Dominican Republic

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República Dominicana
Dominican Republic
Flag of the Dominican Republic
Dominican Republic Coat of Arms
flag coat of arms
Motto : Dios, patria, libertad
(Spanish for God, Fatherland, Freedom )
Official language Spanish
capital city Santo Domingo
State and form of government presidential republic
Head of state , also head of government President Luis Abinader
surface 48,730 km²
population 10.7 million ( 83rd ) (2019; estimate)
Population density 220 inhabitants per km²
Population development + 1.0% (estimate for 2019)
gross domestic product
  • Total (nominal)
  • Total ( PPP )
  • GDP / inh. (nom.)
  • GDP / inh. (KKP)
2019 (estimate)
  • $ 89 billion ( 67th )
  • $ 206 billion ( 67. )
  • 8,596 USD ( 79. )
  • 19,898 USD ( 72. )
Human Development Index 0.756 ( 88th ) (2019)
currency Dominican Peso (DOP)
independence February 27, 1844 (from Haiti )
March 3, 1865 (from Spain )
National anthem Quisqueyanos valientes
National holiday February 27th and August 16th
Time zone UTC − 4
License Plate DOM
ISO 3166 DO , DOM, 214
Internet TLD .do
Phone code +1 (809), +1 (829) and +1 (849) see NANP
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Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic ( Spanish República Dominicana ) is a on the island of Hispaniola of the Greater Antilles between the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean situated island nation . It covers the east and the center of the island, the western third belongs to the state of Haiti .

The nationals are called Dominicans in German. The Dominican Republic should not be confused with the island of Dominica , which belongs to the Lesser Antilles and whose nationals are called Domini c aner.

The name of the state is derived from the capital Santo Domingo , which in turn is named after the founder of the Dominican Order, St. Dominic (Latin Dominicus).


The blue stands for freedom, the red for the blood shed in the struggle for freedom and the white cross for the people's faith.

In the center on the surface of the white cross is the coat of arms of the Dominican Republic.


The Dominican Republic comprises the east and the center of the island of Hispaniola , the western third belongs to the state of Haiti. The border between the two states stretches for 388 kilometers. Geologically, the island of Hispaniola lies over the border between the  Caribbean  and  North American plates . Dominican country neighbors include the  Turks and Caicos IslandsJamaicaCuba  and the  Bahamas .


Waterfalls at Bayaguana

The Dominican Republic is largely mountainous . Only the east and the wide long valley Valle Del Cibao in the north are relatively flat . The four great mountains of the country are:

  • Cordillera Central in the center of the island with the five highest peaks in the Caribbean:
    • the Pico Duarte ( 3098  m ),
    • the Loma La Pelona ( 3097  m ),
    • the Loma Rucilla ( 3039  m ),
    • the Loma de la Viuda ( 2802  m ) and
    • the Yaque ( 2760  m ).
  • Cordillera Septentrional in the north of the island, highest point 1249  m (between Puerto Plata and Santiago )
  • Cordillera Oriental and Costera del Caribe in the east, highest point 815  m (north of Higüey )
  • Sierra de Baoruco in the southwest of the island, highest elevations 2368  m (directly on the border with Haiti ) and 2085  m (west of Barahona )


The north coast has a tropical climate with high humidity; even in winter, temperatures never drop below about 16 ° C. The air temperature there is on average 28 ° C. The water temperatures in the north (Atlantic) are between 24 and 29 ° C and in the south (Caribbean) between 26 and 31 ° C.

It is drier in the south. Many regions in the southwest are in the rain shadow of the Cordillera Central. The temperatures on the coast are comparable to those in the north, but in the north it is a little cooler in winter.

It's cooler in the mountains. In the Cordillera Central, temperatures below freezing point are also possible in winter, e.g. B. in the city of Constanza at 1,200 meters above sea level .

The Dominican Republic is within the reach of tropical cyclones ( hurricanes ).

Santo Domingo
Climate diagram
J F. M. A. M. J J A. S. O N D.
Temperature in ° Cprecipitation in mm
Average monthly temperatures and rainfall for Santo Domingo
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max. Temperature ( ° C ) 29.2 29.2 29.6 30.2 30.4 30.8 31.3 31.5 31.4 31.1 30.6 29.6 O 30.4
Min. Temperature (° C) 19.6 19.7 20.2 21.1 22.2 22.9 22.8 22.7 22.7 22.3 21.4 20.3 O 21.5
Precipitation ( mm ) 63 57 54 72 188 140 145 177 181 187 100 84 Σ 1448
Hours of sunshine ( h / d ) 7.4 8.2 8.3 8.4 7.9 7.8 7.4 7.7 7.4 6.7 7.3 6.6 O 7.6
Rainy days ( d ) 7th 6th 6th 7th 11 10 11 12th 11 13 9 9 Σ 112
Water temperature (° C) 27 26th 26th 27 27 27 28 28 28 28 27 27 O 27.2
Humidity ( % ) 83 81 79 79 83 84 84 85 85 86 84 83 O 83
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec


31.5% of the state area belongs to various nature reserves. The country's CO 2 emissions are around 20.3 million tons annually. Fresh water consumption is broken down as follows: agriculture 89%, households 10%, industry 1%.


