Photos of Dominican Republic

Introduction

Background

The Taino - indigenous inhabitants of Hispaniola prior to the arrival of the Europeans - divided the island into five chiefdoms and territories. Christopher COLUMBUS explored and claimed the island on his first voyage in 1492; it 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 to 1961. Juan BOSCH was elected president in 1962 but was deposed in a military coup in 1963. In 1965, the US led an intervention in the midst of a civil war sparked by an uprising to restore BOSCH. In 1966, Joaquin BALAGUER defeated BOSCH in the presidential election. 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 Leonel FERNANDEZ Reyna (first term 1996-2000) won election to a new term in 2004 following a constitutional amendment allowing presidents to serve more than one term, and was later reelected to a second consecutive term. In 2012, Danilo MEDINA Sanchez became president; he was reelected in 2016.

Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.

Geography

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

Area

total: 48,670 sq km

land: 48,320 sq km

water: 350 sq km

country comparison to the world: 131

Area - comparative

slightly more than twice the size of New Jersey

Land boundaries

total: 376 km

border countries (1): Haiti 376 km

Coastline

1,288 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

contiguous zone: 24 nm

continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin

measured from claimed archipelagic straight baselines

Climate

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

Terrain

rugged highlands and mountains interspersed with fertile valleys

Elevation

mean elevation: 424 m

lowest point: Lago Enriquillo -46 m

highest point: Pico Duarte 3,098 m

Natural resources

nickel, bauxite, gold, silver, arable land

Land use

agricultural land: 51.5% (2011 est.)

arable land: 16.6% (2011 est.)

permanent crops: 10.1% (2011 est.)

permanent pasture: 24.8% (2011 est.)

forest: 40.8% (2011 est.)

other: 7.7% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

3,070 sq km (2012)

Population distribution

coastal development is significant, especially in the southern coastal plains and the Cibao Valley, where population density is highest; smaller population clusters exist in the interior mountains (Cordillera Central)

Natural hazards

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

Environment - current issues

water shortages; soil eroding into the sea damages coral reefs; deforestation

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

Geography - note

shares island of Hispaniola with Haiti (eastern two-thirds makes up the Dominican Republic, western one-third is Haiti); the second largest country in the Antilles (after Cuba); geographically diverse with the Caribbean's tallest mountain, Pico Duarte, and lowest elevation and largest lake, Lago Enriquillo

People and Society

Nationality

noun: Dominican(s)

adjective: Dominican

Ethnic groups

mixed 70.4% (Mestizo/Indio 58%, Mulatto 12.4%), Black 15.8%, White 13.5%, other 0.3% (2014 est.)

note: respondents self-identified their race; the term "indio" in the Dominican Republic is not associated with people of indigenous ancestry but people of mixed ancestry or skin color between light and dark

Languages

Spanish (official)

Religions

Roman Catholic 47.8%, Protestant 21.3%, other 2.2%, none 28%, don't know/no response .7% (2017 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 26.85% (male 1,433,166/female 1,385,987)

15-24 years: 18.15% (male 968,391/female 937,227)

25-54 years: 40.54% (male 2,168,122/female 2,088,926)

55-64 years: 8.17% (male 429,042/female 428,508)

65 years and over: 6.29% (male 310,262/female 350,076) (2020 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 53.8

youth dependency ratio: 42.2

elderly dependency ratio: 11.6

potential support ratio: 8.6 (2020 est.)

Median age

total: 27.9 years

male: 27.8 years

female: 28.1 years (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 144

Birth rate

18.5 births/1,000 population (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 82

Death rate

6.3 deaths/1,000 population (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 148

Net migration rate

-2.7 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 171

Population distribution

coastal development is significant, especially in the southern coastal plains and the Cibao Valley, where population density is highest; smaller population clusters exist in the interior mountains (Cordillera Central)

Urbanization

urban population: 82.5% of total population (2020)

rate of urbanization: 2.06% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)

Major urban areas - population

3.318 million SANTO DOMINGO (capital) (2020)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.04 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.03 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.03 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 1 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.89 male(s)/female

total population: 1.02 male(s)/female (2020 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

21.3 years (2013 est.)

note: median age at first birth among women 25-29

Maternal mortality rate

95 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 71

Infant mortality rate

total: 20.9 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 23.1 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 18.7 deaths/1,000 live births (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 72

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 72 years

male: 70.3 years

female: 73.8 years (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 155

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 98.3% of population

rural: 92% of population

total: 96.7% of population

unimproved: urban: 1.7% of population

rural: 8% of population

total: 3.3% of population (2017 est.)

