Haiti census reveals worrying trends

Posted: 25 May 2006

Haiti's first census for 24 years has revealed some worrying trends. Not only are a third of Haitains unemployed, less than a third of the country's school age children attend primary school.

The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) which helped finance the census also found that Haiti's maternal mortality rate is the highest in the Western Hemisphere. In 2005, Haiti came 153rd out of 177 countries in terms of its maternal mortality rates.

Haiti's HIV/AIDS infection rate is between 4 and 5 per cent, the highest in the hemisphere, said the report.

The survey found that half of Haiti's population is younger than 20. It also found that fewer than half of the school-aged children are attending school and that unemployment stands at 33 per cent.

UNFPA representative Hernando Clavijo says the findings show a need to allocate more resources to education and reproductive health services in Haiti.

The survey shows that Haiti's population of 8.4 million is growing faster than previously estimated at 2.5 per cent a year, with each woman having an average of four children. At this rate the populatoin will grow to 10 million, by 2010.

Other social indicators are some of the worst in the region, with one out every 14 children dying before their first birthday and 523 women per 100,000 live births, dying from pregnancy and related causes.

Forty per cent of Haiti's population now lives in urban settlements, many of them in shanty towns.

Source: UNFPA and others