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Haitian teenage girl carrying a water container and smiling

Interesting facts about Haiti

Everything you need to know about this Caribbean country and how you can help.

Haiti is a country experiencing various challenges due to political tensions, violence, poverty, and natural disasters. Many communities are struggling to recover, as one problem leads to another or further complicates existing difficulties. Since January 2024, Haiti has been experiencing increased levels of gang violence, putting children at higher risk of hunger, exploitation and sexual abuse.

Keep reading to discover FAQs and facts about Haiti and how you can protect children from harm.

Where is Haiti located?

Haiti is a country on the island of Hispaniola in the Caribbean Sea. The country sits on the western third of Hispaniola, and shares its eastern border with the Dominican Republic. Haiti is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and the Caribbean Sea to the south, with the island of Hispaniola sitting between the United States and South America.

What is Haiti known for?

Haiti is well known for its mountainous terrain, deriving its name from the word ‘Hayti’, meaning ‘land of the mountains' in Haiti's indigenous language of Taíno'.

This Caribbean country is home to a vibrant culture and community of resilient people who overcome difficult challenges, such as the devastating earthquakes in 2010 and 2021.

Map of Haiti showing it next to Dominican Republic, Cuba and Jamaica
Haiti is located on the west of the island of Hispaniola, sharing its border with the Dominican Republic

What is the capital of Haiti?

Port-au-Prince is the capital city of Haiti, with a population of over 1.2 million making it the most populous city in the country. The city is located on a bay in the South-Eastern region of Haiti.

In 1770, Port-au-Prince replaced the former capital Cap-Francais, a city in northern Haiti, now known as Cap- Haïtien. Cap-Francais was founded by the French in 1670 as capital of the colony. The Haitian Revolution took place in the late 18th to early 19th century, lasting from 1791 to 1804. During this time, a series of conflicts resulted in the Haitian people winning independence from France.

Haiti is the most populous country in the Caribbean

The current population of Haiti is estimated at 11.8 million people, with 1.2 million people living in the capital city, Port-au-Prince. Haiti accounts for 26% of the total population of the Caribbean (44.8 million), followed closely by the Dominican Republic (11.3 million) and Cuba (11.2 million).

What languages are spoken in Haiti?

There are two official languages spoken in Haiti: Creole and French.

Haitian Creole is the most popular language. The language is a blend of French, Taino, and some West African languages, but Creole is rarely used in official situations.

French is the standard written language, used in official documents, the education system and the media. However, it’s estimated that only 5-10% of Haitians are fluent in the language. The small population of people who speak French in Haiti are at an advantage in the education system.

What is the weather like in Haiti?

Average temperatures in Haiti range from 25 degrees Celsius in January and February to about 30 degrees Celsius in July and August. However, temperature variations are expected across the country due to Haiti’s mountain ranges.

Haiti is at risk of natural disasters such as cyclones, floods, droughts and earthquakes, with flooding leading as the greatest threat for Haitian people.

READ MORE: Where is flooding most common?

What causes earthquakes in Haiti?

Haiti sits near the intersection of two tectonic plates – the North Atlantic and the Caribbean plate. Hispaniola, the island where Haiti is located, is home to multiple fault lines which are long cracks in the surface of the earth where earthquakes usually occur.

It’s no surprise that Haiti remains one of the most vulnerable countries worldwide to natural hazards, mainly hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes.

Most recently, a magnitude 7.2 earthquake hit 78 miles west of Port-au-Prince, Haiti on 14 August 2021. Relief Web estimates that the 2021 earthquake caused over 2,200 deaths and almost 13,000 injuries. 

READ MORE: How we respond to emergencies

Facts about the 2010 Haiti earthquake

On 12 January 2010, an earthquake of magnitude 7.0 hit Haiti, roughly 15 miles southwest of the densely populated Port-au-Prince. By 24 January, Haiti had suffered from at least 52 aftershocks.

It is estimated that the 2010 Haiti earthquake impacted at least 3.5 million people. The death toll ranged upward of 220,000 as well as more than 300,000 injuries. On top of that, hundreds of thousands of homes were destroyed or damaged, leaving 1.5 million homeless.

Haitian teenage girl carrying a water container and smiling
Judette, 16, is benefitting from a new water point that World Vision installed in her community.

Violence is impacting the education of 200,000 children

As of April 2024, it is estimated that 80% of the capital city is under control of gangs, with reports of armed groups recruiting child soldiers and displacing at least 362,000 people.

Already at risk of missing out on an education due to the cost of school fees, children are now witnessing school closures. 900 schools have closed due to fears of violence and political protests, depriving at least 200,000 children of their right to education.

READ MORE: How we're responding to the Haiti crisis

42% of Haitians face severe acute malnutrition

Haiti is on the verge of a hunger crisis. It is estimated that 42% of Haitians are experiencing severe acute malnutrition. 

According to the World Food Programme in March 2024, 4.3 million Haitians did not have enough to eat. That's almost half of Haiti's population of 11.8 million people. The hunger crisis in Haiti is part of a global food crisis, where 783 million people are facing hunger around the world. But we have ENOUGH food for everyone.

We believe there is ENOUGH in this world for every child to have nutritious meals every day.

You can join our community of supporters to say enough to child hunger. By donating today, you can be part of our work to break the cycle of hunger and malnutrition.

Learn more about our work in Haiti