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.



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


total: 48,670 sq km
land: 48,320 sq km
water: 350 sq km

Area - comparative

slightly more than twice the size of New Hampshire

Land boundaries

total: 376 km
border countries (1): Haiti 376 km


1,288 km

Maritime claims

measured from claimed archipelagic straight baselines
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin


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


rugged highlands and mountains interspersed with fertile valleys


mean elevation: 424 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Lago Enriquillo -46 m
highest point: Pico Duarte 3,175 m

Natural resources

nickel, bauxite, gold, silver, arable land

Land use

agricultural land: 51.5%
arable land 16.6%; permanent crops 10.1%; permanent pasture 24.8%
forest: 40.8%
other: 7.7% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

3,070 sq km (2012)

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)

People and Society

Population growth rate

1.21% (2016 est.)


10,606,865 (July 2016 est.)


noun: Dominican(s)
adjective: Dominican

Ethnic groups

mixed 73%, white 16%, black 11%


Spanish (official)


Roman Catholic 95%, other 5%

Age structure

0-14 years: 27.06% (male 1,460,389/female 1,410,226)
15-24 years: 18.3% (male 989,020/female 952,375)
25-54 years: 39.54% (male 2,146,082/female 2,047,860)
55-64 years: 7.67% (male 409,166/female 403,977)
65 years and over: 7.43% (male 363,791/female 423,979) (2016 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 57.8%
youth dependency ratio: 47.3%
elderly dependency ratio: 10.5%
potential support ratio: 9.5% (2015 est.)

Median age

total: 27.8 years
male: 27.6 years
female: 28 years (2016 est.)

Birth rate

18.6 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)

Death rate

4.6 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)

Net migration rate

-1.9 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)

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)


urban population: 79% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 2.6% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

SANTO DOMINGO (capital) 2.945 million (2015)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.04 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.86 male(s)/female
total population: 1.03 male(s)/female (2016 est.)

Maternal mortality rate

92 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 18.1 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 20 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 16.2 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 78.1 years
male: 75.9 years
female: 80.5 years (2016 est.)

Total fertility rate

2.31 children born/woman (2016 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

73% (2009/10)

Health expenditures

4.4% of GDP (2014)

Physicians density

1.49 physicians/1,000 population (2011)

Hospital bed density

1.7 beds/1,000 population (2011)

Drinking water source

urban: 85.4% of population
rural: 81.9% of population
total: 84.7% of population
urban: 14.6% of population
rural: 18.1% of population
total: 15.3% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation facility access

urban: 86.2% of population
rural: 75.7% of population
total: 84% of population
urban: 13.8% of population
rural: 24.3% of population
total: 16% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

1.03% (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

67,900 (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

3,100 (2015 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne disease: dengue fever
note: active local transmission of Zika virus by Aedes species mosquitoes has been identified in this country (as of August 2016); it poses an important risk (a large number of cases possible) among US citizens if bitten by an infective mosquito; other less common ways to get Zika are through sex, via blood transfusion, or during pregnancy, in which the pregnant woman passes Zika virus to her fetus (2016)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

23% (2014)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

4% (2013)

Education expenditures

2.1% of GDP (2007)


definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 91.8%
male: 91.2%
female: 92.3% (2015 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 13 years
male: 13 years
female: 14 years (2014)

Mother's mean age at first birth

note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2013 est.)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 31.4%
male: 22.2%
female: 46.7% (2013 est.)


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


name: Santo Domingo
geographic coordinates: 18 28 N, 69 54 W
time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions

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


27 February 1844 (from Haiti)

National holiday

Independence Day, 27 February (1844)


many previous (38 total); latest proclaimed 26 January 2010; note - the Dominican Republic Government has a practice of promulgating a "new" constitution whenever an amendment is ratified (2016)

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 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


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 consecutive terms); election last held on 15 May 2016 (next to be held in 2020)
election results: Danilo MEDINA Sanchez reelected president; 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 the Senate or Senado (32 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote to serve 4-year terms) and the 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 (next to be held in May 2020); House of Representatives - last held on 15 May 2016 (next to be held in May 2020)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PLD 26, 2PRM, 1 BIS, 1 PLRD, 1 PRD, PRSC 1; House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PLD 106, PRM 42, PRSC 18, PRD 16, PLRD 3, other 5

National symbol(s)

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

Political pressure groups and leaders

Citizen Participation Group (Participacion Ciudadania)
Collective of Popular Organizations or COP
Foundation for Institution-Building and Justice or FINJUS

Judicial branch

highest court(s): 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 PLRD
Modern Revolutionary Party or PRM [Andres BAUTISTA Garcia]
National Progressive Front [Vinicio CASTILLO, Pelegrin CASTILLO]
Social Christian Reformist Party or PRSC [Carlos MORALES Troncoso]

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 (since 23 February 2015)
chancery: 1715 22nd Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 332-6280
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 James Walter BREWSTER, Jr. (since 9 December 2013)
mailing address: Unit 5500, APO AA 34041-5500
telephone: [1] (809) 567-7775
FAX: [1] (809) 686-7437
embassy: Av. Republica de Colombia

Flag description

a centered white cross that extends to the edges divides the flag into four rectangles - the top ones are blue (hoist side) and red, and the bottom ones are red (hoist side) and 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 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


Industrial production growth rate

7% (2016 est.)

