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  Introduction Back To Top

Explored and claimed by Christopher COLUMBUS on his first voyage in 1492, the island of Hispaniola became a springboard for Spanish conquest of the Caribbean and the American mainland. In 1697, Spain recognized French dominion over the western third of the island, which in 1804 became Haiti. The remainder of the island, by then known as Santo Domingo, sought to gain its own independence in 1821, but was conquered and ruled by the Haitians for 22 years; it finally attained independence as the Dominican Republic in 1844. In 1861, the Dominicans voluntarily returned to the Spanish Empire, but two years later they launched a war that restored independence in 1865. A legacy of unsettled, mostly non-representative rule followed, capped by the dictatorship of Rafael Leonidas TRUJILLO from 1930-61. Juan BOSCH was elected president in 1962, but was deposed in a military coup in 1963. In 1965, the United States led an intervention in the midst of a civil war sparked by an uprising to restore BOSCH. In 1966, Joaquin BALAGUER defeated BOSCH in an election to become president. BALAGUER maintained a tight grip on power for most of the next 30 years when international reaction to flawed elections forced him to curtail his term in 1996. Since then, regular competitive elections have been held in which opposition candidates have won the presidency. Former President (1996-2000) Leonel FERNANDEZ Reyna won election to a second term in 2004 following a constitutional amendment allowing presidents to serve more than one term.

  Geography Back To Top

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 3.39 cu km/yr (32%/2%/66%)
per capita: 381 cu m/yr (2000)

Total renewable water resources:
21 cu km (2000)

Land boundaries:
total: 360 km
border countries: Haiti 360 km

Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea

tropical maritime; little seasonal temperature variation; seasonal variation in rainfall

Map references:
Central America and the Caribbean

Geographic coordinates:
19 00 N, 70 40 W

Natural resources:
nickel, bauxite, gold, silver

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Lago Enriquillo -46 m
highest point: Pico Duarte 3,175 m

rugged highlands and mountains with fertile valleys interspersed

Geography - note:
shares island of Hispaniola with Haiti

total: 48,730 sq km
land: 48,380 sq km
water: 350 sq km

Caribbean, eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola, between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, east of Haiti

1,288 km

Area - comparative:
slightly more than twice the size of New Hampshire

Irrigated land:
2,750 sq km (2003)

Environment - current issues:
water shortages; soil eroding into the sea damages coral reefs; deforestation

Maritime claims:
measured from claimed archipelagic straight baselines
territorial sea: 6 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin

Natural hazards:
lies in the middle of the hurricane belt and subject to severe storms from June to October; occasional flooding; periodic droughts

Land use:
arable land: 22.49%
permanent crops: 10.26%
other: 67.25% (2005)

  People Back To Top

Total fertility rate:
2.78 children born/woman (2008 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.04 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.86 male(s)/female
total population: 1.03 male(s)/female (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
1.7% (2003 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
88,000 (2003 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 73.39 years
male: 71.61 years
female: 75.24 years (2008 est.)

Major infectious diseases:
degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria
water contact disease: leptospirosis (2008)

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 87%
male: 86.8%
female: 87.2% (2002 census)

Net migration rate:
-2.4 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Ethnic groups:
mixed 73%, white 16%, black 11%

Median age:
total: 24.7 years
male: 24.6 years
female: 24.8 years (2008 est.)

9,507,133 (July 2008 est.)

Education expenditures:
3.6% of GDP (2006)

Population growth rate:
1.495% (2008 est.)


Death rate:
5.3 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
total: 26.93 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 29.01 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 24.78 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:
7,900 (2003 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 12 years
male: 12 years
female: 13 years (2004)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 31.8% (male 1,537,981/female 1,482,546)
15-64 years: 62.4% (male 3,029,349/female 2,905,471)
65 years and over: 5.8% (male 255,898/female 295,888) (2008 est.)

