1. Education
More Dominican Republic Information | CIA Factbook | World Atlas Home | Geography Home Page

Dominican Republic[Country flag of Dominican Republic]
[Country map of Dominican Republic]

Introduction Dominican Republic
Background:
Explored and claimed by Columbus on his first voyage in 1492, the island of Hispaniola became a springboard for Spanish conquest of the Caribbean and the American mainland. In 1697, Spain recognized French dominion over the western third of the island, which in 1804 became Haiti. The remainder of the island, by then known as Santo Domingo, sought to gain its own independence in 1821, but was conquered and ruled by the Haitians for 22 years; it finally attained independence as the Dominican Republic in 1844. In 1861, the Dominicans voluntarily returned to the Spanish Empire, but two years later they launched a war that restored independence in 1865. A legacy of unsettled, mostly non-representative, rule for much of its subsequent history was brought to an end in 1966 when Joaquin BALAGUER became president. He maintained a tight grip on power for most of the next 30 years when international reaction to flawed elections forced him to curtail his term in 1996. Since then, regular competitive elections have been held in which opposition candidates have won the presidency. The Dominican economy has had one of the fastest growth rates in the hemisphere over the past decade.
Geography Dominican Republic
Location:
Caribbean, eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola, between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, east of Haiti
Geographic coordinates:
19 00 N, 70 40 W
Map references:
Central America and the Caribbean
Area:
total: 48,730 sq km
land: 48,380 sq km
water: 350 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly more than twice the size of New Hampshire
Land boundaries:
total: 360 km
border countries: Haiti 360 km
Coastline:
1,288 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 6 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
Climate:
tropical maritime; little seasonal temperature variation; seasonal variation in rainfall
Terrain:
rugged highlands and mountains with fertile valleys interspersed
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Lago Enriquillo -46 m
highest point: Pico Duarte 3,175 m
Natural resources:
nickel, bauxite, gold, silver
Land use:
arable land: 22.65%
permanent crops: 10.33%
other: 67.02% (2001)
Irrigated land:
2,590 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
lies in the middle of the hurricane belt and subject to severe storms from June to October; occasional flooding; periodic droughts
Environment - current issues:
water shortages; soil eroding into the sea damages coral reefs; deforestation
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea
Geography - note:
shares island of Hispaniola with Haiti
People Dominican Republic
Population:
8,950,034 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 32.9% (male 1,505,964/female 1,438,809)
15-64 years: 61.7% (male 2,815,544/female 2,703,012)
65 years and over: 5.4% (male 226,372/female 260,333) (2005 est.)
Median age:
total: 23.88 years
male: 23.68 years
female: 24.09 years (2005 est.)
Population growth rate:
1.29% (2005 est.)
Birth rate:
23.28 births/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Death rate:
7.35 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Net migration rate:
-3.02 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.87 male(s)/female
total population: 1.03 male(s)/female (2005 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 32.38 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 34.81 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 29.84 deaths/1,000 live births (2005 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 71.44 years
male: 69.94 years
female: 73.03 years (2005 est.)
Total fertility rate:
2.86 children born/woman (2005 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
1.7% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
88,000 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
7,900 (2003 est.)
Nationality:
noun: Dominican(s)
adjective: Dominican
Ethnic groups:
white 16%, black 11%, mixed 73%
Religions:
Roman Catholic 95%
Languages:
Spanish
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 84.7%
male: 84.6%
female: 84.8% (2003 est.)
Government Dominican Republic
Country name:
conventional long form: Dominican Republic
conventional short form: The Dominican
local long form: Republica Dominicana
local short form: La Dominicana
Government type:
representative democracy
Capital:
Santo Domingo
Administrative divisions:
31 provinces (provincias, singular - provincia) and 1 district* (distrito); Azua, Baoruco, Barahona, Dajabon, Distrito Nacional*, Duarte, Elias Pina, El Seibo, Espaillat, Hato Mayor, Independencia, La Altagracia, La Romana, La Vega, Maria Trinidad Sanchez, Monsenor Nouel, Monte Cristi, Monte Plata, Pedernales, Peravia, Puerto Plata, Salcedo, Samana, Sanchez Ramirez, San Cristobal, San Jose de Ocoa, San Juan, San Pedro de Macoris, Santiago, Santiago Rodriguez, Santo Domingo, Valverde
Independence:
27 February 1844 (from Haiti)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 27 February (1844)
Constitution:
28 November 1966; amended 25 July 2002
Legal system:
based on French civil codes; undergoing modification in 2004 towards an accusatory system
Suffrage:
18 years of age, universal and compulsory; married persons regardless of age
note: members of the armed forces and national police cannot vote
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Leonel FERNANDEZ Reyna (since 16 August 2004); Vice President Rafael ALBURQUERQUE de Castro (since 16 August 2004); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Leonel FERNANDEZ Reyna (since 16 August 2004); Vice President Rafael ALBURQUERQUE de Castro (since 16 August 2004); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
cabinet: Cabinet nominated by the president
elections: president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for four-year terms; election last held 16 May 2004 (next to be held in May 2008)
election results: Leonel FERNANDEZ elected president; percent of vote - Leonel FERNANDEZ (PLD) 57.1%, Rafael Hipolito MEJIA Dominguez (PRD) 33.7%, Eduardo ESTRELLA (PRSC) 8.7%
Legislative branch:
bicameral National Congress or Congreso Nacional consists of the Senate or Senado (32 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms) and the Chamber of Deputies or Camara de Diputados (150 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: Senate - last held 16 May 2002 (next to be held May 2006); Chamber of Deputies - last held 16 May 2002 (next to be held May 2006)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - PRD 29, PLD 2, PRSC 1; Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - PRD 73, PLD 41, PRSC 36
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court or Corte Suprema (judges are appointed by a the National Judicial Council comprised of the President, the leaders of both chambers of congress, the President of the Supreme Court, and an opposition or non-governing party member)
Political parties and leaders:
Dominican Liberation Party or PLD [Leonel FERNANDEZ Reyna]; Dominican Revolutionary Party or PRD [Vicente Sanchez BARET]; Social Christian Reformist Party or PRSC [Enrique ATUN]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Collective of Popular Organizations or COP; Citizen Participation Group (Participacion Ciudadania); Foundation for Institution-Building (FINJUS)
International organization participation:
ACP, FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt (signatory), ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO (subscriber), ITU, LAES, LAIA (observer), MIGA, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW (signatory), PCA, RG, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNOCI, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador-designate Flavio Dario Espinal JACOBO
chancery: 1715 22nd Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 332-6280
FAX: [1] (202) 265-8057
consulate(s) general: Boston, Chicago, Mayaguez (Puerto Rico), Miami, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, and San Juan (Puerto Rico)
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Hans H. HERTELL
embassy: corner of Calle Cesar Nicolas Penson and Calle Leopoldo Navarro, Santo Domingo
mailing address: Unit 5500, APO AA 34041-5500
telephone: [1] (809) 221-2171
FAX: [1] (809) 686-7437
Flag description:
a centered white cross that extends to the edges divides the flag into four rectangles - the top ones are blue (hoist side) and red, and the bottom ones are red (hoist side) and blue; a small coat of arms featuring a shield supported by an olive branch (left) and a palm branch (right) is at the center of the cross; above the shield a blue ribbon displays the motto, DIOS, PATRIA, LIBERTAD (God, Fatherland, Liberty), and below the shield, REPUBLICA DOMINICANA appears on a red ribbon
Economy Dominican Republic
Economy - overview:
The Dominican Republic is a Caribbean representative democracy which enjoyed GDP growth of more than 7% in 1998-2000. Growth subsequently plummeted as part of the global economic slowdown. Although the country has long been viewed primarily as an exporter of sugar, coffee, and tobacco, in recent years the service sector has overtaken agriculture as the economy's largest employer, due to growth in tourism and free trade zones. The country suffers from marked income inequality; the poorest half of the population receives less than one-fifth of GNP, while the richest 10% enjoys nearly 40% of national income. Growth turned negative in 2003 with reduced tourism, a major bank fraud, and limited growth in the US economy (the source of about 85% of export revenues), but recovered slightly in 2004. Resumption of a badly needed IMF loan, slowed due to government repurchase of electrical power plants, is basic to the restoration of social and economic stability. Newly elected President FERNANDEZ in mid-2004 promised belt-tightening reform. His administration has passed tax reform and is working to meet preconditions for a $600 IMF standby arrangement to ease the country's fiscal situation.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$55.68 billion (2004 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
1.7% (2004 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $6,300 (2004 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 10.7%