The largest cities according to a 2010 census are:

rank Surname resident location
01 Santo Domingo (capital) 2,374,370 South coast
02 Santiago de los Caballeros 507.418 inland, north
03 La Vega 394.205 inland
04th Puerto Plata 321,597 North coast
05 San Pedro de Macorís 290,458 South coast
06th Higüey 251.243 inland, east
07th La Romana 245,433 South coast
08th San Cristobal 232.769 Santo Domingo agglomeration
09 San Francisco de Macorís 188.118 inland, northeast
10 Los Alcarrizos 166.930 Santo Domingo agglomeration

Administrative structure

Since July 30, 2004, the country has been divided into ten regions (regiones). These are divided into 31 provinces (provincias) and a national district ( Distrito Nacional ), which includes the capital Santo Domingo de Guzmán. The population figures in the table below refer to the December 2010 census.

region Area in km² Inhabitants 2010 Density per km² Provinces
Cibao Norte 5,454.9 1,516,957 278 Espaillat , Puerto Plata , Santiago
Cibao Nordeste 4,146.2 624.186 151 Duarte , Hermanas Mirabal , María Trinidad Sánchez , Samaná
Cibao Noroeste 4,877.6 394.186 81 Dajabón , Monte Cristi , Santiago Rodríguez , Valverde
Cibao Sur 4,470.3 710.821 159 La Vega , Monseñor Nouel , Sánchez Ramírez
El Valle 4,759.3 295,362 62 San Juan , Elías Piña
Enriquillo 7,102.58 342,759 48 Barahona , Baoruco , Independencia , Pedernales
Higuamo 5,175.3 561,431 108 Hato Mayor , Monte Plata , San Pedro de Macorís
Ozama 1,393.8 3,339,410 2,396 Santo Domingo , Distrito Nacional
Valdesia 5,445.27 973.970 179 Azua , Peravia , San Cristóbal , San José de Ocoa
Yuma 5,439.0 606.323 111 El Seibo , La Altagracia , La Romana
Dominican Republic 48,311.0 9,445,281 196


School class near Santo Domingo in typical uniform
Population pyramid of the Dominican Republic in 2016

The population is essentially descended from early European immigrants, mostly of Spanish origin, and from African slaves . The descendants of the slaves represent a smaller proportion of the population than in Haiti . In 1790, 15,000 of the 125,000 inhabitants were slaves, but there were many freedmen. Analyzes of the mtDNA showed that in the maternal line 70% of the population are of African, 15% European or Asian and 15% indigenous descent.

Officially, around half a million people of Haitian origin live in the Dominican Republic, plus another half a million Haitians illegally. Around 600 German Jews settled in Sosúa during the Second World War . In the mountains of the Cordillera Central near Constanza and in the vicinity of Lake Enriquillo there are Japanese colonies (recognizable especially by the (identical) place names "Colonia Japonesa"), as well as near the Haitian border in the north of the country not far from Dajabón ("Colonia de los Japoneses ”), there are also some people of Hungarian descent in the Dominican Republic . Cities and places in the vicinity of tourist areas (e.g. Puerto Plata , Sosúa , Cabarete , Río San Juan , Samaná and Las Terrenas ) in particular have up to approx. 20% residents with origins from the USA , Canada and Europe , sometimes also Cubans in exile , Chileans and other nationalities. Around 40,000 Venezuelans have recently fled to the Dominican Republic.

The urban population makes up 67%. The population is growing by 1.33% annually; the fertility rate is 2.3 births per woman.

Population numbers

year resident year resident
1950 02,365,000 1990 07,184,000
1960 03,294,000 2000 08,563,000
1970 04,503,000 2010 09,898,000
1980 05,809,000 2019 10,739,000

Source: UN


The national language is Spanish . Many people of Haitian descent live in the Dominican Republic who speak Haitian Creole and sometimes French . An English-speaking minority of around 8,000 people live in the city of Samaná in the north-east of the country . These are descendants of former US slaves who settled here in 1824. In the south ( San Pedro de Macorís ) there is also an English-speaking minority.

Of the languages spoken in Spain Spanish language differs in the Dominican Republic many times, and has some words and phrases retained from Spanish colonial times. On the other hand, the language is heavily mixed with Anglo-American expressions.

For more information, see the article on Dominican Spanish .