Physicians density

1.56 physicians/1,000 population (2017)

Hospital bed density

1.6 beds/1,000 population (2017)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 96.3% of population

rural: 89.5% of population

total: 95% of population

unimproved: urban: 13.8% of population

rural: 3.7% of population

total: 5% of population (2017 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: high (2020)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever

vectorborne diseases: dengue fever

Literacy

definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 93.8%

male: 93.8%

female: 93.8% (2016)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 14 years

male: 14 years

female: 15 years (2017)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 13.5%

male: 9.9%

female: 19.7% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 102

Government

Country name

conventional long form: Dominican Republic

conventional short form: The Dominican

local long form: Republica Dominicana

local short form: La Dominicana

etymology: the country name derives from the capital city of Santo Domingo (Saint Dominic)

Government type

presidential republic

Capital

name: Santo Domingo

geographic coordinates: 18 28 N, 69 54 W

time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

etymology: named after Saint Dominic de Guzman (1170-1221), founder of the Dominican Order

Administrative divisions

10 regions (regiones, singular - region); Cibao Nordeste, Cibao Noroeste, Cibao Norte, Cibao Sur, El Valle, Enriquillo, Higuamo, Ozama, Valdesia, Yuma

Independence

27 February 1844 (from Haiti)

National holiday

Independence Day, 27 February (1844)

Constitution

history: many previous (38 total); latest proclaimed 13 June 2015

amendments: proposed by a special session of the National Congress called the National Revisory Assembly; passage requires at least two-thirds majority approval by at least one half of those present in both houses of the Assembly; passage of amendments to constitutional articles, such as fundamental rights and guarantees, territorial composition, nationality, or the procedures for constitutional reform, also requires approval in a referendum; amended many times, last in 2017

Legal system

civil law system based on the French civil code; Criminal Procedures Code modified in 2004 to include important elements of an accusatory system

International law organization participation

accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction; accepts ICCt jurisdiction

Citizenship

citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of the Dominican Republic

dual citizenship recognized: yes

residency requirement for naturalization: 2 years

Suffrage

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

Executive branch

chief of state: President Danilo MEDINA Sanchez (since 16 August 2012); Vice President Margarita CEDENO DE FERNANDEZ (since 16 August 2012); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government

head of government: President Danilo MEDINA Sanchez (since 16 August 2012); Vice President Margarita CEDENO DE FERNANDEZ (since 16 August 2012)

cabinet: Cabinet nominated by the president

elections/appointments: president and vice president directly elected on the same ballot by absolute vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 4-year term (eligible for a maximum of two consecutive terms); election last held on 15 May 2016 (rescheduled from 17 May to 5 July 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic)

election results: Danilo MEDINA Sanchez reelected president in first round; percent of vote - Danilo MEDINA Sanchez (PLD) 61.7%, Luis Rodolfo ABINADER Corona (PRM) 35%, other 3.3%; Margarita CEDENO DE FERNANDEZ (PLD) reelected vice president

Legislative branch

description: bicameral National Congress or Congreso Nacional consists of:
Senate or Senado (32 seats; note - electoral system changes by the Central Election Commission are being challenged by the ruling party and opposition)
House of Representatives or Camara de Diputados (190 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote; members serve 4-year terms)

elections:
Senate - last held on 15 May 2016 (rescheduled from 17 May to 5 July 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic)
House of Representatives - last held on 15 May 2016 (rescheduled from 17 May to 5 July 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic)

election results:
Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PLD 26, PRM 2, BIS 1, PLRD 1, PRD 1, PRSC 1; composition as of 2018 - men 29, women 3, percent of women 9.4%
House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PLD 106, PRM 42, PRSC 18, PRD 16, PLRD 3, other 5; composition as of 2018 - men 139, women 51, percent of women 26.8%; note - total National Congress percent of women 24.3%