industry: 31.5%
services: 57.8% (2003)
Labor force:
2.3 million - 2.6 million (2000 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture 17%, industry 24.3%, services and government 58.7% (1998 est.)
Unemployment rate:
17% (2004 est.)
Population below poverty line:
25%
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 2.1%
highest 10%: 37.9% (1998)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
47.4 (1998)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
55% (2004 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
18.9% of GDP (2004 est.)
Budget:
revenues: $2.625 billion
expenditures: $3.382 billion, including capital expenditures of $1.1 billion (2004 est.)
Public debt:
61.1% of GDP (2004 est.)
Agriculture - products:
sugarcane, coffee, cotton, cocoa, tobacco, rice, beans, potatoes, corn, bananas; cattle, pigs, dairy products, beef, eggs
Industries:
tourism, sugar processing, ferronickel and gold mining, textiles, cement, tobacco
Industrial production growth rate:
2% (2001 est.)
Electricity - production:
9.583 billion kWh (2002)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 92%
hydro: 7.6%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0.4% (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
8.912 billion kWh (2002)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2002)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2002)
Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
129,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
NA
Oil - imports:
129,900 bbl/day (2003)
Current account balance:
$762.2 million (2004 est.)
Exports:
$5.446 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Exports - commodities:
ferronickel, sugar, gold, silver, coffee, cocoa, tobacco, meats, consumer goods
Exports - partners:
US 80%, South Korea 2.1%, Canada 1.9% (2004)
Imports:
$8.093 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Imports - commodities:
foodstuffs, petroleum, cotton and fabrics, chemicals and pharmaceuticals
Imports - partners:
US 48.1%, Venezuela 13.5%, Colombia 4.8%, Mexico 4.8% (2004)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$426 million (2004 est.)
Debt - external:
$7.745 billion (2004 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
$239.6 million (1995)
Currency (code):
Dominican peso (DOP)
Currency code:
DOP
Exchange rates:
Dominican pesos per US dollar - 42.12 (2004), 30.831 (2003), 18.61 (2002), 16.952 (2001), 16.415 (2000)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Dominican Republic
Telephones - main lines in use:
901,800 (2003)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
2,120,400 (2003)
Telephone system:
general assessment: NA
domestic: relatively efficient system based on island-wide microwave radio relay network
international: country code - 1-809; 1 coaxial submarine cable; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 120, FM 56, shortwave 4 (1998)
Radios:
1.44 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
25 (2003)
Televisions:
770,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
.do
Internet hosts:
64,197 (2003)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
24 (2000)
Internet users:
500,000 (2003)
Transportation Dominican Republic
Railways:
total: 1,743 km
standard gauge: 375 km 1.435-m gauge
narrow gauge: 142 km 0.762-m gauge
note: additional 1,226 km operated by sugar companies in 1.076-m, 0.889-m, and 0.762-m gauges (2004)
Highways:
total: 12,600 km
paved: 6,224 km
unpaved: 6,376 km (1999)
Ports and harbors:
Boca Chica, Puerto Plata, Rio Haina, Santo Domingo
Merchant marine:
total: 3 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 11,230 GRT/17,011 DWT
by type: cargo 3 (2005)
Airports:
31 (2004 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 13
over 3,047 m: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 1 (2004 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 18
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 5
under 914 m: 10 (2004 est.)
Military Dominican Republic
Military branches:
Army, Navy, Air Force
Military service age and obligation:
18 years of age for voluntary military service (2001)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 18-49: 2,108,197 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 18-49: 1,420,693 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:
males: 91,597 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$180 million (1998)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
1.1% (1998)
Transnational Issues Dominican Republic
Disputes - international:
increasing numbers of illegal migrants from the Dominican Republic cross the Mona Passage each year to Puerto Rico to find work
Illicit drugs:
transshipment point for South American drugs destined for the US and Europe; has become a transshipment point for ecstasy from the Netherlands and Belgium destined for US and Canada; substantial money-laundering activity; Colombian narcotics traffickers favor the Dominican Republic for illicit financial transactions

This page was last updated on 1 November, 2005


 

Subscribe to the Newsletter
Name
Email

Geography at About

More Dominican Republic Information | CIA Factbook | World Atlas Home | Geography Home Page

You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.