Most Dominicans are Christians; Christmas is an important holiday in the country

The Catholicism is in the Dominican Republic for a Concordat with the Holy See state religion , although religious freedom is. At the end of the 1980s, over 80% of the residents of the Roman Catholic Church belonged to the Roman Catholic Church , which in this country is divided into two archdioceses with nine Sufragan dioceses and 250 parishes. Of the more than 500 Catholic clergy in the country, around 70% belonged to different orders. In its publications, the German Foreign Office gives shares of around 75% Catholics, 4% Protestants, 1.5% Adventists, 2% other Christian churches (such as Jehovah's Witnesses with around 38,000 active members or the New Apostolic Church with around 5,000 Members) and 16% without religious affiliation. However, numerous declared "Catholics" practice a type of Catholicism that is pervaded by African elements ( syncretism ). Said practices are subsumed under the term brujería - "witchcraft" - or more recently also las 21 Divisiones . They are often carried out undercover and receive little official attention. In the context of media reporting, Creole beliefs are portrayed either as “backward” or as folklore, as if they were antiquated ideas that have already disappeared from everyday life. Their structural proximity to Haitian Voodoo repeatedly gives rise to hostility, because the relationship between the Dominican Republic and the economically weaker neighboring republic has always been extremely problematic. Members of the more privileged classes who orientate themselves on Europe and the USA on a cultural, religious and ideological level are particularly hostile. Faith conflicts sometimes arise even among the practitioners themselves, and converts to a Pentecostal Church under great missionary pressure .


There is sufficient basic supply in the larger agglomerations. The state hospitals are called "hospitals"; their services are relatively cheap. The hygienic conditions are often precarious. Dominican medical professionals are i. d. Usually very well educated in Cuba , but often do not have sufficient practical experience. A "clínica" is a private hospital - and as a rule significantly more expensive, and therefore not affordable for many Dominicans.

In 2011 UNAIDS estimated that 44,000 people (approximately 0.4% of the population) are infected with HIV. She also found that the number of new infections fell by 73% between 2001 and 2011.

Abortions are banned in the Dominican Republic and neighboring Haiti , but very often they are performed illegally (often by medical laypeople), often resulting in deaths.

Life expectancy in the Dominican Republic between 2010 and 2015 was 73.2 years (women: 76.5, men: 70.2)

Life expectancy development in the Dominican Republic

year Life expectancy
in years
year Life expectancy in
1955-1960 49.9 1985-1990 66.5
1960-1965 53.6 1990-1995 69.0
1965-1970 57.0 1995-2000 70.1
1970-1975 59.9 2000-2005 71.1
1975-1980 62.1 2005-2010 72.2
1980-1985 64.0 2010-2015 73.2

Source: UN


There is general compulsory schooling, but this is not guaranteed everywhere because the nearest school is too far away for the children, especially in rural areas. Those who can afford what only very few can do not send their children to the state school (“escuela”), but to a privately run (expensive) “colegio”. The state schools are free of charge for the children, but uniform school clothes, which are expensive for those countries, have to be bought. Parents with several “school-age” children in particular often cannot afford the required clothing.

Many Haitians live legally, many illegally in the country. The “illegal” Haitians have no right to send their children to school because they would need a Dominican birth certificate to do so. Many children in the country do not receive any school education. Some of these children are trained by private foreign organizations, which leads to envy and tension on the part of the Dominican population.

According to the teachers' association ADP, the Dominican state spends only 2.45% of GDP per year on education instead of the statutory 4. Eleven percent of children did not go to school in 2011 despite compulsory school attendance. According to the ADP, half a million children are systematically denied the right to education.

The PISA study of 2015, which was carried out with mostly 15-year-old students in at least 7th grade , shows how precarious the educational situation is . It ranks the Dominican Republic last of the 72 participating states and economies in science and mathematics, and places fifth from bottom in reading skills. The study found that 72.1% of students failed to reach the basic level of reading skills, and of these, 13.1% were unable to solve even the simplest of tasks. According to the OECD , the Dominican Republic is still a long way from equipping all students with a minimum level of reading skills in order to take advantage of further educational opportunities and to participate in a knowledge-based society. If one assumes that the group of 15-year-olds who did not meet the inclusion criteria for the study had also not achieved the basic competence level, the number would probably be even higher. In the field of mathematics, 90.5% of the participants did not meet the minimum requirements to be able to participate in a modern society. The worst 68.3% of these can do simple arithmetic on integers at best when they have clearly defined instructions. In science, 85.7% of students did not meet the minimum level required to engage in science as critical and informed citizens. A significant part of them (15.8%) are unlikely to be able to solve the PISA questions other than by guessing.

There are universities in Santo Domingo , Santiago de los Caballeros and San Pedro de Macorís and, since autumn 2006, in Higüey . The oldest university in America (1538) is located in Santo Domingo .


