Haiti vs. the Dominican Republic Comparing Two Sister Countries They say the grass is always greener on the other side, for Haiti this saying seems to be true. Haiti and the Dominican Republic share the island of Hispaniola, but are completely different in many ways. Haiti is the poorest countries in the western hemisphere and almost all of its people live in poverty, while the Dominican Republic is one of the wealthier countries.
In 1960, both countries had the same per capita real GDP but in the last 50 years, the Dominican Republic has more than tripled its growth compared to Haiti. While these two countries are similar in geography and historical institutions, the growth between the two is drastically different. Throughout this paper, I will compare both countries economic growth and why two countries with the same geographic area are so different. Up until the 1960’s, the Dominican Republic and Haiti had very similar economic stance and were relatively growing at the same pace.
But suddenly, over the next decade, the Dominican Republic rapidly increased, while Haiti barely grew at all. One reason, according to Jared Diamond’s book “Collapse”, is that because Haiti resides on the western side of the island and has a lower rainfall percentage resulting in deforestation and loss of soil fertility, which effects the agricultural industry and hinders their growth. Another factor is that Haiti has less than half the space that the Dominican Republic does, but in the 1960’s Haiti had a larger population.
Throughout the 1960’s, it seemed as Haiti was beating the Dominican Republic in population, but if you look at graph 1, you can see that as soon as the 1970’s came about Haiti’s population growth slow down compared to the Dominican Republic. Because Haiti occupies a smaller portion of the island compared to the Dominican Republic, it has a higher population density in a smaller area, which also contributes to the poor soil fertility and deforestation, effecting Haiti’s agricultural industry.
While Haiti’s agricultural industry was decreasing, the manufacturing industry increased because Haiti provided low-cost labor. This was a huge role in Haiti’s economy during the 1970’s, as well as other services such as tourism. But tourism soon decreased due to political turmoil during the 1980’s, and the media had identified Haiti has the place where the immune deficiency disease, commonly known as AIDS, had originated from. This caused Haiti to experience a rapid decrease in its economy, as you can see in the per capita real GDP in graph 2.
You can identify the growth through the 1970’s, and then during the 1980’s you notice that it starts to decrease. This was just the beginning of Haiti’s downfall. On the other side of Hispaniola, the Dominican Republic was growing at a much faster pace. The Dominican Republic has the largest economy in the Caribbean and second largest of population and land mass. It has a very stable manufacturing and construction industry. They also have mining, which exports many major minerals, like gold and silver.
Tourism has also increased over the years, which has been the leading factory in the country’s service industry. The Dominican Republic’s government fully supported the growth of the tourism industry, but when the country’s water supply became poor and there was a shortage of many supplies and materials they needed, the tourism industry decreased. While researching these two countries policies and economy standings, I came across information about both countries relationships to the United States.
The United States and Dominican Republic have a very good relationship, and the US has strong interests in the Dominican Republics’ strong economy and stable democratic development. The two countries have a strong export and trading relationship, and work together on many foreign affairs, such as trafficking illegal substances and immigration policies. This strong political and economical relationship, I believe, has greatly helped the rapid growth that the Dominican Republic has experience over the last half century.