What is the richest city in Haiti


Haiti shows no significant ethnic fragmentation; however, the social gradient within society is considerable. Economic resources and political power are concentrated in the hands of the elite. About half of the national income goes to the richest 10% of the population. On the other hand, an estimated 78% of the population live below the poverty line (i.e., less than $ 2 a day) and an estimated 54% live in dire poverty (less than $ 1 a day). A considerable part of the population is unemployed or employed in the informal trade and service sector. The unequal distribution of wealth causes the inequality of educational opportunities. Currently only about 55% of children between 6 and 12 years of age attend school; the literacy rate for adult men is 54% and for adult women 39%. Historically, the rural population makes up the bulk of the population. Due to the rural exodus in recent years, triggered by the poor income opportunities in agriculture, the proportion of the urban population has steadily increased. The infrastructure is concentrated in the capital and the larger provincial cities. Since around 40% of Haitians are not officially registered and therefore do not have valid identity documents, a considerable proportion of the population is largely excluded from exercising their political and civil rights.

It is the children in particular who suffer from structural poverty in Haiti. Child mortality is extremely high at 6.8%. The main reasons for this are hunger, but also the sometimes catastrophic hygienic conditions and the lack of access to clean drinking water. In many cases, parents cannot afford their children to go to school, or the children have to contribute to the family income by working in the informal sector or by being left as house slaves to wealthier families in return for board and lodging. Haiti's high unemployment means that in many cases families are torn apart because one parent emigrates to support the family. Numerous men hire out farm laborers in the Dominican Republic during the sugar cane harvest. The construction sector in the Dominican Republic is also firmly in Haitian hands.
Due to the pressures of poverty, many parents see adoption as the only chance for their children to survive. However, the practice has also favored child trafficking, which became a problem especially as a result of the earthquake.

In theory, there is a general six-year compulsory education in Haiti. Exams are taken after the sixth, 12th and 13th year of school and are held centrally. The lessons themselves are free, but school books and school uniforms have to be financed by the parents. As a result, only around 85% of children go to primary school, and in rural areas only 23%. The rate of illiterate people is correspondingly high at around 50%. The state has withdrawn more and more from the education sector in recent years because there are simply insufficient budget funds available to ensure that schools run smoothly. As a result, the education system is largely in private hands. The private schools are of very different quality. In rural areas in particular, private institutions are often very poorly positioned with regard to the qualifications of teachers and the equipment in schools. Only about 20% of primary school teachers have formal training. Above all, higher education is heavily centralized and the schools are concentrated in Port-au-Prince and Cap Haitien, so that there is no nationwide equal opportunities for a higher school qualification.
Almost all schools in the Port-au-Prince area were affected by the earthquake in 2010, so that classes had to be interrupted for a few months in 2010. There is international consensus that the Haitian school system is in dire need of reform. In the course of the reconstruction after the earthquake in 2010, the modernization of the school system was discussed. The reconstruction of schools and general access to school education were also central cornerstones in President Martelly's election campaign program. Despite international donations, these plans could only partially be realized, and some critical voices even describe Martelly's educational policy as a failure.

The most important academic institutions are the State University of Haiti, the Université d’État d’Haiti and the Catholic University of Notre Dame d’Haiti. There are also a number of private colleges and universities where tuition is subject to a fee.

The misery of the Haitian health system existed even before the 2010 earthquake, but was significantly exacerbated by this natural disaster. Almost all health centers and hospitals were damaged by the earthquake - some of the damage has not yet been repaired. As a result, the state system is hopelessly overwhelmed by the fight against the most pressing health problems, especially the fight against the cholera epidemic and AIDS.
Treatment in state hospitals is in principle free of charge, but the cost of the medication required must be borne by the patient. Since there is no general health insurance, the majority of the population can usually not afford the necessary funds for medication and is de facto cut off from medical care. In addition, the state hospitals are usually hopelessly overcrowded, so that treatment is often only possible after a long waiting period or not at all.
Healthcare is also heavily centralized and concentrated in the larger cities, particularly Port-au-Prince.
Overall, there is a severe shortage of doctors. Doctors who were trained in Haiti have to complete two years of compulsory education in the state health system after completing their studies, but afterwards many of them move abroad because of the better opportunities to earn money.
The gap in medical care is being filled by a number of foreign organizations that have taken care of the poorer sections of the population well before the earthquake.

After the first two Covid-19 cases were confirmed in Haiti, President Moise declared a state of emergency on March 19, 2020 for an initial month. As a result, the border with the Dominican Republic was closed to passenger traffic and air traffic was discontinued. In addition, schools and universities were closed, and industrial parks and religious institutions temporarily ceased operations. In addition, a curfew was imposed for the period from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. Although the population was informed about the necessary hygiene measures and distance rules, hardly anyone adhered to these rules.

The already precarious economic situation in the country intensified as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak, as tourism can come to a standstill, foreign transfers - especially from the USA - partially failed to materialize and job opportunities in the Dominican Republic fell away. Against this background and because of the lack of sanitary facilities, hygiene and social distancing are difficult to achieve.