According to data from Welthungerhilfe , 24% of the population suffer from malnutrition and with a global hunger index of 10.2, the severity of hunger is still classified as "serious" (as of 2011, based on data from 2004 to 2009). However, there has been a steady improvement since 1990 (28% malnutrition, GHI 14.2).

Following the massive recession of 2003, which caused many jobs to be lost and poverty to rise, the Administradora De Subsidios Sociales found itself under great pressure to provide traditional means of providing basic food support to the widely dispersed needy. Due to the increasingly chaotic organization, they were not always the recipients of the support. In 2004 the government decided to switch from delivering goods to paying out funds; the Comer es primero (“food comes first”) program was launched. This enabled recipients to purchase basic groceries in local stores. Later there were additional benefits for school-age children, gas, electricity and grants for old people without a pension. It was realized via a non-transferable prepaid card , called tarjeta solidaridad , which was made available to selected people and through which they could purchase certain goods for a certain amount each month. In June 2011, around 850,000 such prepaid cards were in circulation and around 28 billion pesos (€ 407 million) have been distributed in targeted social subsidies since they were introduced.

The unemployment rate fell between 2005 and 2010 from 17.9 to 14.3%. This corresponds to the creation of around 315,000 new jobs. Nevertheless, it is the highest rate in Latin America and is well above the average of 7.6%.

Again and again, individual Dominicans try to get to the more affluent neighboring island of Puerto Rico in overloaded boats for economic reasons .


In the Dominican Republic, 10,955 people were killed by firearms between 2005 and 2011. Although there has been a law against the import of firearms since July 2006 (Decree 309-06), statistically one in 30 Dominicans had a firearm in 2012. If women and children are excluded from the statistics, around 10% of Dominican men own a firearm.

In 2011, 28.7 murders were recorded per hundred thousand inhabitants. In 2010 it was 24.7, in 2003 it was 18.7 (according to ONE - Statistical Office of the Dominican Republic).


for the history up to independence in 1844 see main article: History of Hispaniola
for the history of the state "Dominican Republic" see main article: History of the Dominican Republic

The territory of the Dominican Republic was part of the Spanish crown colony of Santo Domingo . In 1805 the colony area was conquered by Haiti . In 1844, Santo Domingo finally fought for independence. In order to fend off attempts to recapture Haiti, the young republic submitted to the Spanish crown again in 1861, but regained statehood in 1865. After several years of unstable democracy, the dictator Ulises Heureaux seized power in 1882 .

Marines land under fire on Santo Domingo Beach. Copy of illustration by Dickson., Ca.1916 - NARA - 532356

Heureaux's assassination in 1899 was followed by chaotic conditions, which resulted in the US military intervention in the Dominican Republic from 1916 to 1924. Even after the US withdrew in 1924, the democratic government was not yet firmly in the saddle. In 1930, Rafael Trujillo was able to put his way into the presidency. In 1942 the active and passive right to vote for women was introduced. After Trujillo was killed in an assassination attempt in 1961, elections were held in 1963, which the progressive politician Juan Bosch won, but was overthrown in a military coup after only seven months.

In 1964 a civil war broke out, the aim of which was the reinstatement of the democratically elected President Juan Bosch. When the revolutionary forces were on the verge of victory, the USA invaded under a pretext in 1965 and put down the uprising with the help of the OEA Organization of American States (see Operation Power Pack ). In 1966 there was a presidential election and a withdrawal of the intervention troops. The office of president was held until 1978 by Joaquín Balaguer from the conservative Partido Reformista Social Cristiano (PRSC), who also held the presidency between 1986 and 1994, but had to retire in 1996 after allegations of election manipulation and international pressure, and from Leonel Fernández Reyna from the liberal partido de la Liberación Dominicana (PLD) was replaced. As a result of the (now repealed) "Lex Balaguer", a constitutional amendment that forbids the president from immediate re-election, he could no longer run for president in 2000 . Hipólito Mejía from the social democratic Partido Revolucionario Dominicano (PRD) won this election - again against Balaguer, who ran for the last time at the age of 93. The 2004 presidential election won again Leonel Fernández, who ran in 2008 as the top candidate of his party and won the election on May 16, 2008 in the first ballot. The presidential election of May 20, 2012 won the PLD again, but this time with the new candidate Danilo Medina Sánchez , who was sworn in as president on August 16, 2012. Danilo Medina also won the presidential election on May 15, 2016, well ahead of Luis Abinader from the Partido Revolucionario Moderno (PRM), a spin-off from the PRD. In the 2020 presidential election , Abinader was finally elected to office.


Political system

According to the constitution of 1966 (amendment 1994), the Dominican Republic has a presidential system in which the head of state also holds the office of head of government. The president is elected every four years.

