Haiti is a stunningly beautiful country with beautiful people. It is also the poorest country in the Americas, with 80% of the population living below the poverty line and 50% of the people are illiterate. The earthquake in January 2010 killed approximately 300,000 people and left 1 million homeless, and left many orphaned. In Haiti, there are thousands of double orphans (children who have lost both parents); however, there are also many children who have been abandoned by one or both parents who are also considered orphans by UNICEF’s definition . As in all developing countries, orphans are extremely vulnerable. Many orphans in Haiti become restaveks, children sent by their families to work as domestic servants in another family’s household. Sometimes restaveks are treated well, but sometimes they are treated like child slaves. Today, there are close to 300,000 restaveks living in Haiti.
July 2014 World Bank Report:
- Extreme poverty declined from 31 to 24% between 2000 and 2012 in Haiti.
- However, extreme poverty rates have stayed largely the same in rural areas for 12 years.
- Only 11% of Haitians in the countryside have access to energy compared with 63% in the cities.
Statistics taken from the CIA World Fact book:
- Population: 10.17 million (2012 data)
- Size: 27,750 sq km
- Languages: Haitian Creole, French
- Religion: 80% Roman Catholic, 16% Protestant, 3% other, 1% none (note: approximately half the population practices voodoo)
- Literacy rate: 48% (U.S.: 99%)
- Unemployment rate: estimated between 50 – 80% (U.S. 9%)
- Percent below poverty line: 80% (U.S.: 15%)
- 21% of children are used in child labor