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Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic shares a border with Haiti and stretches over the eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola. Santo Domingo, the capital and the seventh largest city in North America, is the oldest continuously inhabited European settlement in the Western Hemisphere.

  • Population: 9,927,000
  • Life Expectancy: 73 years
  • Access to Safe Water: 86%
  • School Enrollment: 82%
  • Land Mass: 18,791 sq. mi.
  • Literacy Rate: 88%
  • Under Age 5 Mortality Rate: 27/1000
  • Average Annual Income (GNI): 4,860

Facts about Dominican Republic

Economic Development

Many Dominicans struggle with poverty, poor living conditions, and extremely unequal income distribution.

Economic Development

About 13 percent of Dominicans are unemployed, and more than 40 percent live below the poverty line.


HIV and AIDS is a growing concern for the Dominican Republic. More than 52,000 Dominicans live with this virus, more than 5,000 of whom are children under the age of 5.

Dominican Republic flag


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Progress in Dominican Republic

Thanks to the generous support of our sponsors. World Vision was able to work alongside communities to accomplish the following in 2012.

  • Ensured that all young children had completed their immunizations in order to reduce childhood diseases.

  • Involved children in spiritual programs, teaching them about God's love.

  • Created advocacy networks on behalf of child rights, and taught children how to report cases of abuse, neglect, or exploitation.

  • Organized community leaders and churches to report and follow-up on cases of child rights violations.

  • Helped families diversify their food sources and increase their income by installing more farm plots and providing new livestock for them to sell.

  • Encouraged families to develop business plans that could help them create and nurture small enterprises, which would increase their family's income.

  • Trained educators on innovative approaches for teaching English, math, and reading, enhancing the learning environments of children.

  • Children under age five now enjoy better health, thanks in part to nutrition training for mothers and community health workers.

  • Informed youth about reproductive health in order to reduce the transmission of HIV and AIDS.

  • Children and youth received access to computer centers in order to improve their computer skills.

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    World Vision in Dominican Republic Today

    World Vision is committed to partnering with the people of the Dominican Republic to improve their lives today and to help enact sustainable solutions for the future of their children, families, and communities. World Vision’s child sponsorship program plays a vital role in this partnership, with donors from the United States sponsoring more than 26,000 girls and boys. In addition to sponsorship, World Vision operates other programs that benefit communities in the Dominican Republic. Highlights include:

    • Improving agriculture techniques and irrigation systems for farmers.
    • Helping children and families struggling with poverty gain access to healthcare.
    • Building water systems that increase access to safe water for communities.
    • Responding to the Cholera outbreak in the Bateyes, in coordination with the ministry of health.

    World Vision History in Dominican Republic

    World Vision started projects in the Dominican Republic in 1989 to assist with extreme poverty, but began supporting the country years earlier with well drilling. Since then, some of World Vision’s major accomplishments have included:

    • Providing disaster relief supplies, such as food and medicine, to people affected by hurricanes since the late 1970s and into the 21st century.
    • Offering agriculture and irrigation training to farmers since the beginning of the 21st century.
    • Responding to the needs of those affected by the 2010 Haiti earthquake
    • Educating adolescents and youth about the prevention of AIDS and HIV, using communications mediums like radio programs to reach impacted communities.

    Geography & People

    Geography and people

    The Dominican Republic shares a border with Haiti and stretches over the eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola. Santo Domingo, the capital and the seventh largest city in North America, is the oldest continuously inhabited European settlement in the Western Hemisphere.

    This fertile country has a semitropical climate. However, the Dominican Republic is in the middle of the hurricane belt and residents experience severe storms and flooding from June to October. Natural resources include nickel, bauxite, gold, and silver.

    Most Dominicans are a mix of European and African descent. Spanish is the official language, with some people using a Creole dialect.

    Dominicans are cheerful, hardworking, and community oriented, often forming strong bonds with their families and neighbors. Dominican families are generally large and may include cousins or foster children. Girls in impoverished communities often marry as teenagers.


    After decades under French control, the Dominican Republic fell under Haiti’s rule in 1801. This period strained the relationship between the two countries. In 1844, the Dominican Republic declared independence but did not form a constitutional government until the mid-1920s.

    The presidency lasted for a few years until Rafael Leonidas Trujillo established a 30-year dictatorship. When civil war started after the end of Trujillo’s rule, the United States occupied the Dominican Republic until the country regained stability.

    An amendment to the constitution in 2004 allowed presidents to remain in office for more than one term. Democratic elections still continue today.

    Prayer Requests for Dominican Republic

    • World Vision’s work improving nutrition and immunization rates in children under age five.
    • Teachers in impoverished schools throughout the Dominican Republic, who are helping children master English, math, reading, and computer skills.
    • People living in poverty to have access to important services like healthcare and education.
    • The protection and care of vulnerable children.