Judicial branch

highest courts: Supreme Court of Justice or Suprema Corte de Justicia (consists of a minimum of 16 magistrates); Constitutional Court or Tribunal Constitucional (consists of 13 judges); note - the Constitutional Court was established in 2010 by constitutional amendment

judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court and Constitutional Court judges appointed by the National Council of the Judiciary comprised of the president, the leaders of both chambers of congress, the president of the Supreme Court, and a non-governing party congressional representative; Supreme Court judges appointed for 7-year terms; Constitutional Court judges appointed for 9-year terms

subordinate courts: courts of appeal; courts of first instance; justices of the peace; special courts for juvenile, labor, and land cases; Contentious Administrative Court for cases filed against the government

Political parties and leaders

Dominican Liberation Party or PLD [Leonel FERNANDEZ Reyna]
Dominican Revolutionary Party or PRD [Miguel VARGAS Maldonado]
Institutional Social Democratic Bloc or BIS
Liberal Reformist Party or PRL (formerly the Liberal Party of the Dominican Republic or PLRD)
Modern Revolutionary Party or PRM [Jose Ignacio PALIZA]
National Progressive Front or FNP [Vinicio CASTILLO, Pelegrin CASTILLO]
Social Christian Reformist Party or PRSC [Federico ANTUN]

International organization participation

ACP, AOSIS, BCIE, Caricom (observer), CD, CELAC, FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LAES, LAIA, MIGA, MINUSMA, NAM, OAS, OIF (observer), OPANAL, OPCW, Pacific Alliance (observer), PCA, Petrocaribe, SICA (associated member), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Jose Tomas PEREZ Vazquez (since 23 February 2015)

chancery: 1715 22nd Street NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 332-6280, 660-2263

FAX: [1] (202) 265-8057

consulate(s) general: Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Mayaguez (Puerto Rico), Miami, New Orleans, New York, San Juan (Puerto Rico)

consulate(s): San Francisco

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Robin BERNSTEIN (since 6 September 2018)

telephone: [1] (809) 567-7775

embassy: Av. Republica de Colombia # 57, Santo Domingo

mailing address: Unit 5500, APO AA 34041-5500

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 ultramarine blue (hoist side) and vermilion red, and the bottom ones are vermilion red (hoist side) and ultramarine blue; a small coat of arms featuring a shield supported by a laurel 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; in the shield a bible is opened to a verse that reads "Y la verdad nos hara libre" (And the truth shall set you free); blue stands for liberty, white for salvation, and red for the blood of heroes

National symbol(s)

palmchat (bird); national colors: red, white, blue

National anthem

name: "Himno Nacional" (National Anthem)

lyrics/music: Emilio PRUD'HOMME/Jose REYES

note: adopted 1934; also known as "Quisqueyanos valientes" (Valient Sons of Quisqueye); the anthem never refers to the people as Dominican but rather calls them "Quisqueyanos," a reference to the indigenous name of the island

Economy

Economic overview

The Dominican Republic was for most of its history primarily an exporter of sugar, coffee, and tobacco, but over the last three decades the economy has become more diversified as the service sector has overtaken agriculture as the economy's largest employer, due to growth in construction, tourism, and free trade zones. The mining sector has also played a greater role in the export market since late 2012 with the commencement of the extraction phase of the Pueblo Viejo Gold and Silver mine, one of the largest gold mines in the world.

For the last 20 years, the Dominican Republic has been one of the fastest growing economies in Latin America. The economy rebounded from the global recession in 2010-16, and the fiscal situation is improving. A tax reform package passed in November 2012, a reduction in government spending, and lower energy costs helped to narrow the central government budget deficit from 6.6% of GDP in 2012 to 2.6% in 2016, and public debt is declining. Marked income inequality, high unemployment, and underemployment remain important long-term challenges; the poorest half of the population receives less than one-fifth of GDP, while the richest 10% enjoys nearly 40% of GDP.

