Haiti’s first census in 24 years uncovers pressing problems, UN agency says

10 May 2006 –

Haiti’s first census in 24 years shows that half of the Caribbean country’s population is younger than 20, unemployment is a staggering 33 per cent and less than half of the school-age children are attending primary school, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), which helped finance the effort, said today.

“The census offers a map of where the direst needs are in Haiti,” UNFPA’s representative in the country, Hernando Clavijo, said. “The population structure in itself, with an overwhelming majority of young people, means that more resources should be put into education and reproductive health services.”

Related studies of the data collected show that Haiti’s maternal mortality ratio is the highest in the Western Hemisphere, with 523 deaths per 100,000 live births, UNFPA said.

Last year Haiti placed 153rd out of the 177 countries studied for the UN Development Programme’s (UNDP) Human Development Report 2005 on maternal mortality. Regionally this ranking compared with Barbados at number 30 and Cuba at number 52.

Haiti’s HIV/AIDS prevalence rate of between 4 and 5 per cent is also the highest in the Western Hemisphere, UNFPA said.

Haiti’s Ministry of Finance and the Statistics and Informatics Institute conducted the $8 million census, the fourth in the country’s history. It employed 25,000 people and was funded by the Government of Haiti, UNFPA, the Inter-American Development Bank, the European Union (EU), the Government of Japan and the Government of the Walloon Region of Belgium.

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