Information about the Dominican Republic: Geography, history, population, map, flag, visa
|About Dominican Republic|
Dominican Republic, republic (1995 est. pop. 7,511,000), 18,700 sq mi (48,442 sq km), West Indies, on the eastern two thirds of the island of Hispaniola . The capital and largest city is Santo Domingo.
Land and People
The land ranges from mountainous to gently rolling, with fertile river valleys. It has a moderate subtropical climate, ample rainfall, and fertile soils. Periodic hurricanes can cause extensive damage. The country is administratively divided into 29 provinces and one district. The majority of the population is of mixed African and European descent. Spanish is the official language and Roman Catholicism the state religion. Population growth is a continuing problem in the Dominican Republic, and emigration to the United States, particularly to New York City, has been high.
The country is largely agricultural; sugarcane is the chief crop, and sugar is the chief product and export. However, sugar production has sharply declined in recent years. Other major crops are coffee, cocoa, bananas, tobacco, and rice. There are deposits of rock salt, bauxite, copper, platinum, zinc, gold, silver, and nickel; mining has gained importance in recent years. The growth of the nation's free-market zones has encouraged the growth of various light industries, particularly the manufacture of clothing. Since the late 1960s tourism has become increasingly important to the economy, and several international resort areas have been built. The United States and Great Britain are the main trading partners.
The country is governed under the 1966 constitution. The president, senate, and chamber of deputies are all directly elected for four-year terms. The major parties are the conservative Social Christian Reformist party, organized by Joaqu?n Balaguer the rival and social-democratic Dominican Revolutionary party, organized by Juan Bosch (both men served as president of the country), and the centrist Dominican Liberation party.
he Dominican Republic has the largest or second largest economy in Central America and the Caribbean. It is a lower middle-income developing country, with a 2007 GDP per capita of $9,208, in PPP terms, which is relatively high in Latin America. In the trimester of January–March 2007 it experienced an exceptional growth of 9.1% in its GDP, which was actually below the previous year's 10.9% in the same period. Growth was led by imports, followed by exports, with finance and foreign investment the next largest factors.
Santiago de los Caballeros, the second largest city in the country
The D.R. is primarily dependent on natural resources and government services. Although the service sector has recently overtaken agriculture as the leading employer of Dominicans (due principally to growth in tourism and Free Trade Zones), agriculture remains the most important sector in terms of domestic consumption and is in second place, behind mining, in terms of export earnings. The service sector in general has experienced growth in recent years, as has construction. Free Trade Zone earnings and tourism are the fastest-growing export sectors. Real estate tourism alone accounted for $1.5 billion in earnings for 2007. Remittances from Dominicans living abroad amounted to nearly $3.2 billion in 2007.
Sector of Naco, in Santo Domingo, with a view of Tiradentes Avenue
Economic growth takes place in spite of a chronic energy shortage, which causes frequent blackouts and very high prices. Despite a widening merchandise trade deficit, tourism earnings and remittances have helped build foreign exchange reserves. The Dominican Republic is current on foreign private debt.
Following economic turmoil in the late 1980s and 1990, during which the gross domestic product (GDP) fell by up to 5% and consumer price inflation reached an unprecedented 100%, the Dominican Republic entered a period of growth and declining inflation until 2002, after which the economy entered a recession.
La Trinitaria in Santiago de Los Caballeros is an area of increasing development.
This recession followed the collapse of the second–largest commercial bank in the country, Baninter, linked to a major incident of fraud valued at $3.5 billion, during the administration of President Hip?lito Mej?a (2000-2004). The Baninter fraud had a devastating effect on the Dominican economy, with GDP dropping by 1% in 2003 while inflation ballooned by over 27%. All defendants, including the star of the trial, Ramon Baez Figueroa, were found guilty and convicted; one subpoena failed to be delivered upon the United States denial of extradition.
According to the 2005 Annual Report of the United Nations Subcommittee on Human Development in the Dominican Republic, the country is ranked #71 in the world for resource availability, #79 for human development, and #14 in the world for resource mismanagement. These statistics emphasize national government corruption, foreign economic interference in the country, and the rift between the rich and poor.
The Dominican peso (DOP, or RD$) is the national currency, although United States dollars (USD) and euros (EUR) are also accepted at most tourist sites. The U.S. dollar is implicated in almost all commercial transactions of the Dominican Republic; such dollarization is common in high inflation economies. The peso was worth the same as the USD until the 1980s, but has depreciated. The exchange rate in 1993 was 14.00 pesos per USD and 16.00 pesos in 2000, but it jumped to 53.00 pesos per USD in 2003. In 2004, the exchange rate was back down to around 31.00 pesos per USD. As of February 2009 the exchange rate was 1 DOP = 0.0281 USD, i.e. 35.65 DOP per USD; 1 DOP = 0.022 euros (EUR, or ?); and 1 DOP = 2.74 Japanese yen (JPY, or ?).
The green mountain hills of the Dominican Republic, ideal for biking and bird-watching, are major tourist attractions.
Tourism is fueling the Dominican Republic's economic growth. For example, the contribution of travel and tourism to employment is expected to rise from 550,000 jobs in 2008—14.4% of total employment or 1 in every 7 jobs—to 743,000 jobs—14.2% of total employment or 1 in every 7.1 jobs by 2018. With the construction of projects like Cap Cana, San Souci Port in Santo Domingo, and Moon Palace Resort in Punta Cana, the Dominican Republic expects increased tourism activity in the upcoming year. Ecotourism has been a topic increasingly important in the nation, with towns like Jarabacoa and neighboring Constanza, and locations like the Pico Duarte, Bahia de Las Aguilas and others becoming more significant in attempts to increase direct benefits from tourism.
Main article: Demographics of the Dominican Republic
The population of the Dominican Republic in 2007 was estimated by the United Nations at 9,760,000, which placed it number 82 in population among the 193 nations of the world. In that year approximately 5% of the population was over 65 years of age, while 35% of the population was under 15 years of age. There were 103 males for every 100 females in the country in 2007. According to the UN, the annual population growth rate for 2006–2007 is 1.5%, with the projected population for the year 2015 at 10,121,000.
It was estimated by the Dominican government that the population density in 2007 was 192 per km? (498 per sq mi), and 63% of the population lived in urban areas. The southern coastal plains and the Cibao Valley are the most densely populated areas of the country. The capital city, Santo Domingo, had a population of 3,014,000 in 2007. Other important cities are Santiago de los Caballeros (pop. 756,098), La Romana (pop. 250,000), San Pedro de Macor?s, San Francisco de Macor?s, Puerto Plata, and La Vega. Per the United Nations, the urban population growth rate for 2000–2005 was 2.3%.