The disease is also associated with a stigma in Haiti, so that infected people fear that their neighbors will kill them if they find out about the infection. That is why the disease is hidden or, out of fear of a positive result, many people do not get tested if they suspect the disease. Although President Moise condemned the violence given to infected people and attacks on health facilities, attacks on facilities that treat Covid-19 infected people continue.

Although the infection rate appears to be relatively low, medical professionals warn that the numbers published do not reflect the true extent of the spread, as little is tested and there are few laboratories across the country that can evaluate the test results.

According to the findings of Doctors Without Borders, Covid-19 is spreading alarmingly quickly in Haiti and poses unsolvable tasks for Haiti's already deficient healthcare system. There is a lack of material at all levels; presumably only 20 functioning ventilators are available for the entire country. In addition, there is a lack of qualified medical personnel.

On April 15, the government declared victory over the pandemic and allowed the textile industry, which employs 60,000 people, to open up. It is feared that the easing will lead to an uncontrollable infection process, which would mean a catastrophe for the country.

The outbreak of cholera in Haiti, confirmed by the government on October 21, 2010, poses a major challenge for the health system. The first cases occurred near the town of Mirebalais in the Artibonite Delta, but the disease spread rapidly along the coast and the main thoroughfare to the south, reaching Port-au-Prince in November 2010. According to the UN, 4,500 deaths and 300,000 cases of illness were recorded in May 2011. The fact that more than 800,000 people are still living in makeshift shelters after the earthquake has encouraged the disease to spread. The cause of the outbreak is seen in the inadequate sanitary facilities in a camp of Nepalese MINUSTAH soldiers in the Artibonite. It was not until August 2016 that an internal UN paper recognized MINUSTAH's responsibility for the 2010 cholera outbreak in Haiti. The interim president of Haiti, Jocelerme Privert, was then called on to demand financial compensation for those affected.

Haiti's culture is unique in the Caribbean. It is shaped on the one hand by the French influence of the educated elite, on the other hand by the African influence of the rural population. The Haitian Vodou is an essential source of inspiration in all forms of art. The result is a cultural identity that can be clearly described as Haitian and that was able to withstand the influences of Christian proselytizing and the American occupation at the beginning of the century. However, the increasing urbanization of society and the influence of modern media have modified traditional forms of cultural expression.

Carnival in Haiti

The Carnival, Haitian Carnaval, can undoubtedly be described as one of the most important cultural events in the country. It is an expression of the cultural identity of the Haitians and has its roots both in European customs of the Middle Ages and in the African traditions that came to Haiti with the slaves. Traditionally, the main event, called Mardi Gras, takes place on Shrove Tuesday. The carnival starts in January with smaller events that take place every Sunday.

In 2010, the year of the earthquake, the great carnival parade was canceled for the first time in Haiti's history. Since then, the large national carnival event has been relocated to different cities in the province on the instructions of President Martelly in order to cause decentralization and a boom in the tourism industry in these cities. The carnival took place in Les Cayes in 2012 and 2017 and in Cap Haitien in 2013. While the 2014 national parade was held in the city of Gonaives under the motto "Tet Kole Pou Ayiti Pi Djanm" - Together for a stronger Haiti - the Karnelval 2015 returned to Port-au-Prince. In 2015 there was a serious accident with 16 dead and numerous injuries when a moving van hit a power line. The Haitian government then canceled the last day of the carnival and imposed a three-day state mourning.

Another major carnival parade is held in Jacmel each year, usually a week before the national carnival to avoid any overlap.

It is not surprising that painting and other forms of visual arts play an important role in a society that is largely incapable of reading and writing. The artistic forms of expression in Haitian culture are diverse and can be found, for example, in the form of colorful paintings, vodo flags embroidered with sequins, woodwork and metalwork. Traditionally, Haitian painting was an integral part of everyday culture as wall painting in shops or vodout temples. Since the 1950s, it has also become a household name in the established art world after the American art lover Dewitt Peters discovered this art form on his travels through the country began to systematically promote the painters. Today Haitian painting is divided into different schools. The school of Cap Haitien, represented by the Obin family, stands out for its depiction of the everyday world, historical motifs and the use of pastel colors. The Saint Soleil School, on the other hand, is more oriented towards abstract motifs from Vodou. Numerous works of art were destroyed by the earthquake, including the Church of St. Trinité, which was known for its frescoes by well-known Haitian artists. The Center d'Art, which not only functioned as a gallery, but also represented an important meeting place and support center for Haitian artists, was also destroyed.

