Dominican Republic

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The Taino - indigenous inhabitants of Hispaniola prior to the arrival of the Europeans - divided the island into five chiefdoms and territories. Christopher COLUMBUS explored and claimed the island on his first voyage in 1492; it 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 followed, capped by the dictatorship of Rafael Leonidas TRUJILLO from 1930 to 1961. Juan BOSCH was elected president in 1962 but was deposed in a military coup in 1963. In 1965, the US led an intervention in the midst of a civil war sparked by an uprising to restore BOSCH. In 1966, Joaquin BALAGUER defeated BOSCH in the presidential election. BALAGUER 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. Former President Leonel FERNANDEZ Reyna (first term 1996-2000) won election to a new term in 2004 following a constitutional amendment allowing presidents to serve more than one term, and was later reelected to a second consecutive term. In 2012, Danilo MEDINA Sanchez was elected president.

Geography

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

Area 132/257

total: 48,670 sq km

land: 48,320 sq km

water: 350 sq km

Area - comparative

slightly more than twice the size of New Hampshire

Land boundaries

total: 376 km

border countries (1): Haiti 376 km

Coastline

1,288 km

Maritime claims

measured from claimed archipelagic straight baselines

territorial sea: 12 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 interspersed with fertile valleys

Elevation

mean elevation:

elevation extremes:

lowest point: Lago Enriquillo -46 m

highest point: Pico Duarte 3,175 m

Natural resources

nickel, bauxite, gold, silver, arable land

Land use

agricultural land: 51.5%

arable land 16.6%; permanent crops 10.1%; permanent pasture 24.8%

forest: 40.8%

other: 7.7% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

3,070 sq km (2012)

Total renewable water resources

21 cu km (2011)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)

total: 5.47 cu km/yr (26%/1%/72%)

per capita: 574.2 cu m/yr (2005)

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, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea

Geography - note

shares island of Hispaniola with Haiti

People and Society

Nationality

noun: Dominican(s)

adjective: Dominican

Ethnic groups

mixed 73%, white 16%, black 11%

Languages

Spanish (official)

Religions

Roman Catholic 95%, other 5%

Population 87/238

10,478,756 (July 2015 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 27.53% (male 1,467,374/female 1,416,998)

15-24 years: 18.39% (male 982,191/female 945,087)

25-54 years: 39.41% (male 2,113,028/female 2,016,733)

55-64 years: 7.44% (male 392,230/female 387,052)

65 years and over: 7.23% (male 349,983/female 408,080) (2015 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 57.8%

youth dependency ratio: 47.3%

elderly dependency ratio: 10.5%

potential support ratio: 9.5% (2015 est.)

Median age

total: 27.4 years

male: 27.2 years

female: 27.6 years (2015 est.)

Population growth rate 96/233

1.23% (2015 est.)

Birth rate 93/224

18.73 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Death rate 201/225

4.55 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Net migration rate 164/222

-1.91 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 79% of total population (2015)

rate of urbanization: 2.6% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

SANTO DOMINGO (capital) 2.945 million (2015)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.04 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 1.05 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.86 male(s)/female

total population: 1.03 male(s)/female (2015 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

21.3

note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2013 est.)

Maternal mortality rate 62/184

92 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)

Infant mortality rate 94/224

total: 18.84 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 20.75 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 16.86 deaths/1,000 live births (2015 est.)

Life expectancy at birth 63/224

total population: 77.97 years

male: 75.76 years

female: 80.28 years (2015 est.)

Total fertility rate 89/224

2.33 children born/woman (2015 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

73% (2009/10)

Health expenditures 130/191

5.4% of GDP (2013)

Physicians density

1.49 physicians/1,000 population (2011)

Hospital bed density

1.7 beds/1,000 population (2011)

Drinking water source

improved:

urban: 85.4% of population

rural: 81.9% of population

total: 84.7% of population

unimproved:

urban: 14.6% of population

rural: 18.1% of population

total: 15.3% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation facility access

improved:

urban: 86.2% of population

rural: 75.7% of population

total: 84% of population

unimproved:

urban: 13.8% of population

rural: 24.3% of population

total: 16% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

1.04% (2014 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

69,300 (2014 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

3,100 (2014 est.)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate 90/191

23% (2014)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight 106/138

4% (2013)

Education expenditures 163/173

3.8% of GDP (2013)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 13 years

male: 13 years

female: 14 years (2012)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 26/134

total: 31.4%

male: 22.2%

female: 46.7% (2013 est.)

