Dominican Republic

A Marked income disparity

A country of nearly 10 million people, the Dominican Republic has the second largest economy in the Caribbean. However, this nation of beautiful people, culture and landscapes is plagued by a marked income disparity. The richest 10% of the population enjoys over 50% of the country's GDP, while poorest 20% lives on less than 4.4%.

According to a report of the United Nations on Human Development, the Dominican Republic is ranked #71 in the world for resource availability and #79 for human development, but #14 for resource mismanagement, emphasizing that government corruption and the rift between the rich and poor are major issues in this country.


The Dominican government spends only 2.3% of their GDP on education, leaving teaching materials and facilities lacking. Although primary education is officially free and compulsory for children between the ages of 5 and 14, those who live in rural areas usually do not have access to schools and, due to financial restrictions and limited availability of schools, most children drop out of school by age 12, with only 10% of those who initially enrolled in school graduating from secondary school.


Bateys form some of the lowest income areas in the Dominican Republic. Originally they were formed as communities of sugarcane workers, mostly made up of illegal Haitian immigrants and their families. Because of how they were formed, bateys are regarded as exceptions to the Dominican governance system and do not receive public services. Since the Haitians who originally filled the bateys were not legal immigrants, their children have also been denied citizenship. Without citizenship papers, these children cannot go to school or receive the benefits of other basic public services.

Dominican Republic Statistics

  • Language:

  • Area:

    48, 670 km² (slightly smaller than Nova Scotia)
  • Capital:

    Santo Domingo
  • Population:

    10 million
    30% of population under the age of 14
    Only 6.5% of population over 65
    50.5% of population at or below poverty line ($2/day)
  • Currency:

    DR Pesos
  • Life Expectancy:

    73 years
  • Agriculture:

    sugarcane, coffee, cocoa, bananas, tobacco, rice, plantains, beef
  • Natural Resources:

    nickel, bauxite, gold, silver
  • Terrain:

    highlands; mountains; valleys
  • Climate:

    tropical humidity; rainy season May-Oct;
    middle of hurricane belt June-Oct
  • Economy:

    67.5% Services;
    11.5% Agriculture;
    21% Industry
    Top 10% of population holds 53.6% of income
    Lowest 20% of population holds 4.4% of income
Aug 5, 2011 at 8:31 am

Your combined emphasis on education and the Gospel is fantastic!

Nov 7, 2011 at 6:25 pm

I'm going to Porta Plata on the 22nd of this month for my 20th anniv trip, and plan on bringing school supplies down to leave there. I'm wondering where the closest place is to bring the stuff, or whether it would be easier if you came to me to get it. So far, I have a children's story Bible, a couple children's books, some toothbrushes and toothpaste, lined paper, and some girls' hair elastics. Please get back to me A.S.A.P.

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