti was ranked the fifteenth most corrupt country in the world by Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index, with a CPI score of 19.[4] Studies conducted by Transparency International shows a strong correlation between corruption and poverty. Corruption increases poverty through lower economic growth rates, biased tax systems which would also lead to a widening disparity between the rich and the poor, poor implementation of social programs, lower welfare spending and unequal access to education.[5] Specifically for Haiti, studies have shown that international donors have been slow to assist Haiti, mainly due to widespread corruption and structural problems present in the country. Overseas charitable organisations have contributed more than $2.6 billion of aid to Haiti since 1994, of which any obvious benefits have yet to be seen.[6]

Infant mortality[edit]

Haiti's infant mortality rate of 53 deaths per 1,000 live births (in 2011)[7] is a result of the poor healthcare system. The lack of a well-planned education system is the cause of low literacy rates (45%) in the country.[8]

Under age 1 (per 1,000 live births)
Year Deaths
1990 99
2009 64
2011 53
Under age 5 (per 1,000 live births)
Year Deaths
1990 143
2009 87
2011 70


Haiti ranks 59.5[9] in the Gini Coefficient index, with the richest 10% of Haitians receiving 47.83% of the nation's income, while the poorest 10% receive less than 0.9%.[10]


  1. ^ Sen, Paul Farmer ; foreword by Amartya (2004). Pathologies of power : health, human rights, and the new war on the poor : with a new preface by the author (2° édition. ed.). Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-24326-2. 
  2. ^ "Central America and Caribbean :: Haiti". The World Factbook. CIA. Retrieved 2013-11-29. 
  3. ^ "Haiti - World Development Indicators". The World Bank. 2001. Retrieved 2013-11-29. 
  4. ^ "2014 Corruption Perception Index--Results". Transparency International. 2014. Retrieved 2014-12-03. 
  5. ^ Gupta, Sanjeev; Daoodi, Hamid; Alonso-Terme, Rosa (1998). "Does Corruption Affect Income Inequality and Poverty?". IMF Working Papers: 4–5. 
  6. ^ Roc, Nancy (March 2009). "Haiti: The Bitter Grapes of Corruption" (PDF). FRIDE. p. 8. Retrieved 2013-11-29. 
  7. ^ "At a glance: Haiti". UNICEF. Retrieved 2013-11-29.
  8. ^ "Haiti Introduction". GlobalSecurity.org. Retrieved 2013-11-29.
  9. ^ World Resources Institute, EarthTrends Environmental Information (2000-2007)
  10. ^ Tradingeconomics – Income distribution in Haiti