Factbook: Domincan Republic

Dominican Republic


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

Geographic coordinates: 19 00 N, 70 40 W

Map references: Central America and the Caribbean

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

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

Land boundaries:
total : 275 km
border countries: Haiti 275 km

Coastline: 1,288 km

Maritime claims:
contiguous zone : 24 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 6 nm

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

Terrain: rugged highlands and mountains with fertile valleys interspersed

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

Natural resources: nickel, bauxite, gold, silver

Land use:
arable land: 21%
permanent crops: 9%
permanent pastures : 43%
forests and woodland: 12%
other: 15% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 2,300 sq km (1993 est.)

Natural hazards: occasional hurricanes (July to October)

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

Environment – international agreements:
party to : Biodiversity, Endangered Species, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: Climate Change, Law of the Sea

Geography – note: shares island of Hispaniola with Haiti (eastern two-thirds is the Dominican Republic, western one-third is Haiti)


Population: 7,868,731 (July 1997 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 36% (male 1,423,626; female 1,371,309)
15-64 years: 60% (male 2,404,042; female 2,334,119)
65 years and over : 4% (male 160,270; female 175,365) (July 1997 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.65% (1997 est.)

Birth rate: 26.87 births/1,000 population (1997 est.)

Death rate: 5.81 deaths/1,000 population (1997 est.)

Net migration rate: -4.6 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1997 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years : 1.03 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.91 male(s)/female
total population: 1.03 male(s)/female (1997 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 46 deaths/1,000 live births (1997 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 69.39 years
male : 67.21 years
female: 71.69 years (1997 est.)

Total fertility rate: 3.1 children born/woman (1997 est.)

noun: Dominican(s)
adjective: Dominican

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

Religions: Roman Catholic 95%

Languages: Spanish

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 82.1%
male: 82%
female : 82.2% (1995 est.)


Country name:
conventional long form: Dominican Republic
conventional short form: none
local long form : Republica Dominicana
local short form: none

Data code: DR

Government type: republic

National capital: Santo Domingo

Administrative divisions: 29 provinces (provincias, singular – provincia) and 1 district* (distrito); Azua, Baoruco, Barahona, Dajabon, Distrito Nacional*, Duarte, Elias Pina, El Seibo, 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, Sanchez Ramirez, San Cristobal, San Juan, San Pedro de Macoris, Santiago, Santiago Rodriguez, Valverde

Independence: 27 February 1844 (from Haiti)

National holiday: Independence Day, 27 February (1844)

Constitution: 28 November 1966

Legal system: based on French civil codes

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

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Leonel FERNANDEZ Reyna (since 16 August 1996); Vice President Jaime David FERNANDEZ Mirabal (since 16 August 1996); note – the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government : President Leonel FERNANDEZ Reyna (since 16 August 1996); Vice President Jaime David FERNANDEZ Mirabal (since 16 August 1996); note – the president is both the chief of state and head of government
cabinet: Cabinet nominated by the president
elections: president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for four-year term; election last held 16 May 1996; runoff election held 30 June 1996 (next to be held 16 May 2000)
election results: President FERNANDEZ elected to his first term; percent of vote – Leonel FERNANDEZ (PLD) 51.25%, Jose Francisco PENA Gomez (PRD) 48.75%

Legislative branch: bicameral National Congress or Congreso Nacional consists of the Senate or Senado (30 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms) and the Chamber of Deputies or Camara de Diputados (120 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: Senate – last held 30 May 1994 (next to be held NA May 1998); Chamber of Deputies – last held 16 May 1994 (next to be held NA May 1998)
election results: Senate – percent of vote by party – NA; seats by party – PRSC 15, PLD 1, PRD 14; Chamber of Deputies – percent of vote by party – NA; seats by party – PLD 13, PRSC 50, PRD 57

Judicial branch: Supreme Court (Corte Suprema), judges are elected by a Council made up of legislative and executive members with the president presiding

Political parties and leaders:
major parties: Social Christian Reformist Party or PRSC [Joaquin BALAGUER Ricardo]; Dominican Liberation Party or PLD [Lidio CADET]; Dominican Revolutionary Party or PRD [Jose Franciso PENA Gomez]; Independent Revolutionary Party or PRI
minor parties: National Veterans and Civilian Party or PNVC [Juan Rene BEAUCHAMPS Javier]; Liberal Party of the Dominican Republic or PLRD [Andres Van Der HORST]; Democratic Quisqueyan Party or PQD [Elias WESSIN Chavez]; National Progressive Force or FNP [Marino VINICIO Castillo]; Popular Christian Party or PPC [Rogelio DELGADO Bogaert]; Dominican Communist Party or PCD [Narciso ISA Conde]; Dominican Workers’ Party or PTD [Ivan RODRIGUEZ]; Anti-Imperialist Patriotic Union or UPA [Ignacio RODRIGUEZ Chiappini]; Alliance for Democracy Party or APD [Maximilano Rabelais PUIG Miller, Nelsida MARMOLEJOS, Vicente BENGOA]; Democratic Union or UD [Fernando ALVAREZ Bogaert]
note: in 1983 several leftist parties, including the PCD, joined to form the Dominican Leftist Front or FID; however, they still retain individual party structures

Political pressure groups and leaders: Collective of Popular Organizations or COP

