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Haiti: the Population and the People


Population of Haiti, and Growth Rate Reduction With Rising Economy:

The Federal Survey that was extensively quoted in the last post also stated that the population of Haiti was about  8.3 million and that the growth rate was about 2.3 percent.  Now the population is estimated at 10.6 million, despite a huge level of emigration to other countries such as the United States and a huge death rate from the earthquake of 2010. (See )

The reason for the increase in population despite local deprivation is that each woman has an average of 4.9 children in her lifetime.  There is a high death rate but the population is largely young and relatively dynamic, with a median age of 18.

There is clearly a tendency for women in poor countries to have more children.  There is also a clear trend towards fewer children in countries that have higher economic status than before.  Improved economic status over time frequently results in a lowered birth rate; this has been seen in some counties in India.  What happens here is that the overpopulation problem tends to solve itself when the economic status of the society involved is increased significantly.  This phenomenon has been demonstrated repeatedly in other situations.  Economic improvement alone will reduce the number of children that each woman has (whether it is due to better education or more access to birth control and abortion is immaterial.)  In a way, this is automatic women’s rights, because there is less stress on women when each has an average of only two children.  There is more time between and after having children to engage in political activity in print and to demonstrate in favor of one’s cause.

Therefore, raising the economic status of a group of people will reduce population growth and show the way to solve the problem of overpopulation.  In countries like the United States, the average birth rate is 1.8 children per mother, less than the replacement rate; population growth occurs only by immigration.  This is the simplest way to solve Haiti’s problems, in particular their problem of overpopulation, where without excess children there would be no need to emigrate to the United States, which is quite the same as their problem of economic salvation.

To return to Haiti’s current situation:

We suggest that some of Haiti’s problems are related to their youthful population and rate of dynamic change secondary to that youth.  As noted previously, the country’s median age is 18.  The life expectancy at birth is an average of 53 years.  The resulting population is unusually young and unstable.

There is, in addition, a group of unusually healthy and intelligent men and women who have been raised in privilege; in myth there are 400 citizens at the top who make all the decisions.  This myth reflects the unusual degree of mythology involved in what appears to be decision making apparatus.  We need only mention the use of voodoo in the administrations of Papa Doc and Baby Doc.

Another important transformation has to be discussed, which is that of the Aristide party.  At first it was a civilly elected, democratic party which was saved by American intervention but later on, Aristide’s loyalty seemed to shift towards Russia and the administration of Vladimir Putin, now an enemy of the United States in Latin America for reasons that may be obscure to the average American.

Relief Plans, Why They Don’t Work:

The decisions of virtually all relief plans have resulted in large amounts of relief money going to the central administrative areas with relatively less distributed to the rural areas.  There is clearly an enormous amount of money wasted on the administrative apparatus that goes with distribution of aid in the normal way– a sort of injection at the center that takes a long time to reach the periphery, with a great deal of material lost along the way.  That’s how aid programs have always worked,  because of the belief that other methods will result in lost material due to waste and fraud.

Pie in the Sky Solutions:

In a reversal of this pattern, there may be a way to route the relief to peripheral areas more quickly if one determines the pattern of very small administrative areas and uses single flights to distribute complete and comprehensive packages with ridiculously simple instructions to individual administrative centers.

There is also the relation to amount of aid given to the country to which the United States gives the most money in the world: Israel, at $3 billion a year.  What if, instead of $250 million, Haiti was to get $3 billion a year in aid?  How much would be wasted on graft and embezzlement?  How much would go to the starving “farmer” with a tenuous relationship to a piece of land to lives in Port-au-Prince looking for a job, any job?  With a wife and five children, he has a family, but one in eight of his family are living abroad.  Likely with so much money , some of it would get to almost all of the people but a lot would go to those who control the top of the food chain.

Long Term Problems and Solutions:

There are ways to reduce the graft that inevitably reaches into aid programs but they may be unattractive, even violent to the average viewer. At present, I do not have all the answers to this problem, but I hope to present some in future posts.

In addition, I would like to go over Haiti’s history since its recognition as a country and discuss its significance, although this is a much more fraught discussion.



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