The economy is highly dependent upon the US, the destination for approximately half of exports and the source of 40% of imports. Remittances from the US amount to about 7% of GDP, equivalent to about a third of exports and two-thirds of tourism receipts. The Central America-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement came into force in March 2007, boosting investment and manufacturing exports.

GDP real growth rate

4.6% (2017 est.)

6.6% (2016 est.)

7% (2015 est.)

country comparison to the world: 57

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

1.8% (2019 est.)

3.5% (2018 est.)

3.2% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 101

Credit ratings

Fitch rating: BB- (2016)

Moody's rating: Ba3 (2017)

Standard & Poors rating: BB- (2015)

GDP (purchasing power parity) - real

$173 billion (2017 est.)

$165.4 billion (2016 est.)

$155.2 billion (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$88.956 billion (2019 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP)

$17,000 (2017 est.)

$16,400 (2016 est.)

$15,500 (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 82

Gross national saving

21.6% of GDP (2017 est.)

20.8% of GDP (2016 est.)

20.7% of GDP (2015 est.)

country comparison to the world: 84

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 5.6% (2017 est.)

industry: 33% (2017 est.)

services: 61.4% (2017 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 69.3% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 12.2% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 21.9% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: -0.1% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 24.8% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -28.1% (2017 est.)

Agriculture - products

cocoa, tobacco, sugarcane, coffee, cotton, rice, beans, potatoes, corn, bananas; cattle, pigs, dairy products, beef, eggs

Industries

tourism, sugar processing, gold mining, textiles, cement, tobacco, electrical components, medical devices

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 14.4%

industry: 20.8% (2014)

services: 64.7% (2014 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 1.9%

highest 10%: 37.4% (2013 est.)

Budget

revenues: 11.33 billion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 13.62 billion (2017 est.)

Public debt

37.2% of GDP (2017 est.)

34.6% of GDP (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 140

Fiscal year

calendar year

Current account balance

-$165 million (2017 est.)

-$815 million (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 96

Exports

$10.12 billion (2017 est.)

$9.86 billion (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 98

Exports - partners

US 50.3%, Haiti 9.1%, Canada 8.2%, India 5.6% (2017)

Exports - commodities

gold, silver, cocoa, sugar, coffee, tobacco, meats, consumer goods

Imports

$17.7 billion (2017 est.)

$17.4 billion (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 90

Imports - commodities

petroleum, foodstuffs, cotton and fabrics, chemicals and pharmaceuticals

Imports - partners

US 41.4%, China 13.9%, Mexico 4.5%, Brazil 4.3% (2017)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$6.873 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$6.134 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 87

Debt - external

$29.16 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$27.7 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 83

Exchange rates

Dominican pesos (DOP) per US dollar -

47.42 (2017 est.)

46.078 (2016 est.)

46.078 (2015 est.)

45.052 (2014 est.)

43.556 (2013 est.)

Energy

Electricity access

electrification - total population: 100% (2020)

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 1,172,083

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 11.27 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 71

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 8,665,302

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 83.32 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 94

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: there are multiple operators licensed to provide services, most of them are small and localized; the telecom sector across the Caribbean region remains one of the key growth areas; fixed-line teledensity well-below Latin America averages; development of LTE and HSPA (high speed packet access) services, mobile broadband has taken off; income inequalities seen in telephone accesses (2020)

domestic: fixed-line teledensity is about 11 per 100 persons; multiple providers of mobile-cellular service with a subscribership of 83 per 100 persons (2019)

international: country code - 1-809; 1-829; 1-849; landing point for the ARCOS-1, Antillas 1, AMX-1, SAm-1, East-West, Deep Blue Cable and the Fibralink submarine cables that provide links to South and Central America, parts of the Caribbean, and US; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2019)

note: the COVID-19 outbreak is negatively impacting telecommunications production and supply chains globally; consumer spending on telecom devices and services has also slowed due to the pandemic's effect on economies worldwide; overall progress towards improvements in all facets of the telecom industry - mobile, fixed-line, broadband, submarine cable and satellite - has moderated

