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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: 10,276,600
  • Life Expectancy: 73 years
  • Access to Safe Water: 82%
  • School Enrollment: 92%
  • Land Mass: 18,791 sq. mi.
  • Literacy Rate: 90%
  • Under Age 5 Mortality Rate: 27/1000
  • Average Annual Income (GNI): 5,470

Facts about Dominican Republic

Economic Development

Many Dominicans struggle with poverty. Around 41 percent of the population lives below the poverty line.

Child Protection

The Dominican Republic ranks sixth among countries with the highest rates of femicide, or murder of women. Most of these crimes are never reported, according to official figures, and the group at greatest risk are women ages 15-24.


Nearly 75 percent of the population lives in an urban context. Challenges here include lack of access to basic services like clean water, shelter, medical care, education, sanitation, public safety, and electricity.

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 2014.

  • We partnered with local churches to offer spiritual nurture activities, including Sunday schools, youth groups, and children's retreats on topics such as faith and peace-building.

  • Youth participated in leadership programs aimed at helping young people develop critical thinking skills and equipping them to become agents of change in their communities.

  • Boys and girls were involved in our children's clubs and youth groups, where they learned about child rights and had opportunities to speak up on issues that affect their lives, such as violence in their homes and communities.

  • Families were better able to provide for their children as a result of business training that helped them increase production and sales, as well as small loans provided through our local microfinance affiliate.

  • Children obtained birth certificates with our assistance, making it easier for them to access basic services such as healthcare and education, and enabling them to enjoy their rights as citizens.

  • We helped children with special needs access education services or life-skills courses, and worked with teachers and parents to help ensure that children with disabilities have the support and accommodations they need to thrive.

  • Teachers were trained in innovative strategies for teaching reading, writing, and mathematics in an effort to strengthen children's academic skills and help children avoid repeating grades. We also set up educational spaces in the community where children could get help with their studies.

  • We helped establish and strengthen Parent Teacher Associations, classroom committees, and school boards to monitor and manage schools and to advocate for improved quality of education.

  • Young adults received vocational and technical training in careers such as hairstyling, accounting, and plumbing, helping to expand their employment opportunities so they can support themselves and their families.

  • We worked with local churches to provide care and emotional support for people affected by HIV or AIDS and to reduce discrimination against those living with the virus.

  • Orphans and vulnerable children with serious medical conditions or special needs were able to access healthcare services with our support.

  • Through health education campaigns, youth and their families learned about the prevention of HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis, and sexually transmitted diseases.

  • To reduce the prevalence of malnutrition and childhood illnesses, mothers and caregivers were trained in maternal and child health, nutrition, healthy hygiene practices, and the importance of immunization.

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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 22,400 girls and boys. In addition to sponsorship, World Vision operates other programs that benefit communities in the Dominican Republic. Highlights include:

    • Providing vaccinations for children in more than 260 communities.
    • Establishing 13 early learning centers that have benefited 1,557 children ages 0-5 years from more than 40 vulnerable communities.
    • Helping improve living conditions for families and their children.
    • Funding microfinance programs.

    World Vision History in Dominican Republic

    World Vision started projects in the Dominican Republic in 1989 to help reduce 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 often 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

    • Please pray for children and families affected by recent changes in immigration law who face an uncertain future.
    • Pray also for children who have experienced violence or abuse. May they be protected and cared for by their families and communities.