The population growth rate in Haiti's rural areas has
lower than the rate for urban areas, even though fertility
are higher in rural areas. The main reason for this
outmigration. People in rural areas have moved to cities,
have emigrated to other countries, mostly the United
the Dominican Republic. An estimated 1 million people left
between 1957 and 1982.
Many of the emigrants in the 1950s and the 1960s were
middle-class and upper-class opponents of the government
François Duvalier (1957-71). Throughout the 1970s,
increasing number of rural and lower-class urban Haitians
emigrated, too. In the 1980s, as many as 500,000 Haitians
living in the United States; there were large communities
York, Miami, Boston, Chicago, and Philadelphia. Thousands
Haitians also illegally emigrated to the United States
nonimmigrant visas, while others entered the United States
without any documentation at all.
The first reports of Haitians' arriving in the United
by boat and without documentation, occurred in 1972.
and 1981, the United States Immigration and Naturalization
Service (INS) reported more than 55,000 Haitian "boat
arrived in Florida. The INS estimated that because as many
half of the arrivals escaped detection, the actual number
people may have exceeded 100,000. An unknown number of
are reported to have died during their attempts to reach
United States by sea.
Though poorer than earlier immigrants, the boat people
often literate and skilled, and all had families who could
the price of a passage to Florida. About 85 percent of
people settled in Miami.
In September 1981, the United States entered an
with Haiti to interdict Haitian boats and return
immigrants to Haiti. Under the agreement, 3,107 Haitians
returned by 1984. Nevertheless, clandestine departures by
continued throughout the 1980s. The Bahamas was another
destination of Haitian emigrants; an estimated 50,000
there by boat during the 1980s. The Bahamas had welcomed
immigrants during the 1960s, but in the late 1970s, it
its position, leading to increased emigration to Florida.
Since the early twentieth century, the Dominican
received both temporary and permanent Haitian migrants.
International Labour Office estimated that between 200,000
500,000 Haitians resided in the Dominican Republic in
85,000 of them lived on cane plantations. In the early
about 80 to 90 percent of the cane cutters in the
Republic were reported to be Haitians. Through an accord
Haitian government, the Dominican Republic imported
workers to cut cane. In 1983 the Dominican Republic hired
estimated 19,000 workers. Evidence presented to the United
Nations (UN) Working Group on Slavery revealed that the
Republic paid wages that were miserably low and that
living conditions failed to meet standards set by the two
governments. According to some reports, Haitian cane
unable to leave their workplaces, and they were prevented
learning about the terms of the contracts under which they
Emigration helped moderate Haiti's population growth.
Furthermore, annual remittances from abroad, estimated to
high as US$100 million, supported thousands of poor
provided an important infusion of capital into the Haitian
(see Balance of Payments
, ch. 8). At the same
emigration resulted in a heavy loss of professional and
personnel from urban and rural areas.
Data as of December 1989