Broadcast media

combination of state-owned and privately owned broadcast media; 1 state-owned TV network and a number of private TV networks; networks operate repeaters to extend signals throughout country; combination of state-owned and privately owned radio stations with more than 300 radio stations operating (2019)

Internet users

total: 7,705,529

percent of population: 74.82% (July 2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 64

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 794,788

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 8 (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 74

Transportation

National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 1 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 6

Airports - with paved runways

total: 16 (2017)

over 3,047 m: 3 (2017)

2,438 to 3,047 m: 4 (2017)

1,524 to 2,437 m: 4 (2017)

914 to 1,523 m: 4 (2017)

under 914 m: 1 (2017)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 20 (2013)

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2013)

914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2013)

under 914 m: 18 (2013)

Heliports

1 (2013)

Pipelines

27 km gas, 103 km oil (2013)

Railways

total: 496 km (2014)

standard gauge: 354 km 1.435-m gauge (2014)

narrow gauge: 142 km 0.762-m gauge (2014)

country comparison to the world: 114

Roadways

total: 19,705 km (2002)

paved: 9,872 km (2002)

unpaved: 9,833 km (2002)

country comparison to the world: 115

Merchant marine

total: 37

by type: bulk carrier 1, general cargo 2, oil tanker 1, other 33 (2019)

country comparison to the world: 125

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Puerto Haina, Puerto Plata, Santo Domingo

oil terminal(s): Punta Nizao oil terminal

LNG terminal(s) (import): Andres LNG terminal (Boca Chica)

Military and Security

Military and security forces

Armed Forces of the Dominican Republic: Army (Ejercito Nacional, EN), Navy (Marina de Guerra, MdG, includes naval infantry), Dominican Air Force (Fuerza Aerea Dominicana, FAD) (2020)

note: in addition to the military, the Ministry of Armed Forces directs the Airport Security Authority and Civil Aviation, Port Security Authority, and Border Security Corps

Military expenditures

0.7% of GDP (2019)

0.7% of GDP (2018)

0.7% of GDP (2017)

0.7% of GDP (2016)

0.7% of GDP (2015)

country comparison to the world: 135

Military and security service personnel strengths

the Armed Forces of the Dominican Republic have approximately 62,000 active personnel (33,000 Army; 12,000 Navy; 17,000 Air Force) (2019 est.)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the military's inventory consists mostly of older US equipment with limited quantities of Brazilian, European, and Israeli material; since 2010, Brazil and Israel are the leading suppliers of armaments to the Dominican Republic (2019 est.)

Military service age and obligation

17-21 years of age for voluntary military service; recruits must have completed primary school and be Dominican Republic citizens; women may volunteer (2012)

Transnational Issues

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

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 8,119 (Venezuela) (economic and political crisis; includes Venezuelans who have claimed asylum or have received alternative legal stay) (2019)

stateless persons: 133,770 (2016); note - a September 2013 Constitutional Court ruling revoked the citizenship of those born after 1929 to immigrants without proper documentation, even though the constitution at the time automatically granted citizenship to children born in the Dominican Republic and the 2010 constitution provides that constitutional provisions cannot be applied retroactively; the decision overwhelmingly affected people of Haitian descent whose relatives had come to the Dominican Republic since the 1890s as a cheap source of labor for sugar plantations; a May 2014 law passed by the Dominican Congress regularizes the status of those with birth certificates but will require those without them to prove they were born in the Dominican Republic and to apply for naturalization; the government has issued documents to thousands of individuals who may claim citizenship under this law, but no official estimate has been released

note: revised estimate includes only individuals born to parents who were both born abroad; it does not include individuals born in the country to one Dominican-born and one foreign-born parent or subsequent generations of individuals of foreign descent; the estimate, as such, does not include all stateless persons (2015)

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 in particular by Colombian narcotics traffickers; significant amphetamine consumption