Birth rate:
22.65 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Roman Catholic 95%, other 5%

noun: Dominican(s)
adjective: Dominican

  Government Back To Top

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador P. Robert FANNIN
embassy: corner of Calle Cesar Nicolas Penson and Calle Leopoldo Navarro, Santo Domingo
mailing address: Unit 5500, APO AA 34041-5500
telephone: [1] (809) 221-2171
FAX: [1] (809) 686-7437

National holiday:
Independence Day, 27 February (1844)

18 years of age, universal and compulsory; married persons regardless of age; note - members of the armed forces and national police cannot vote

Government type:
democratic republic

Political pressure groups and leaders:
Citizen Participation Group (Participacion Ciudadania); Collective of Popular Organizations or COP; Foundation for Institution-Building and Justice (FINJUS)

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Flavio Dario ESPINAL Jacobo
chancery: 1715 22nd Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 332-6280
FAX: [1] (202) 265-8057
consulate(s) general: Anchorage, Boston, Chicago, Mayaguez (Puerto Rico), Miami, New Orleans, New York, San Francisco, San Juan (Puerto Rico)

International organization participation:
ACP, BCIE, Caricom (observer), FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO (suspended), ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, ITUC, LAES, LAIA (observer), MIGA, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW (signatory), PCA, RG, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Legislative branch:
bicameral National Congress or Congreso Nacional consists of the Senate or Senado (32 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms) and the House of Representatives or Camara de Diputados (178 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: Senate - last held 16 May 2006 (next to be held in May 2010); House of Representatives - last held 16 May 2006 (next to be held in May 2010)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PLD 22, PRD 6, PRSC 4; House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PLD 96, PRD 60, PRSC 22

Legal system:
based on French civil codes; Criminal Procedures Code modified in 2004 to include important elements of an accusatory system; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Flag description:
a centered white cross that extends to the edges divides the flag into four rectangles - the top ones are blue (hoist side) and red, and the bottom ones are red (hoist side) and blue; a small coat of arms featuring a shield supported by an olive branch (left) and a palm branch (right) is at the center of the cross; above the shield a blue ribbon displays the motto, DIOS, PATRIA, LIBERTAD (God, Fatherland, Liberty), and below the shield, REPUBLICA DOMINICANA appears on a red ribbon

27 February 1844 (from Haiti)

Country name (Goverment):
conventional long form: Dominican Republic
conventional short form: The Dominican
local long form: Republica Dominicana
local short form: La Dominicana

Political parties and leaders:
Dominican Liberation Party or PLD [Leonel FERNANDEZ Reyna]; Dominican Revolutionary Party or PRD [Ramon ALBURQUERQUE]; National Progressive Front [Vincent CASTILLO, Pelegrin CASTILLO]; Social Christian Reformist Party or PRSC [Enrique ANTUN]

name: Santo Domingo
geographic coordinates: 18 28 N, 69 54 W
time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

28 November 1966; amended 25 July 2002

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Leonel FERNANDEZ Reyna (since 16 August 2004); Vice President Rafael ALBURQUERQUE de Castro (since 16 August 2004); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Leonel FERNANDEZ Reyna (since 16 August 2004); Vice President Rafael ALBURQUERQUE de Castro (since 16 August 2004)
cabinet: Cabinet nominated by the president
elections: president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for four-year terms (eligible for a second consecutive term); election last held 16 May 2008 (next to be held in May 2012)
election results: Leonel FERNANDEZ reelected president; percent of vote - Leonel FERNANDEZ 53.6%, Miguel VARGAS 41%, Amable ARISTY less than 5%

Administrative divisions:
31 provinces (provincias, singular - provincia) and 1 district* (distrito); Azua, Bahoruco, Barahona, Dajabon, Distrito Nacional*, Duarte, El Seibo, Elias Pina, Espaillat, Hato Mayor, Independencia, La Altagracia, La Romana, La Vega, Maria Trinidad Sanchez, Monsenor Nouel, Monte Cristi, Monte Plata, Pedernales, Peravia, Puerto Plata, Salcedo, Samana, San Cristobal, San Jose de Ocoa, San Juan, San Pedro de Macoris, Sanchez Ramirez, Santiago, Santiago Rodriguez, Santo Domingo, Valverde

