Population: Population estimated at 6.1 million
1989. Estimated growth averaged 1.4 percent annually from
Language: The 1987 Constitution recognizes both
and Creole as official languages. Two languages
distinct and not mutually comprehensible. Creole more
spoken, but facility with French connotes higher social
Ethnic Groups: Population almost entirely black
mulatto as result of historical origin as slaveholding
agricultural colony of France. Country's powerful economic
political elite mainly mulatto. Only ethnic minority the
-Syrian, Lebanese, and Palestinian immigrants--most of
worked in export-import sector.
Religion: Roman Catholicism official religion
to 1860 Concordat with Vatican. Voodoo more widely
Catholicism and could be considered national religion.
overlap between believers in both religions, with most
considering themselves members of Roman Catholic Church.
church joined in several antivoodoo campaigns in course of
Haiti's history, its opposition to folk religion more
and ambivalent than that of Protestant missionaries, who
condemned voodoo as diabolical in nature.
Education and Literacy: As of 1982, 65 percent
population over age ten had received no education.
estimated at 23 percent in 1987, but increasing as result
higher enrollments, beginning in late 1970s. Private
overtook public schools in primary school enrollment in
1980s. Chronic shortage of qualified teachers, mainly
low pay. University of Haiti major institution of higher
Health: Malnutrition widespread, especially
children. Prenatal and postnatal care inadequate,
high infant mortality rate of 124 per 1,000 live births in
Most child deaths attributed to infectious diseases
diarrheal ailments), malnutrition, and acute respiratory
Most adult deaths from malaria, tuberculosis, parasitic
Data as of December 1989