At a glance: Haiti


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This map does not reflect a position by UNICEF on the legal status of any country or territory or the delimitation of any frontiers.

EARTHQUAKE UPDATE: UNICEF and its partners are conducting intensive relief operations in Haiti, in the aftermath of the 12 January 2010 earthquake that devastated Port-au-Prince and other densely populated areas. For the latest information, please see the Haiti newsline.

Haiti has been plagued by violence and lawlessness since 2004, when President Aristide fled into exile. The chaos has hampered basic services and prevented humanitarian assistance from reaching the vulnerable.

Because of Haiti’s high population density and its decaying infrastructure, the country is particularly vulnerable to the effects of natural disasters such as floods, mudslides and hurricanes.

Issues facing children in Haiti

  • Haiti has the highest rates of infant, under-five and maternal mortality in the Western hemisphere. Diarrhoea, respiratory infections, malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS are the leading causes of death.

  • Some 60 per cent of people, primarily in rural areas, lack access to basic health-care services.

  • Numerous schools and hospitals have closed because teachers, social workers and health providers could not go to work for fear of violence.

  • It is estimated that about 5.6 per cent of people aged 15-49 years old in Haiti are living with HIV/AIDS. This includes about 19,000 children. Antiretroviral drugs are extremely scarce.

  • As many as 2,000 children a year are trafficked to the Dominican Republic, often with their parents’ support.

  • Only a little over half of primary school-age children are enrolled in school. Less than 2 per cent of children finish secondary school.

  • Approximately 1,000 children are working as messengers, spies and even soldiers for armed gangs in Port Au Prince.

Activities and results for children

  • Thanks to supplies, medical equipment and technical assistance from UNICEF and its partners, routine immunization coverage has improved significantly in recent years. Haiti has been free of measles and polio since 2001; 824,000 children were inoculated against polio in 2005.

  • In a major campaign to reduce maternal mortality, UNICEF and its partners provided medical equipment and training to reopen health facilities that had been closed for up to a year. An estimated 75,000 pregnant women are expected to benefit.

  • Voluntary counselling and testing facilities have successfully kept rates of mother-to-child transmission of AIDS under 10 per cent.

  • A Back to School initiative encouraged 19,000 children and 350 teachers to return to school. UNICEF helped communities build 55 new schools, which will educate an additional 20,000 children. UNICEF also provided water and sanitation supplies for 75 schools, and led classes on safe hygiene.

  • UNICEF and its partners continued to provide relief for victims of a September 2004 hurricane in Gonaives, which affected 300,000 people. In addition to food, water, sanitation, and vaccinations, thousands of children received identification cards, birth certificates and psychosocial support and counselling.

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Basic Indicators

Under-5 mortality rank


Under-5 mortality rate, 1990


Under-5 mortality rate, 2010


Infant mortality rate (under 1), 1990


Infant mortality rate (under 1), 2010


Neonatal mortality rate, 2010


Total population (thousands), 2010


Annual no. of births (thousands), 2010


Annual no. of under-5 deaths (thousands), 2010


GNI per capita (US$), 2010


Life expectancy at birth (years), 2010


Total adult literacy rate (%), 2005-2010*


Primary school net enrolment ratio (%), 2007-2009*

% share of household income 2000-2010*, lowest 40%


% share of household income 2000-2010*, highest 20%


Definitions and data sources [popup]

Source: The State of the World's Children

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