Judicial branch:
Supreme Court or Corte Suprema (judges are appointed by the National Judicial Council comprised of the president, the leaders of both chambers of congress, the president of the Supreme Court, and an additional non-governing party congressional representative)

  Economy Back To Top

Exports - partners:
US 66.4%, Belgium 3.7%, Finland 3.2% (2007)

Electricity - consumption:
11.81 billion kWh (2006 est.)

Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2007 est.)

Current account balance:
-$4.23 billion (2008 est.)

Debt - external:
$11.7 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Unemployment rate:
15.4% (2008 est.)

Oil - exports:
0 bbl/day (2005)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$8,800 (2008 est.)

Investment (gross fixed):
19.6% of GDP (2008 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:
$15.92 billion (31 December 2007)

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$83.33 billion (2008 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):
$45.69 billion (2008 est.)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:
49.9 (2005)

Exchange rates:
Dominican pesos (DOP) per US dollar - 34.775 (2008 est.), 33.113 (2007), 33.406 (2006), 30.409 (2005), 42.12 (2004)

GDP - real growth rate:
5.5% (2008 est.)

Stock of money:
$4.074 billion (31 December 2007)

Labor force:
4.119 million (2008 est.)

Imports - partners:
US 46%, Venezuela 8.1%, Mexico 5.9%, Colombia 4.7% (2007)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
12.2% (2008 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 11.3%
industry: 23.5%
services: 65.2% (2008 est.)

Oil - imports:
116,600 bbl/day (2005)

$7.17 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Natural gas - consumption:
250 million cu m (2006 est.)

Currency (code):
Dominican peso (DOP)

Economy - overview:
The Dominican Republic has enjoyed strong GDP growth since 2005, and continued to post sound gains through mid-2008. The global recession, however, had a significant impact on GDP growth in the latter half of the year as tourism and remittances, two of the Dominican Republic's most important economic contributors, showed signs of slowing. The economy is highly dependent upon the US, the source of nearly three-fourths of exports, and remittances represent about a tenth of GDP, equivalent to almost half of exports and three-quarters of tourism receipts. The country has long been viewed primarily as an exporter of sugar, coffee, and tobacco, but in recent years the service sector has overtaken agriculture as the economy's largest employer due to growth in tourism and free trade zones. Although 2007 saw inflation rates averaging around 6%, inflation rates in 2008 grew to over 11% on average for the first 3 quarters. High food prices, driven by the effects of consecutive tropical storms on agricultural products, and education prices were significant contributors to the jump. The effects of the global financial crisis and the US recession are projected to negatively affect GDP growth in 2009, with a rebound expected in 2010. Although the economy is growing at a respectable rate, high unemployment and underemployment remains an important challenge. The country suffers from marked income inequality; the poorest half of the population receives less than one-fifth of GNP, while the richest 10% enjoys nearly 40% of national income. The Central America-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) came into force in March 2007, which should boost investment and exports and reduce losses to the Asian garment industry.

Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Imports - commodities:
foodstuffs, petroleum, cotton and fabrics, chemicals and pharmaceuticals

tourism, sugar processing, ferronickel and gold mining, textiles, cement, tobacco

Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2007 est.)

Population below poverty line:
42.2% (2004)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
15.83% (31 December 2007)

Stock of quasi money:
$5.631 billion (31 December 2007)

Electricity - production:
13.37 billion kWh (2006 est.)

$16.02 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Oil - proved reserves:

Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 14.6%
industry: 22.3%
services: 63.1% (2005)

Natural gas - proved reserves:
0 cu m (1 January 2006 est.)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$2.162 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Oil - consumption:
117,300 bbl/day (2006 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:
$59 million (2008 est.)