Voting is compulsory for all citizens between the ages of 18 and 70. In reality, however, many do not vote.

The bicameral parliament consists of the Chamber of Deputies ("Cámara de Diputados", lower house ) with 190 members and the Senate ("Senado", upper house ) with 32 members. The united parliament from both chambers forms the congress ("Congreso Nacional"). Senators and MPs are elected for four years.

The most important parties are the liberal Partido de la Liberación Dominicana (PLD), the social democratic Partido Revolucionario Moderno (PRM), a spin-off from the previously important Partido Revolucionario Dominicano (PRD), and the conservative Partido Reformista Social Cristiano (PRSC).

The Dominican Republic is a member of the International Cocoa Organization .

Political indices

Political indices published by non-governmental organizations
Name of the index Index value Worldwide rank Interpretation aid year
Fragile States Index 64.4 out of 120 107 of 178 Stability of the country: Warning
0 = very sustainable / 120 = very alarming
Democracy index 6.32 out of 10 63 of 167 Incomplete democracy
0 = authoritarian regime / 10 = complete democracy
Freedom in the World Index 67 of 100 --- Freedom status: partially free
0 = not free / 100 = free
Freedom of the press ranking 25.6 out of 100 50 of 180 Recognizable problems for the freedom of the press
0 = good situation / 100 = very serious situation
Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 28 out of 100 137 of 180 0 = very corrupt / 100 = very clean 2020

Presidential election

In the presidential election on July 5, 2020, Luis Abinader of the Partido Revolucionario Moderno (PRM) was elected President with a share of 52.51% of the vote. He took office with the swearing-in on August 16, 2020.

see also: Presidential elections in 2000 , 2004 , 2008 , 2012 and 2016


Patrol boat Altair (PB 112) of the Dominican Navy

62,000 soldiers served in the Dominican Armed Forces ( Fuerzas Armadas de la República Dominicana ) in 2019 . 33,000 of them in the army, 17,000 in the air force and 12,000 in the navy. The service is voluntary. The country spent just under 0.7 percent of its economic output or $ 0.5 billion on its armed forces in 2017.

The Dominican Army has 52 armored vehicles, 22 artillery systems and 15 helicopters in service. The Air Force has 35 aircraft in service, 25 of which are helicopters.

In 2007 the United States offered the Dominican Air Force three Sikorsky S-61 helicopters as gifts; However, the Air Force rejected the offer because it could not finance the necessary repairs. In the same year, the Air Force announced that it would purchase ten Embraer EMB-314 attack aircraft from Brazil. Furthermore, additional radar and anti-air installations are planned to better protect the Dominican airspace.

The Dominican Navy has 17 ships in service, including five corvettes .

Dominican soldiers were also on missions by Allied troops abroad (such as in Iraq ). The Dominican Republic withdrew from the Iraq mission after a short time (as did other countries, e.g. Nicaragua , Honduras , Thailand or New Zealand ).


Due to a 2010 constitutional amendment, residents of the Dominican Republic whose ancestors entered the country illegally lost their citizenship even if they were born in the Dominican Republic. This particularly affected hundreds of thousands of people whose ancestors had immigrated from Haiti and whose Dominican citizenship was subsequently withdrawn in this way. After this decision was confirmed by the court in 2013, Haiti dismissed its ambassador in protest. The United Nations is investigating whether this court ruling violates international law. On May 23, 2014, President Medina signed a new law that will give them Dominican citizenship after all.

Citizen communication

In 2006 the Presidential Office for Information and Communication Technology (OPTIC) set up a modern call center that can be reached nationwide via the service telephone number “gob” (abbreviation for “gobierno” - “government”, digit sequence “462”) and on the Internet is. Citizens receive a wide range of information on administrative matters here.

Foreign policy

The government of the Dominican Republic pursues a pragmatic foreign policy. The most important partner is traditionally the USA, especially in (security) political cooperation. The USA is also the main trading partner and home to around 1.5 million Dominicans, two thirds of whom live in the New York area. Both countries have signed free trade agreements and the Dominican Republic is considered a US-friendly force in Latin America.

