Hispaniola – Caribbean paradise?

Hispaniola is the second largest Caribbean island, and the Dominican Republic is the second largest Caribbean state (the island and country are both pushed into second place by Cuba, which is almost 50% larger).

Hispaniola is the most populous of the Caribbean islands, with about 19 million people. The Dominican Republic has just under 10 million citizens, and thus the second largest population in the Caribbean (again, behind Cuba which has just over 11 million people).

Hispaniola is divided between the Dominican Republic and Haiti, with Haiti somewhat squeezed onto the western third of the island. The split is not just stark in geographic area – quality of life indicators are markedly different between the two countries:

  • Literacy rate 52.9% (Haiti) and 87% (Dominican Republic)
  • Life expectancy 61 years (Haiti) and 73.7 years (Dominican Republic)
  • Per capita income $1,300 (Haiti) and $8,200 (Dominican Republic)