International organization participation: ACP, Caricom (observer), ECLAC, FAO, G-11, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ITU, LAES, LAIA (observer), NAM (guest), OAS, OPANAL, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WMO, WToO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Bernardo VEGA Boyrie
chancery: 1715 22nd Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 332-6280, 6281
FAX: [1] (202) 265-8057
consulate(s) general: Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Mayaguez (Puerto Rico), Miami, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and San Juan (Puerto Rico)
consulate(s): Charlotte Amalie (Virgin Islands), Detroit, Houston, Jacksonville, Mobile, and Ponce (Puerto Rico)

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Donna Jean HRINAK
embassy: corner of Calle Cesar Nicolas Penson and Calle Leopoldo Navarro, Santo Domingo
mailing address: Unit 5500, APO AA 34041
telephone: [1] (809) 221-2171, 221-8100
FAX: [1] (809) 686-7437

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, the bottom ones are red (hoist side) and blue; a small coat of arms is at the center of the cross


Economy – overview: Economic reforms launched in late 1994 contributed to exchange rate stabilization, reduced inflation, and strong GDP growth in 1995-96. In 1996, there was increased mineral and petroleum exploration, and a new investment law that allows for repatriation of capital dividends has drawn more investment to the island. Upon coming to power in August 1996, President FERNANDEZ nevertheless inherited a trouble-ridden economy hampered by a pressured peso, a large external debt, nearly bankrupt state-owned enterprises, and a manufacturing sector hindered by daily power outages. In December, FERNANDEZ presented a bold economic reform package – including such reforms as the devaluation of the peso, income tax cuts, a 50% increase in sales taxes, reduced import tariffs, and increased gasoline prices – in an attempt to create a market-oriented economy that can compete internationally. The legislature, however, has been slow to act on several of the economic measures.

GDP: purchasing power parity – $29.8 billion (1996 est.)

GDP – real growth rate: 7.3% (1996 est.)

GDP – per capita: purchasing power parity – $3,670 (1996 est.)

GDP – composition by sector:
agriculture: 13%
industry: 32%
services: 55% (1995)

Inflation rate – consumer price index: 12.5% (1995)

Labor force: 2.3 million to 2.6 million
by occupation : agriculture 50%, services and government 32%, industry 18% (1991 est.)

Unemployment rate: 30% (1996 est.)

revenues : $1.8 billion
expenditures: $2.2 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (1994 est.)

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

Industrial production growth rate: 6.3% (1995 est.)

Electricity – capacity: 2,450,400 kW (1995)

Electricity – production: 6.506 billion kWh (1995)

Electricity – consumption per capita: 613 kWh (1995 est.)

Agriculture – products: sugarcane, coffee, cotton, cocoa, tobacco, rice, beans, potatoes, corn, bananas; cattle, pigs, dairy products, meat, eggs

total value: $3.1 billion (f.o.b., 1996 est.)
commodities: ferronickel, sugar, gold, coffee, cocoa
partners : US 45%, EU 34%, Canada, Japan, Puerto Rico (1995)

total value: $5.3 billion (f.o.b., 1996 est.)
commodities: foodstuffs, petroleum, cotton and fabrics, chemicals and pharmaceuticals
partners: US 44%, EU 16%, Venezuela 11%, Netherlands Antilles, Mexico, Japan (1995)

Debt – external: $3.6 billion (1997)

Economic aid:
recipient: ODA, $21 million (1993)

Currency: 1 Dominican peso (RD$) = 100 centavos

Exchange rates: Dominican pesos (RD$) per US$1 – 14.206 (January 1997), 13.775 (1996), 13.597 (1995), 13.160 (1994), 12.676 (1993), 12.774 (1992)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Telephones: 190,000 (1987 est.)

Telephone system:
domestic: relatively efficient system based on islandwide microwave radio relay network
international : 1 coaxial submarine cable; satellite earth station – 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)

Radio broadcast stations: AM 120, FM 0, shortwave 6

Radios: NA

Television broadcast stations: 18 (1987 est.)

Televisions: 728,000 (1993 est.)


total: 757 km
standard gauge: 375 km 1.435-m gauge (Central Romana Railroad)
narrow gauge: 142 km 0.762-m gauge (Dominica Government Railway); 240 km operated by sugar companies in various gauges (0.558-m, 0.762-m, 1.067-m gauges) (1995)

total : 12,300 km
paved: 6,064 km
unpaved: 6,236 km (1995 est.)

Pipelines: crude oil 96 km; petroleum products 8 km

Ports and harbors: Barahona, La Romana, Puerto Plata, San Pedro de Macoris, Santo Domingo

Merchant marine:
total : 1 cargo ship (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 1,587 GRT/1,165 DWT (1996 est.)

Airports: 31 (1996 est.)

Airports – with paved runways:
total: 26
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 15 (1996 est.)

Airports – with unpaved runways:
total: 5
1,524 to 2,437 m : 1
914 to 1,523 m: 4 (1996 est.)


Military branches: Army, Navy, Air Force, National Police

Military manpower – military age: 18 years of age

Military manpower – availability:
males age 15-49: 2,081,709 (1997 est.)

Military manpower – fit for military service:
males : 1,310,534 (1997 est.)

Military manpower – reaching military age annually:
males: 79,860 (1997 est.)

Military expenditures – dollar figure: $116 million (1994)

Military expenditures – percent of GDP: 1.4% (1994)

Transnational Issues

Disputes – international: none

Illicit drugs: transshipment point for South American drugs destined for the US through Puerto Rico