The relationship with neighboring Haiti, the poorest country in Latin America, is very complex and not free from tensions. The clear gap in prosperity is leading to continued migration to the Dominican Republic, where cheap labor from Haiti is indispensable, especially in agriculture and construction. However, they are viewed with suspicion, often exploited and discriminated against. Trade disputes, often concealed by alleged customs, security and other measures, also cloud the bilateral relationship. Drugs, weapons and people are smuggled in the border area between Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

Economy and Infrastructure

Basic data

  • Currency: Dominican Peso (RD $)
  • Gross Domestic Product (GDP): $ 72.2 billion
  • Gross domestic product growth rate: 7% (2001 only 2.7%)
  • Inflation rate: an average of 5.9% between 2004 and 2011 (according to President Leonel Fernández's speech on the State of the Union on February 27, 2012); in 2011 it was 7.76%
  • External debt: around US $ 25.087 billion (as of 2017) or US $ 26.5 billion according to an estimate dated December 31, 2016
  • Employment: services 62%, industry 23%, agriculture 15%
  • Agricultural products: sugar , bananas , coffee , cocoa , tobacco , vegetables , rice , coconut
  • Raw materials: ferronickel , gold , silver , zinc , larimar
  • Industry: food production, sugar, tobacco, rum , iron, steel, cement
  • Tourism: Between 3.5 and 4 million foreign visitors stood in 2011 with an income of 2 billion euros

The Dominican Republic is a middle income country. The gross domestic product per capita in 2016, adjusted for purchasing power, was 16,049 US dollars and was thus roughly on par with the People's Republic of China . The Dominican economy has recorded continuous economic growth for years and has had the strongest growth in the region (Caribbean) with an average of 5.4% since 1992, while the Latin American average is 2.7%. In 2015 a growth of 7% was achieved. It is increasingly becoming a production site due to the low wages. The unemployment rate for 2017 is given as 5.5%, but underemployment is widespread.

In the Global Competitiveness Index , which measures a country's competitiveness, the Dominican Republic ranks 76th out of 138 countries (as of 2016). In 2017, the country ranks 66th out of 180 countries in the index for economic freedom .

Corruption is a problem in the Dominican Republic.

Development of the key figures

All GDP values ​​are given in US dollars ( purchasing power parity ).

year 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
(purchasing power parity)
13.36 billion 18.95 billion 25.41 billion 37.47 billion 55.62 billion 74.08 billion 83.36 billion 91.92 billion 96.73 billion 98.39 billion 107.87 billion 113.52 billion 118.84 billion 126.48 billion 138.55 billion 149.91 billion 161.91 billion 172.36 billion
GDP per capita
(purchasing power parity)
2,364 2,984 3,571 4,822 6,623 8,260 9,189 10,020 10,424 10,489 11,381 11,849 12,275 12,927 14,018 15,021 16,071 16,944
GDP growth
8.0% −2.1% −5.5% 5.7% 4.6% 9.4% 9.2% 7.4% 3.2% 0.9% 8.3% 3.1% 2.8% 4.7% 7.6% 7.0% 6.6% 4.6%
(in percent)
21.7% 45.3% 50.5% 12.5% 7.2% 4.2% 7.6% 6.1% 10.6% 1.4% 6.3% 8.5% 3.7% 4.8% 3.0% 0.8% 1.6% 3.3%
Public debt
(as a percentage of GDP)
... ... ... ... 17% 21% 20% 17% 20% 23% 24% 26% 30% 34% 34% 33% 35% 38%


The country is visited by almost four million people every year. The number of tourists in the years 2006 to 2009 remained constant at around three million and has increased significantly since then. In 2011, 3.7 million non-resident travelers came to the Dominican Republic, of whom 3.3 million stayed in hotels. 182,500 of them were Germans. Increasingly, the tourists come from the USA and Canada . In addition, there are still many tourists from Europe - Scandinavia , Germany , Austria , Switzerland , Italy , Spain and the Benelux countries. Increasingly, however, the tourists also come from Eastern and Central European countries, especially from Russia , Hungary and Poland , as well as from South American countries such as Brazil , Argentina or Chile and from other parts of the world such as. B. South Africa , Australia , the People's Republic of China or Japan . The sector with the largest supply in the Caribbean (2016: 71,000 hotel rooms) grew by 8% in 2016. The capacities will be further expanded, especially in the cruise sector. Another record attendance was achieved in July 2016. The government of Danilo Medina has set itself the goal of increasing the number of tourists to 10 million visitors by 2020 (currently around 5.5 million per year).

In the first half of 2006, every tourist in the Dominican Republic spent an average of US $ 107 per day. The average length of stay is around 9.5 days; which is partly due to the fact that many Americans and Canadians only stay a few days.

Numerous all-inclusive hotel complexes have been built along the often kilometer-long palm-tree beaches since the late 1970s . The country has been served by various tour operators since then. In the early years of mass tourism, buildings were built that did not fit into the landscape. But these building sins have largely been eliminated, today's hotels fit harmoniously into the landscape and were built in a Caribbean style. Regionally, tourism has shifted significantly from the north (between Puerto Plata and Samaná ) to the east (near Punta Cana and Bávaro ).

