UK compared with Haïti


Haiti compared to British Isles

Making Comparisons.  Crunching Numbers.
How does Haiti compare to UK?  It might seem silly to make such a comparison as each person’s take on Haiti, UK or for that matter, any place, will be quite different.  What this page seeks to do is to give you facts and figures rather than stories and anecdotes.

UK and Haiti – one small place, and a smaller place still in a big world.
For a start, we forget that though UK is a small place, there are plenty of other places smaller still in the world.  UK may look a small country on the map but it is (244,000 sq km).  But it is nine times the size of Haiti (27,700 sq km).  UK (64 millions) has over six times the population of Haiti (10.1 millions).  But whilst in UK most people live in towns and cities (83%), in Haiti a surprising number have moved into towns too (59%).  UK and Haiti both have a dominant capital city.  In UK migrants are a sensitive issue, increasing at a net rate of 2.5 per 1000 people per year, though the large majority have a legal right to stay.  In Haiti there is a net outflow of people into other countries, e.g. USA, Dominican Republic.  These Haitians are not always welcomed in the places they arrive in.

A different way of birth.
Haiti has so many more youngsters (33% under 15 years old compared to 17% in UK).  This is because Haiti’s birth rate is so much higher (22/1000 people compared to UK’s 11/1000).  Haiti’s high figure is still well less than say Uganda.  While British ladies bear only 1.9 babies on average, their Haitian sisters are having 2.7. (Uganda 5.9!)

A different way of death.
But at the other end of life, UK is well ahead.  UK life expectancy at birth is 80 years, while in Haiti it is only 63 (Uganda 53).  I should be dead if I were an average Haitian.  The key in Haiti is to survive infancy.  Then things look a bit brighter, for infant mortality in Haiti is 48 deaths per 1000 live births, eleven times that if UK (4.4 deaths/1000).  The Haitian murder rate (10.2 per 100,000) is ten times that of UK (1.0, Uganda 10.5).  With HIV/AIDS too there is a world of difference.  Though improvements have been made in recent years, still 3,800 die of it each year (a fraction of the ~33,000 Ugandans), when in UK, with twice as many people, less than 600 die.  In Britain, each case is a personal tragedy.  In Haiti it is a serious issue. In Uganda, it is a national disaster.

A different way of earning.
We certainly earn our money differently, Haitians largely in agriculture and remittances from overseas workers, and Britons largely in the services.  For one, the economy generates bananas, cocoa, mangos, and vetiver oil; for the other, banking, insurance, financial services, tourism, media and cultural services.

Economic Indicator Haiti UK
Labour in Agriculture 38% 1½%
Labour in Industry 11½% 15%
Labour in Services 50½% 83½%
GDP /person (Purchase Power Parity) $1,800 $41,200

There is no doubt about it, Haiti is a poorer country by a very long way.  Gross Domestic Product per person in Haiti is $1800, and for UK it is $41,200.  Interestingly though, UK is a much less unequal nation in terms of income, the top 10% having 31% of national income, whereas in Haiti, the top 10% have 48% (Uganda 37%). A few people there own a lot.

We all like to talk
In UK we like to talk.  There are now as more mobiles than there are people – 1.2 phones per person on average. Where have you put your 0.2?  And for every 100 of us, 90 are internet users.  In Haiti, there are only 12 internet users per 100 people.  But phones – mobile phone usage has far overtaken use of landlines.  There are 68 mobiles per 100 and the number is fast growing.  Just as well, as getting around in Haiti is still not that easy.  It has only 768 km paved roads, compared to UK’s 394,000 km!   In Haiti, it is bumpy roads, walking – or just staying put and phoning instead.

A similar way of faith?
Statistics on religious faith can be misleading.

Religion Haiti UK
Roman Catholic 55% 8%
Christian other 28% 34%
Muslim In other 5%
Voodoo only 2% 0%
Other 5% 3%
None or unspecified 10% 50%

UK and Haiti are quite different.   In UK, most people who call themselves Christians do not go.  Regular church attendance is ~10%.  The numbers of people who are explicitly declaring themselves as having no religion is rapidly rising.  In Haiti almost everyone signs up for one religion or another.  There are a lot of committed Christians, but many are not.  There is a social Christianity that is acceptable in a way that being an atheist is not. And with Voodoo, a lot of people take it seriously as well as being Catholics.

SO: Vive la difference.