Government

Country name

conventional long form: Dominican Republic

conventional short form: The Dominican

local long form: Republica Dominicana

local short form: La Dominicana

etymology: the country name derives from the capital city of Santo Domingo (Saint Dominic)

Government type

democratic republic

Capital

name: Santo Domingo

geographic coordinates: 18.28° N, 69.54° W

time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions

10 regions (regiones, singular - region); Cibao Nordeste, Cibao Noroeste, Cibao Norte, Cibao Sur, El Valle, Enriquillo, Higuamo, Ozama, Valdesia, Yuma

Independence

27 February 1844 (from Haiti)

National holiday

Independence Day, 27 February (1844)

Constitution

many previous (38 total); latest proclaimed 26 January 2010; note - the Dominican Republic Government has a practice of promulgating a "new" constitution whenever an amendment is ratified (2015)

Legal system

civil law system based on the French civil code; Criminal Procedures Code modified in 2004 to include important elements of an accusatory system

International law organization participation

accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction; accepts ICCt jurisdiction

Citizenship

citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of the Dominican Republic

dual citizenship recognized: yes

residency requirement for naturalization: 2 years

Suffrage

18 years of age, universal and compulsory; married persons regardless of age can vote; note - members of the armed forces and national police by law cannot vote

Executive branch

chief of state: President Danilo MEDINA Sanchez (since 16 August 2012); Vice President Margarita CEDENO DE FERNANDEZ (since 16 August 2012); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government

head of government: President Danilo MEDINA Sanchez (since 16 August 2012); Vice President Margarita CEDENO DE FERNANDEZ (since 16 August 2012)

cabinet: Cabinet nominated by the president

elections/appointments: president and vice president directly elected on the same ballot by absolute vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 4-year term (eligible for consecutive terms); election last held on 20 May 2012 (next to be held in 2016)

election results: Danilo MEDINA Sanchez elected president; percent of vote - Danilo MEDINA Sanchez (PLD) 51.2%, Hipolito MEJIA (PRD) 47%, other 1.8%; Margarita CEDENO DE FERNANDEZ (PLD) elected vice president

Legislative branch

description: bicameral National Congress or Congreso Nacional consists of the Senate or Senado (32 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote to serve 4-year terms) and the House of Representatives or Camara de Diputados (195 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote; members serve 4-year terms)

elections: Senate - last held on 16 May 2010 (next to be held in May 2016); House of Representatives - last held on 16 May 2010 (next to be held in May 2016); note - in order to synchronize presidential, legislative, and local elections for 2016, members elected in 2010 will actually serve six-year terms

election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PLD 31, PRSC 1; House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PLD 105, PRD 75, PRSC 3

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Court of Justice or Suprema Corte de Justicia (consists of a minimum of 16 magistrates); Constitutional Court or Tribunal Constitucional (consists of 13 judges); note - the Constitutional Court was established in 2010 by constitutional amendment

judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court and Constitutional Court judges appointed by the National Council of the Judiciary comprised of the president, the leaders of both chambers of congress, the president of the Supreme Court, and a non-governing party congressional representative; Supreme Court judges appointed for 7-year terms; Constitutional Court judges appointed for 9-year terms

subordinate courts: courts of appeal; courts of first instance; justices of the peace; special courts for juvenile, labor, and land cases; Contentious Administrative Court for cases filed against the government

Political parties and leaders

Dominican Liberation Party or PLD [Leonel FERNANDEZ Reyna]

Dominican Revolutionary Party or PRD [Miguel VARGAS Maldonado]

National Progressive Front [Vinicio CASTILLO, Pelegrin CASTILLO]

Social Christian Reformist Party or PRSC [Carlos MORALES Troncoso]

Political pressure groups and leaders

Citizen Participation Group (Participacion Ciudadania)

Collective of Popular Organizations or COP

Foundation for Institution-Building and Justice or FINJUS

International organization participation

ACP, AOSIS, BCIE, Caricom (observer), CD, CELAC, FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LAES, LAIA, MIGA, MINUSMA, NAM, OAS, OIF (observer), OPANAL, OPCW, Pacific Alliance (observer), PCA, Petrocaribe, SICA (associated member), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

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 a laurel 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; in the shield a bible is opened to a verse that reads "Y la verdad nos hara libre" (And the truth shall set you free); blue stands for liberty, white for salvation, and red for the blood of heroes

National symbol(s)

palmchat (bird); national colors: red, white, blue

National anthem

name: "Himno Nacional" (National Anthem)

lyrics/music: Emilio PRUD'HOMME/Jose REYES

note: adopted 1934; also known as "Quisqueyanos valientes" (Valient Sons of Quisqueye); the anthem never refers to the people as Dominican but rather calls them "Quisqueyanos," a reference to the indigenous name of the island