Foreign trade

The Dominican current account has been negative since 2005. In 2015, goods worth around 18 billion US dollars were imported, but only items worth around 8 billion were exported. In the aftermath of the international financial and economic crises, imports fell more sharply than exports, but the trade balance remained clearly in the red. Most of the exports go to the USA (2015: 53.6%), followed by Haiti (2015: 12.1%) and Canada (2015: 8.4%). India (2015: 6.7%) has replaced Puerto Rico as the fourth largest export destination in recent years. Most of the imports come from the USA (2015: 41.3%), followed by China (2015: 13.2%), Mexico (2015: 4.64%) and Brazil (2015: 2, 3%). 11.3% (2015) of goods are imported from the EU, 1.8% from Germany. Thus, Germany was the ninth most important partner for imports in 2015. Mexico and Venezuela are important trading partners for the import of crude oil, but the share of imports from Venezuela fell sharply from 7.1% in 2013 to 1.6% in 2015 due to the domestic political crisis there.

In the Dominican Republic, textiles, medical and pharmaceutical articles as well as cigars and, rapidly expanding, shoe production and leather goods are manufactured and then exported to the USA. Due to the low wages and political stability, the country is an attractive production location.

State budget

The state budget in 2016 comprised expenditures equivalent to US $ 13.0 billion , which was offset by income equivalent to US $ 11.7 billion. This results in a budget deficit of 1.8% of GDP .
The national debt in 2016 was $ 23.8 billion, or 33.0% of GDP.

In 2006 the share of government expenditure (as a percentage of GDP) was in the following areas:


Road traffic

The road network is mostly well developed, motorways and expressways are mostly in good condition. In rural areas, roads are often not developed or are not marked as roads. Inland roads, e.g. B. in the mountains of the Cordillera Central, are sometimes better developed than the busy roads on the north coast or the DR-1 motorway from Santo Domingo via Santiago to San Fernando de Monte Cristi ( Monte Cristi province ). There are increasing numbers of motorway routes that are subject to tolls.

There are four border crossings to neighboring Haiti :

The road along the border (sometimes no more than a narrow gravel road) leads in the area of ​​the Cordillera Central between the places Restauración and Pedro Santana several times over Haitian national territory due to geographical conditions; however, it is not possible to enter Haiti this way.

Local public transport in the cities of Santo Domingo and Santiago de los Caballeros is served by inexpensive shared taxis and public buses. Mostly air-conditioned buses run by regional companies run overland; Routes between large cities, such as B. the route Santiago – Santo Domingo are driven several times a day, sometimes even every hour. On the other hand, in most areas there are also minibuses called “guagua” and shared taxis called “concho”, “carrito” or “público” on the main roads. Both modes of transport are often overloaded and in poor technical condition, but they are inexpensive.

Taxis are usually in good technical condition, but they are expensive. Price example: from Puerto Plata airport to Cabarete , approx. 23 km away , you pay the equivalent of approx. 38 US $. The Dominican Republic is far from the productivity of Europe: many taxi drivers only carry one passenger a day. In addition to normal taxis, there are also motorcycle taxis (“motoconcho”), a very common job for underemployed men to supplement their income.

All major international car rental companies are represented in the tourist centers and in the big cities. There are also local rental companies, but they often have older cars on offer. The prices are very different, renting on site is generally more expensive than making a reservation in advance, e.g. B. on the Internet.

The number of road deaths in the Dominican Republic is significantly higher than in any other country in Latin America and the Caribbean. In 2011 it was 36.4 per 100,000 inhabitants. (For comparison: Cuba 4.7 per 100,000, Puerto Rico 8.8 per 100,000.)

air traffic

Airport name IATA -
International airports
Las Americas (Santo Domingo) * SDQ MDSD 3.1 million Santo Domingo
Punta Cana * PUJ MDPC 4.8 million Punta Cana
Puerto Plata (La Unión / Gregorio Luperón) * POP MDPP 0.7 million Puerto Plata
La Romana (Casa De Campo) * LRM MDLR 0.2 million La Romana
Cibao STI MDST 1.1 million Santiago de los Caballeros
El Catey (Samaná) * AZS MDCY 0.1 million Samana Province
La Isabela (Higuero / Dr. Joaquín Balaguer) JQB MDJB Santo Domingo (replacement for Herrera Airport)
María Montez (Barahona) BRX MDBH Barahona
Arroyo Barril EPS MDAB Samaná
* These airports are also served directly from Germany.
National airports
Constanza COZ MDCZ Constanza
Cabo Rojo CBJ MDCR Pedernales
Sabana de la Mar SNX MDSB Sabana de la Mar
San Juan de la Maguana SJM MDSJ San Juan de la Maguana
San Isidro ZXD MDSI Military Air Base, Santo Domingo

Maritime transport

Rail transport

There is no railroad for passenger transport, only routes for the transport of sugar cane, corn and bananas near La Romana and between Barahona and Neiba . There has been a first metro line in Santo Domingo since 2009, and a second is planned.