Up until the beginning of the 20th century, Haitian literature was based heavily on French models, but soon developed its own unique and unmistakable aesthetic. It experienced its heyday in the course of the Négritude in the 30s and 40s of the last century. The best-known writers of this time are Jacques Roumain, Carl Brouard and Jean F. Brierre, who were inspired by Marxist ideas and surrealist modes of representation and who dealt thematically with their cultural and national identity. During Duvalier's dictatorship, most intellectuals, including a large number of writers, fled abroad. Numerous writers such as Edwidge Danticat and Dany Laferrière live and work abroad. Others, however, like Franketienne, deliberately stayed in Haiti. The literary language is essentially French, there are only a few publications in Haitian Kreyol.

Haiti has a diverse musical culture, ranging from traditional folk music to Haitian rap. The traditional direction is represented by Rara, whose origins lie in Vodou and whose sound is dominated by drums and simple wind instruments. The traditional time for rare groups is around Easter. The Kompa is a more commercial style of music and is related to the Dominican Merengue. One of the most famous Kompa interpreters, "Sweet Micky" - whose real name is Michel Martelly, was the President of Haiti from 2011 to 2016. In the 1980s the Rasin was created, which is strongly based on Vodou drums and the Rara tradition. The music style is represented by groups like Boukman Eksperyans, RAM or Foula. In recent years, Rap Kreyol has developed its own style of contemporary music. The most famous Haitian musician who works abroad is currently the hip-hop star Wyclef Jean, who ran as a presidential candidate in 2010.

The state religion of Haiti is the Roman Catholic faith, to which approximately 80% of the population belong. However, especially since the earthquake, there has been an increasing influence of Protestant evangelicals, especially of American origin. The main influence on art and on everyday life, however, is the Vodou, which comes from West Africa. Since 2009 it has been officially recognized as a religious practice, but not as an independent religion.

Even today, the entire everyday life of Haiti is steeped in the tradition of Vodou. Since the 1980s, the Catholic Church's negative attitude towards vodou has eased and it is now seen as an important part of Haitian cultural identity. Nowadays it is mainly the evangelical churches that are creating a mood against Vodou. Vodou is a religion that is mainly based on oral tradition. There is no written specification and no organizational hierarchy within the cult. The focus is on communication with the spirits, the loas, during religious ceremonies led by hougans (male priests or mambos (female priests). During the ceremonies, the loas take possession of the bodies of believers and come into contact with people Vodou not only fulfills the function of a religion, but also regulates social life.Vodou priests also act as advisors and mediators in disputes and, based on their knowledge of medicinal plants, act as healers.

The media landscape in Haiti


The radio is still the most popular source of information in Haiti, which has a high illiteracy rate. In addition, the acquisition costs for a radio are comparatively low and it can be operated without a reliable power supply.Although only 53% have their own radio, 84% use this medium. Due to the good network coverage in Haiti, the use of internet radio via cellphone in Port-au-Prince has increased to 96%. Most programs are broadcast in Kreyol or French, with a few also in English. In 2012 there were 375 radio stations in Haiti, 56 of them in Port-au-Prince. Most of them are private broadcasters with limited financial resources, mainly dealing with local or regional events. Only a few stations such as Caraïbes FM, Radio Ginen or Vision 2000 and the religious station Radio Lumière can be received nationwide. In contrast to the private broadcasters, the state broadcaster Radio National d’Haïti only has a small audience share of around 1%.

watch TV

TV is mainly used by wealthier people in cities and those who have access to a regular power supply. There are around 60 television channels in Haiti, 20 of them in Port-au-Prince. Most of these channels are private. Their programming focuses on movies played from DVDs, sports programs and entertainment shows copied by foreign broadcasters. For this reason, most stations broadcast in French and rarely in Kreyol. The state broadcaster Télévision National d’Haïti ranks behind the private broadcasters Télé Caraïbes and Télé Ginen in terms of popularity.


Since only about half of the Haitian population can read and write, the print media is aimed primarily at the educated and affluent classes. While many radio stations broadcast on Kreyol, the print media prefer to publish in French. The circulation of newspapers in Haiti is relatively low; The number of daily printed copies of the only daily newspaper Le Nouvelliste is 15,000 copies. Most newspapers also have online editions that reach a large readership in Haiti and the diaspora. One of the most established newspapers in Haiti. Le Matin, a former daily newspaper, was temporarily only published weekly and finally ceased publication in 2013 for economic reasons. In addition, there are a number of online publications that are mostly produced abroad for the diaspora, such as Haiti en Marche or Haiti Progrès, but which are also received within Haiti.

Although the Haitian media landscape is pluralistic, it is still subject to political influence. On the one hand, freedom of the press in Haiti is guaranteed by the constitution and there is no direct censorship. On the other hand, in 2014 the state supervisory authority CONATEL threatened broadcasters who disturb public order with their contributions with sanctions. Since journalists are typically underpaid, they are in many cases susceptible to bribery. On the other hand, journalists are also at risk. The deficit justice system has difficulties in actually ensuring freedom of the press and attacks on journalists are rarely prosecuted. The murder of radio journalist Jean Dominique in 2000 has not yet been solved. In the top half of the list of press freedom in 2020, Haiti is 83rd out of 180 and has therefore fallen by 21 places compared to the previous year.

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