Press Release

10 May 2006

New Haiti Census Shows Drastic Lack of Jobs, Education, Maternal Health Services

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — The results of the first census held in Haiti in the past 24 years reveal that half of the country’s population is younger than 20 years old, unemployment is a staggering 33 per cent and school attendance rate is as low as 49 per cent. A related study shows that Haiti’s maternal death ratio is the highest in the Western Hemisphere, with 523 deaths per 100,000 live births.

Haiti’s Minister of Finance, Henri Bazin, and UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, released the results today in the capital, Port-au-Prince.

“The census offers a map of where the direst needs are in Haiti,” said Hernando Clavijo, UNFPA’s Representative in the country. “The population structure in itself, with an overwhelming majority of young people, means that more resources should be put into education and reproductive health services.”

According to another study, the Caribbean nation also has the highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rate in the Western Hemisphere. Estimates range between 4 and 5 per cent.

The census was conducted by Haiti’s Ministry of Finance and the Statistics and Informatics Institute. This is the fourth census in Haiti’s history, following those of 1950, 1971 and 1982.

The exercise employed a total of 25,000 people and cost about US$8 million. Funding was provided by the Haitian Government, UNFPA, the Inter-American Development Bank, the European Union, the Government of Japan and the Government of the Walloon Region of Belgium.

Principal Results:

Socio-economic Indicators

  • Population size: 8.4 million—likely to increase to 10 million by 2010

  • Demographic growth ratio: 2.5 per cent yearly

  • Fertility rate: 4 children per woman

  • Life expectancy: 56 years (women) and 53 years (men)

  • Demographic density: 302 inhabitants per square kilometre

  • 50 per cent of the population is younger than 20

  • Urbanization ratio: 40 per cent

  • Unemployment rate: 33 per cent

  • Adult literacy rate: 59 per cent

  • Primary-school attendance: 49 per cent

Haiti, has the region’s most alarming social indicators

  • Maternal death ratio: 523 women per 100,000 live births

  • HIV/AIDS: 4-5 per cent of the total population is HIV-positive

  • Child mortality: 1 out of 8 children die before they reach the age of five;

  • 1 out of 14 children die before their first birthdays.

* * *

UNFPA is an international development agency that promotes the right of every woman, man and child to enjoy a life of health and equal opportunity. UNFPA supports countries in using population data for policies and programmes to reduce poverty and to ensure that every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, every young person is free of HIV/AIDS, and every girl and woman is treated with dignity and respect.

Contact Information:

Haiti: Weaver Destin, tel. +511-1424/244-9356, weaver@unfpa.org

Mexico City: Trygve Olfarnes, tel. +5525-5250-797, olfarnes@unfpa.org

New York: Abubakar Dungus, tel. +1 (212) 297-5031, dungus@unfpa.org