Economy

Economy - overview

The Dominican Republic has long been viewed primarily as an exporter of sugar, coffee, and tobacco, but in recent years the service sector has overtaken agriculture as the economy's largest employer, due to growth in telecommunications, tourism, and free trade zones. The mining sector has also played a greater role in the export market since late 2012 with the commencement of the extraction phase of the Pueblo Viejo Gold and Silver mine. The economy is highly dependent upon the US, the destination for approximately half of exports. Remittances from the US amount to about 7% of GDP, equivalent to about a third of exports and two-thirds of tourism receipts. The country suffers from marked income inequality; the poorest half of the population receives less than one-fifth of GDP, while the richest 10% enjoys nearly 40% of GDP. High unemployment and underemployment remains an important long-term challenge. The Central America-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) came into force in March 2007, boosting investment and exports and reducing losses to the Asian garment industry. The Dominican Republic's economy rebounded from the global recession in 2010-15, and the fiscal situation is improving. A tax reform package passed in November 2012 and a reduction in government spending helped to narrow the central government budget deficit from 6.6% of GDP in 2012 to 1.6% in 2015. A successful government bond placement in 2013 and 2014 helped finance the deficit. A liability management operation in January 2015, in which the government paid down over $4 billion of the country’s Petrocaribe debt, at a discount of 52% with proceeds from the sale of $2.5 billion in global bonds, reduced the country’s debt load by approximately by 4% of GDP.

GDP (purchasing power parity) 74/230

$147.6 billion (2015 est.)

$139.9 billion (2014 est.)

$130.3 billion (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$66.58 billion (2015 est.)

GDP - real growth rate 30/225

5.5% (2015 est.)

7.3% (2014 est.)

4.8% (2013 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP) 108/230

$14,900 (2015 est.)

$14,200 (2014 est.)

$13,200 (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 68.2%

government consumption: 10.7%

investment in fixed capital: 21%

investment in inventories: 1%

exports of goods and services: 23.4%

imports of goods and services: -24.3%

(2015 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 5.6%

industry: 31.4%

services: 63% (2015 est.)

Agriculture - products

cocoa, tobacco, sugarcane, coffee, cotton, rice, beans, potatoes, corn, bananas; cattle, pigs, dairy products, beef, eggs

Industries

tourism, sugar processing, gold mining, textiles, cement, tobacco

Industrial production growth rate 31/202

5% (2015 est.)

Labor force 84/233

4.93 million (2015 est.)

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 14.4%

industry: 20.8%

services: 64.7% (2014 est.)

Unemployment rate 147/207

14% (2015 est.)

14.5% (2014 est.)

Population below poverty line

41.1% (2013 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 1.9%

highest 10%: 35.8% (2012 est.)

Distribution of family income - Gini index 38/144

45.7 (2012 est.)

52 (2000 est.)

Budget

revenues: $10.68 billion

expenditures: $11.71 billion (2015 est.)

Taxes and other revenues 185/219

16% of GDP (2015 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) 61/220

-1.6% of GDP (2015 est.)

Public debt 101/176

44.7% of GDP (2015 est.)

45.4% of GDP (2014 est.)

Fiscal year

calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices) 63/226

0.7% (2015 est.)

3% (2014 est.)

Commercial bank prime lending rate 44/184

14.7% (31 December 2015 est.)

13.9% (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of narrow money 93/192

$6.005 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$5.488 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of broad money 90/193

$18.74 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$16.99 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of domestic credit 74/191

$28.87 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$27.16 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares

$NA

Current account balance 140/197

-$1.579 billion (2015 est.)

-$2.026 billion (2014 est.)

Exports 91/224

$9.617 billion (2015 est.)

$9.92 billion (2014 est.)

Exports - commodities

gold, silver, cocoa, sugar, coffee, tobacco, meats, consumer goods

Exports - partners

US 40.1%, Haiti 15.3%, Canada 14.5% (2014)

Imports 83/223

$15.26 billion (2015 est.)

$17.29 billion (2014 est.)

Imports - commodities

petroleum, foodstuffs, cotton and fabrics, chemicals and pharmaceuticals

Imports - partners

US 45.8%, China 7.3%, Venezuela 6.3%, Mexico 5.1%, Trinidad and Tobago 4.2% (2014)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold 94/170

$4.962 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$4.862 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Debt - external 82/206

$24.31 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

$23.83 billion (31 December 2013 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home 69/120

$30.3 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$28.31 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad 89/105

$347.2 million (31 December 2015 est.)