Economy - overview

The Dominican Republic has long been viewed primarily as an exporter of sugar, coffee, and tobacco, but in recent years the service sector has overtaken agriculture as the economy's largest employer, due to growth in construction, tourism, and free trade

The economy is highly dependent upon the US, the destination for approximately half of exports. 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 Rep

The Dominican Republic's 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 g

GDP (purchasing power parity)

$160.9 billion (2016 est.)
$151.9 billion (2015 est.)
$142 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$71.46 billion (2015 est.)

GDP - real growth rate

5.9% (2016 est.)
7% (2015 est.)
7.3% (2014 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP)

$15,900 (2016 est.)
$15,200 (2015 est.)
$14,400 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 67.4%
government consumption: 10.7%
investment in fixed capital: 24.8%
investment in inventories: -0.1%
exports of goods and services: 24%
imports of goods and services: -26.8% (2016 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 5.1%
industry: 32.8%
services: 62.2% (2016 est.)

Agriculture - products

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


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

Labor force

5.113 million (2016 est.)

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 14.4%
industry: 20.8%
services: 64.7% (2014 est.)

Unemployment rate

13.8% (2016 est.)
14% (2015 est.)

Population below poverty line

41.1% (2013 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 1.9%
highest 10%: 37.4% (2013 est.)

Distribution of family income - Gini index

47.1 (2013 est.)
45.7 (2012 est.)


revenues: $11.17 billion
expenditures: $13 billion (2016 est.)

Taxes and other revenues

15.6% of GDP (2016 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-2.6% of GDP (2016 est.)

Public debt

44% of GDP (2016 est.)
44.6% of GDP (2015 est.)

Fiscal year

calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

1.9% (2016 est.)
0.8% (2015 est.)

Commercial bank prime lending rate

15.2% (31 December 2016 est.)
14.88% (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of narrow money

$6.536 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$5.986 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of broad money

$20.13 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$18.43 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of domestic credit

$33.08 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$30.9 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares


Current account balance

-$1.709 billion (2016 est.)
-$1.307 billion (2015 est.)


$9.822 billion (2016 est.)
$9.523 billion (2015 est.)

Exports - commodities

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

Exports - partners

US 42.5%, Haiti 16.5%, Canada 8.1%, India 4.8% (2015)


$16.67 billion (2016 est.)
$16.86 billion (2015 est.)

Imports - commodities

petroleum, foodstuffs, cotton and fabrics, chemicals and pharmaceuticals

Imports - partners

US 42%, China 9.2%, Venezuela 5.6%, Trinidad and Tobago 4.5%, Mexico 4.4% (2015)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$5.566 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$5.266 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Debt - external

$26.05 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$25.71 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home

$33.39 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$31.05 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad

$372 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$272 million (31 December 2015 est.)

Exchange rates

Dominican pesos (DOP) per US dollar -
46.2 (2016 est.)
45.052 (2015 est.)
45.052 (2014 est.)
43.556 (2013 est.)
39.34 (2012 est.)


Electricity - access

population without electricity: 300,000
electrification - total population: 98%
electrification - urban areas: 99%
electrification - rural areas: 97% (2013)

Electricity - production

14 billion kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - consumption

15.14 billion kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - exports

0 kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - imports

0 kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity

3.8 million kW (2014 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels

85.2% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels

0% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants

13.2% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources

1.6% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)

Crude oil - production

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Crude oil - exports

0 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Crude oil - imports

27,660 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves

0 bbl (1 January 2016 es)

Refined petroleum products - production

25,390 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption

116,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports

0 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports

54,920 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Natural gas - production

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - consumption

1.069 billion cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - exports

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - imports

1.069 billion cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves

0 cu m (1 January 2014 es)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy

22 million Mt (2013 est.)


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 1,304,968
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 12 (July 2015 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular

total: 8.797 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 84 (July 2015 est.)

Telephone system

general assessment: relatively efficient system based on island-wide microwave radio relay network
domestic: fixed-line teledensity is about 10 per 100 persons; multiple providers of mobile-cellular service with a subscribership of nearly 85 per 100 persons
international: country code - 1-809; 1-829; 1-849; landing point for the Americas Region Caribbean Ring System (ARCOS-1), Antillas 1, AMX-1, and the Fibralink submarine cables that provide links to South and Central America, parts of the Caribbean, and US; satellite ear (2015)

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 wi (2015)

Internet country code


Internet users

total: 5.442 million
percent of population: 51.9% (July 2015 est.)


National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 1
inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 6
annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 14,463
annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 0 mt-km (2015)

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

HI (2016)


36 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 16
over 3,047 m: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 4
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 4
under 914 m: 1 (2013)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 20
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 18 (2013)


1 (2013)


gas 27 km; oil 103 km (2013)


total: 496 km
standard gauge: 354 km 1.435-m gauge
narrow gauge: 142 km 0.762-m gauge (2014)


total: 19,705 km
paved: 9,872 km
unpaved: 9,833 km (2002)

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 branches

Army (Ejercito Nacional, EN), Navy (Marina de Guerra, MdG; includes naval infantry), Dominican Air Force (Fuerza Aerea Dominicana, FAD) (2013)

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)

Military expenditures

0.61% of GDP (2012)
0.63% of GDP (2011)
0.61% of GDP (2010)

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

stateless persons: 133,770 (2015); 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 1940s as a cheap source of labor for sugar plantations; a May 2014 law passed by the Dominican Congress will regularize 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
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 (2008)