Public debt:
39.1% of GDP (2008 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
$14.75 billion (2008 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares:

Currency code:

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 1.4%
highest 10%: 41.1% (2004)

Exports - commodities:
ferronickel, sugar, gold, silver, coffee, cocoa, tobacco, meats, consumer goods

Economic aid - recipient:
$76.99 million (2005)

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 92%
hydro: 7.6%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0.4% (2001)

Natural gas - imports:
239.8 million cu m (2005)

Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

revenues: $7.947 billion
expenditures: $9.069 billion (2008 est.)

Fiscal year:
calendar year

Oil - production:
12 bbl/day (2004)

  Communications Back To Top

Internet users:
1.677 million (2007)

Telephones - main lines in use:
907,000 (2007)

770,000 (1997)

Internet country code:

Radio broadcast stations:
AM 120, FM 56, shortwave 4 (1998)

1.44 million (1997)

Telephones - mobile cellular:
5.513 million (2007)

Television broadcast stations:
25 (2003)

Telephone system:
general assessment: relatively efficient system based on island-wide microwave radio relay network
domestic: fixed telephone line density is about 10 per 100 persons; multiple providers of mobile cellular service with a subscribership of roughly 60 per 100 persons
international: country code - 1-809; landing point for the Americas Region Caribbean Ring System (ARCOS-1) fiber-optic telecommunications submarine cable that provides links to South and Central America, parts of the Caribbean, and US; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2007)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
24 (2000)

Internet hosts:
105,546 (2008)

  Transportation Back To Top

total: 517 km
standard gauge: 375 km 1.435-m gauge
narrow gauge: 142 km 0.762-m gauge
note: additional 1,226 km operated by sugar companies in 1.076 m, 0.889 m, and 0.762-m gauges (2006)

Ports and terminals:
Boca Chica, Caucedo, Puerto Plata, Rio Haina, Santo Domingo

Merchant marine:
total: 1
by type: cargo 1
registered in other countries: 1 (Panama 1) (2008)

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 15
over 3,047 m: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 4
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 1 (2007)

total: 19,705 km
paved: 9,872 km
unpaved: 9,833 km (2002)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 19
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 5
under 914 m: 11 (2007)

34 (2007)

  Military Back To Top

Military service age and obligation:
18 years of age for voluntary military service (2007)

Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 2,440,203
females age 16-49: 2,326,694 (2008 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 2,020,490
females age 16-49: 1,883,875 (2008 est.)

Military branches:
Army, Navy, Air Force (Fuerza Aerea Dominicana, FAD) (2007)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 96,971
female: 93,116 (2008 est.)

Military expenditures:
0.8% of GDP (2006)

  Transnational Issues Back To Top

Disputes - international:
Haitian migrants cross the porous border into the Dominican Republic to find work; illegal migrants from the Dominican Republic cross the Mona Passage each year to Puerto Rico to find better work

Trafficking in persons:
current situation: the Dominican Republic is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor; a large number of Dominican women are trafficked into prostitution and sexual exploitation in Western Europe, Australia, Central and South America, and Caribbean destinations; a significant number of women, boys, and girls are trafficked within the country for sexual exploitation and domestic servitude
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - for a second consecutive year, the Dominican Republic is on the Tier 2 Watch List for its failure to show evidence of increasing efforts to combat human trafficking, particularly in terms of not adequately investigating and prosecuting public officials who may be complicit with trafficking activity, and inadequate government efforts to protect trafficking victims; the government has taken measures to reduce demand for commercial sex acts with children through criminal prosecutions (2008)

Illicit drugs:
transshipment point for South American drugs destined for the US and Europe; has become a transshipment point for ecstasy from the Netherlands and Belgium destined for US and Canada; substantial money laundering activity; Colombian narcotics traffickers favor the Dominican Republic for illicit financial transactions; significant amphetamine consumption

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