$127.2 million (31 December 2014 est.)

Exchange rates

Dominican pesos (DOP) per US dollar -

45.02 (2015 est.)

43.56 (2014 est.)

43.56 (2013 est.)

39.34 (2012 est.)

38.23 (2011 est.)

Energy

Electricity - production 86/220

14.1 billion kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - consumption 84/219

11.9 billion kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - exports 133/218

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - imports 143/219

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity 88/214

3.364 million kW (2013 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels 87/214

85.2% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels 81/214

0% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants 107/214

13.2% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources 85/212

1.6% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)

Crude oil - production 127/214

0 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Crude oil - exports 118/214

0 bbl/day (2013)

Crude oil - imports 64/214

26,500 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves 126/215

0 bbl (1 January 2015 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production 90/214

24,770 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption 74/212

115,000 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports 175/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports 55/213

90,870 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Natural gas - production 180/216

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - consumption 85/215

1.45 billion cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - exports 90/215

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - imports 54/214

1.45 billion cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves 132/212

0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 81/212

20.8 million Mt (2012 est.)

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines 68/219

total subscriptions: 1.23 million

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 12 (2014 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular 94/217

total: 8.3 million

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 80 (2014 est.)

Telephone system

general assessment: relatively efficient system based on island-wide microwave radio relay network

domestic: fixed-line teledensity is about 10 per 100 persons; multiple providers of mobile-cellular service with a subscribership of nearly 90 per 100 persons

international: country code - 1-809; landing point for the Americas Region Caribbean Ring System (ARCOS-1), Antillas 1, and the Fibralink submarine cables that provide links to South and Central America, parts of the Caribbean, and US; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2011)

Broadcast media

combination of state-owned and privately owned broadcast media; 1 state-owned TV network and a number of private TV networks; networks operate repeaters to extend signals throughout country; combination of state-owned and privately owned radio stations with more than 300 radio stations operating (2007)

Radio broadcast stations

AM 120, FM 56, shortwave 4 (1998)

Television broadcast stations

25 (2003)

Internet country code

.do

Internet hosts 55/232

404,500 (2012)

Internet users 69/217

total: 5 million

percent of population: 48.2% (2014 est.)

Transportation

Airports 110/236

36 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 16

over 3,047 m: 3

2,438 to 3,047 m: 4

1,524 to 2,437 m: 4

914 to 1,523 m: 4

under 914 m: 1 (2013)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 20

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1

914 to 1,523 m: 1

under 914 m: 18 (2013)

Heliports

1 (2013)

Pipelines

gas 27 km; oil 103 km (2013)

Railways 127/136

total: 496 km

standard gauge: 354 km 1.435-m gauge

narrow gauge: 142 km 0.762-m gauge (2014)

Roadways 110/223

total: 19,705 km

paved: 9,872 km

unpaved: 9,833 km (2002)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Puerto Haina, Puerto Plata, Santo Domingo

oil terminal(s): Punta Nizao oil terminal

LNG terminal(s) (import): Andres LNG terminal (Boca Chica)

Military and Security

Military branches

Army (Ejercito Nacional, EN), Navy (Marina de Guerra, MdG; includes naval infantry), Dominican Air Force (Fuerza Aerea Dominicana, FAD) (2013)

Military service age and obligation

17-21 years of age for voluntary military service; recruits must have completed primary school and be Dominican Republic citizens; women may volunteer (2012)

Military expenditures 121/132

0.61% of GDP (2012)

0.63% of GDP (2011)

0.61% of GDP (2010)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

Haitian migrants cross the porous border into the Dominican Republic to find work; illegal migrants from the Dominican Republic cross the Mona Passage each year to Puerto Rico to find better work

Refugees and internally displaced persons

stateless persons: 210,000 (2014); note - a September 2013 Constitutional Court ruling revoked the citizenship of those born after 1929 to immigrants without proper documentation, even though the constitution at the time automatically granted citizenship to children born in the Dominican Republic and the 2010 constitution provides that constitutional provisions cannot be applied retroactively; the decision overwhelmingly affected people of Haitian descent whose relatives had come to the Dominican Republic since the 1940s as a cheap source of labor for sugar plantations; a May 2014 law passed by the Dominican Congress will regularize the status of those with birth certificates but will require those without them to prove they were born in the Dominican Republic and to apply for naturalization

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 in particular by Colombian narcotics traffickers; significant amphetamine consumption (2008)