Located on the western side of Hispaniola Island, Haiti was the first nation to attain independence in Latin America. Haiti is where Columbus arrived when he discovered the New World, and was home to the indigenous population known as the Taino, who were known to speak the Arawak language. With the migration of various foreigners to Haiti following its discovery and subsequent occupation, various diseases spread, which are believed to be the cause of the extermination of its native population.
Haiti is a very young country with more than half (approximately 54%) of its population under the age of 25 years. Most Haitians are descended from black African slaves and mixed racial backgrounds. The rest have European and Levantine/Semitic background. These Arab Haitians make up a large share of the population. Arab immigrants first came to Haiti during the mid- to late-19th century when the country's economy was dominated by Italian and German immigrants.
There is a large Haitian diaspora with millions of Haitians living in the United States (880,000), Cuba (300,000), Dominican Republic (800,000), France (80,000), the Bahamas (80,000), France (80,000), and Canada (100,000).
A gene pool test of Haiti found its people are 95.5% Sub-Saharan African, 4.3% European, and traces of East Asian.
About 80% of Haitians are Catholic while 16% are Protestants, which includes 10% Baptist. Vodou (and combinations of Vodou and other religions) is also practiced by some Haitians as well as Islam, Judaism, and Buddhism.
French and Creole are the official languages in Haiti.
The median age of the Haitian population is 23 years of age, with a total life expectancy of 64.2 years.
Haiti Religion, Economy and Politics
In terms of quality of life and overall happiness, Haiti is still striving for improvements. 42.3% of the total population struggle with access to clean drinking water while at least 72.4% of the population struggles with access to improved sanitation facilities.
Also, in the World Happiness Report for 2018, Haiti comes in with a ranking of 148 out of the 156 countries that participated, with an overall happiness rating of 3.582 out of 10.
When examining literacy in Haiti, the World Factbook reports a 2015 estimate of approximately 60% literacy among the population over the age of 15.
The economy of Haiti is considerably dependent on the agricultural sector, which accounts for almost two-fifths of its income. The farming there mainly consists of small-scale subsistence farming, and thus it is this faction of the workforce that was most affected by the destructive earthquake. Haiti has a free-market economy, with imports constituting 80% of the food consumed by its people. Such is the extent of dependence Haiti is subjected to on other countries, particularly the United States. Furthermore, the disparity between the rich and the poor in Haiti is shocking, with the richest 1% in possession of half of the entire country's wealth. Currently, it is named the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, according to the World Factbook.
The poor economic conditions in Haiti can be ascribed to diversified reasons, ranging from a low literacy rate, which results in low level of technical skills instilled in the labor force, to the inferior health conditions and finally, the country's vulnerability to natural disasters. Despite this unpleasant portrait of this nation, the stoicism that this nation has shown whilst recovering from the catastrophic earthquake is nothing less than remarkable.
Haiti Population History
Haiti has a wide-ranging history as a result of the different groups that have settled on this land in the past. Haitian music is distinguished by having a fusion of French, Spanish, and African elements. Similarly, Haitian art is famous for its traditional and voodoo influences. Haiti is a nation that integrates art and religion to fulfill the purpose of both these significant spheres of life. The Haitian art form often tells a moralistic story, with the transformation of a human into an animal as one of its typical aspects. Furthermore, animal designs and dance drawings are also depictive of Haitian art. The most significant mediums of art employed by the artists of Haiti are painting and sculpting. This nation has a unique ethnicity contained in it, and this is expressed through various forms of art.
Haiti is a country with an unforgettable history and a wondrous culture, which one cannot fail to notice. It was, after all, the first nation to initiate empowerment among its colored people. The Haitian Revolution, which lasted from 1791 to 1804, was a determined struggle for equal rights for men of all races. It teaches us a lot today; never underestimate the impact a few driven people can make, and to have faith that these few can cause ripples weighty enough to drive a powerful movement. Haiti is thus, through its long history of struggle and perseverance, a resilient and strong nation.