The Dominican Republic


The Dominican Republic is located on the island of Hispaniola in the Caribbean Sea. Sharing the island with Haiti, The Dominican Republic takes up two-thirds of the island and is twice the size of the state of New Jersey. The land is made up of mountains and valleys, with major mountain ranges running through the northern and central areas of the country. The climate is tropical with an annual average temperature of 77 °F. Being located in the Caribbean, The DR is prone to tropical cyclones and hurricanes.


The Dominican Republic has a population of just under 11 million people. About 70% of their people describe themselves as ethnically mixed, primarily mestizo. Spanish is the official language of the country, and 98% of Dominicans can speak the language. The country was originally a Spanish colony, and the Christian faith was brought alongside colonization. Today, 95% of people are followers of one of the branches of Christianity.


The Dominican Republic was traditionally just an exporter of products such as sugar and coffee, but it has been growing as a tourism destination, and their economy has seen an increase in productivity because of this. The Gross Domestic Product per capita was $17,000 in 2017 and this has been growing at a rate that ranks 45th best in the world. Nonetheless, there is still quite a bit of poverty in the Dominican Republic, with 30.5% of its citizens living below the poverty line. The United States is the largest trade partner of the DR, taking on almost half of their exports. The Dominican Republic also has a problem with forced labour, as an estimated 100,000 Dominicans are currently working in conditions of modern slavery.


The Dominican Republic has free education through the completion of high school. Children are required to attend school through the eighth grade, but they are free to withdraw after completing it. Their literacy rate is 91.8%, which sits above the worldwide average of 86.1% and their rapid economic growth can be partially accredited to this high rate of literacy.


The healthcare system in the Dominican Republic has undergone massive reforms in the past twenty years and it now ranks as one of the top healthcare systems in the Caribbean. With these reforms, the government has worked to make out of pocket costs lower, making treatments more affordable for people of all socioeconomic classes. There are two very high quality hospitals in Santo Domingo and Santiago, but the public hospitals in other cities are rated as average.


There are estimated to be 500 people with Hemophilia in the Dominican Republic. However, only half of them have been identified and registered. Although they have a good healthcare system, the government does not purchase any factor to treat its Hemophiliacs and the medication is often too expensive for poorer Dominicans. If they cannot get factor, patients will treat bleeds with rest and ice, but this is only enough to contain a bleed, not enough to stop it and allow it to heal.