CultureGrams helps researchers and students of all ages broaden their understanding of the world and its peoples.
CultureGrams is an online information resource designed for use by schools and universities, relief and humanitarian agencies, businesspeople, diplomats, and even government employees who travel abroad.
The World Edition includes 200+ country profiles (all U.N.-recognized countries). The Kids Edition, Provinces Edition, and a States Edition are also included, geared for upper elementary students. These added editions include kid-friendly profiles of 80+ countries, all 50 states (including Washington, D.C.), and all 13 Canadian provinces and territories.
CultureGrams goes beyond mere facts and figures to deliver an insider’s perspective on daily life and culture, including the history, customs, and lifestyles of the world’s people.
Download Full 2010 Report (PDF)
Did You Know?
- Capital: Port-au-Prince
- Map: Haiti Detail Map PDF
- Population: 9,035,536
- Area, sq. mi.: 10,714
- Area, sq. km.: 27,750
- Real GDP per capita: $1,155
- Adult literacy rate: 60% (male); 64% (female)
- Infant mortality rate: 60 per 1,000 births
- Life expectancy: 59 (male); 63 (female)
Did You Know?
- Most Haitians are descendants of Black African slaves who came to the island in the 16th century.
- When entering a room or joining a group, a person is expected to physically greet each individual.
- Most people lack refrigeration and so shop daily for perishable foods.
Haiti’s Land & Climate
Haiti covers 10,714 square miles (27,750 square kilometers) of the island of Hispaniola, which it shares with the Dominican Republic. Just smaller than Maryland, Haiti is comprised of two peninsulas split by the Gulf of Gonave. The mountainous, nearly barren island of Gonave rests in the center of the gulf. Haiti’s portion of Hispaniola is significantly more mountainous than the rest of the island, with successive mountain chains running east to west on both peninsulas. The mountains are punctuated by hills and valleys, where most people live and work.
Haiti’s climate is warm and only mildly humid. Frost, snow, and ice do not form anywhere—even at the highest elevations. The average temperature in the mountains is 66F (19C), while at Port-au-Prince it is 81F (27C). Spring and autumn are rainy, whereas December through February and June through August are dry. July is the driest summer month. The hurricane season lasts from June to October.
Haitian Creole is the language of daily conversation. French is used in government and business. Only educated adults or secondary school students speak French.
Haitian Creole is a unique mixture of French and African languages. It is similar to Creole spoken on some other Caribbean islands, such as Guadeloupe and Martinique. Haitian Creole is traditionally an oral language, though it had a written form even in the 19th century. Use of written Creole began to spread after the 1940s with the introduction of adult literacy programs. People are increasingly interested in English, which is heard on television broadcasts from the United States. Also, because many Haitian families have a relative in the United States, English is used more often than in the past.
Haitians usually eat rice and beans every day, although a main meal usually also includes meat, salad, and a vegetable. Rice and corn are staple grains. Spicy foods are most popular. Piman zwazo (small hot pimentos) and garlic are often added to dishes.
Meat is marinated in sauces with ingredients such as sour orange juice, lemon juice, and hot peppers. Pork is the most commonly eaten meat, but Haitians also eat goat, chicken, guinea pig, and seafood (fish, shrimp, conch, crab, etc.). Meat-filled pastries are favorite snacks.
Music and dancing are integral to everyday life. In cities, disco, reggae, and konpa (a contemporary version of big band music played in the United States during the 1940s) are popular. Meringue, a mixture of African rhythms and European music, is also popular. Urban residents enjoy a variety of North American music.
Haitian artists and sculptors are known for their unique images and striking colors. One popular art form is sculpture made from cut, pounded, and painted scrap metal. Tap-taps—brightly painted pickup trucks fitted with benches and covered tops—are both a means of transportation and traveling art. Many artists choose Haitian history or daily life for their subjects. Nature is also an important theme. Painted screens, papier-mache art, wood carvings, basketwork, pottery, and painted wooden boxes are prominent crafts.