Network technology: GSM 850 / 1800/1900. Good coverage in the cities, even larger gaps in rural areas, especially in the mountains. The main network operators are Altice (formerly: Orange and Tricom), Claro (formerly: " Verizon ") and Viva. While there are 1 million landline connections in the Dominican Republic, around 2 million people have a mobile phone (as of 2012).


In the big cities as well as in the tourist centers there is a sufficiently large number of internet cafés , also with broadband connections. Internet providers : “CLARO”, “Tricom”, “Aster”, “Centennial” and “ France Telecom ”. Practically all hotels and restaurants today offer their guests wireless Internet (partly free of charge). In 2018, 75 percent of the Dominican Republic's residents used the internet .




The music in the Dominican Republic is shaped by African and Spanish influences. In the Dominican Republic you can find the following styles of music in the field of popular music:

  • Bachata is a style of music from the Dominican Republic and the associated dance.
  • Merengue is a style of music from the Dominican Republic in 2/4 time and the associated dance.
  • Merengue Hip Hop (also: Merengue House or Merenhouse) is a combination of traditional Merengue with hip-hop and house elements and became popular in clubs in the USA and Europe outside the Dominican Republic in the mid-1990s.
  • Reggaetón (Spanish spelling: Reguetón) with the accompanying dance Perreo has been very popular, especially among the younger Dominicans, since the beginning of the 21st century. The well-known reggaetón producer duo Luny Tunes (Francisco Saldaña and Víctor Cabrera), which produces for most of the Puerto Rican reggaetón artists, comes from the Dominican Republic.


Carnival in the Dominican Republic
Carnival 002 4696.JPG
"Feather men"
Carnival 002 4677.JPG
"Whip men"
Carnival 002 4412.JPG
Dominican girls painted as "Taino girls"

The carnival is celebrated throughout the Cibao region, the main centers being La Vega and Santiago de los Caballeros. Carnival is one of the most important cultural events in the country. The carnival takes place every Sunday in February. The graduation is mostly on the national holiday, February 27th, unless February 28th falls on a Sunday. In Río San Juan on the north coast, a merengue festival called "Carnaverengue" is celebrated during carnival .

public holidays

  • January 1st: New Years Day (año nuevo)
  • January 6th: Epiphany (día de los reyes)
  • January 13: National Literacy Day (día nacional de la alfabetización)
  • January 21: Catholic holiday (día de Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia)
  • January 26th: Day of the founding father Juan Pablo Duarte (día del padre de la patria Juan Pablo Duarte)
  • January 31: Youth Day (día nacional de la juventud)
  • February 14: Valentine's Day ( día de la amistad / día de San Valentín )
  • February 25: Day of the founding father, Matías Ramón Mella ("día del patricio Matías Ramón Mella")
  • March 8: International Women's Day (día internacional de la mujer)
  • March 9: Day of the founding father Francisco del Rosario Sánchez (día del patricio Francisco del Rosario Sánchez)
  • March 30: Commemoration of the battle of March 30, 1844 (aniversario de la batalla del 30 de marzo 1844)
  • September 24: Catholic holiday (día de Nuestra Señora de la Mercedes)
  • November 6th: Constitution Day (día de la constitución)
  • December 25th: Christmas (día de navidad)

Moving Holidays:

  • February: Carnival (carnaval) , on Sundays.
  • March or April: Easter ( la semana santa - the holy week)
  • last Sunday in May: Mother's Day (día de la madre)

National Constitutional Holidays:

  • February 27: National Independence Day in 1844 (día de la independencia nacional) and partly at the same time Carnival (carnaval)
  • August 16: Restoration Day 1863 (día de la restauración) . Day of the handover of the presidency in election years.


The national sport is baseball . The country has a professional league in the Dominicana de Béisbol Invernal league.


  • The television series Clinic under palm trees was filmed on the small island of Cayo Levantado near the Samaná peninsula . Parts of the films Jurassic Park , Rambo and Apocalypse Now were shot on the Río Chavón in the southeast of the island .
  • In the southwest of the Dominican Republic there is a place called Polo Magnético , where cars supposedly roll uphill due to natural magnetic effects. It is an optical illusion. Measurements showed that the vehicles did not roll uphill.
  • On February 6, 1996, Birgenair Flight 301 crashed shortly after taking off from Puerto Plata Airport. 189 passengers were killed in this crash of a Boeing 757.
  • On February 6, 1998 , the Austrian singer Falco died in a traffic accident near Montellano , Puerto Plata province . Maybe he was under the influence of drugs.


  • Junot Díaz: The Brief Miraculous Life of Oscar Wao. Fischer, Frankfurt 2009, ISBN 978-3-10-013920-7 . (A family history of Dominican emigrants in the USA).
  • Hans-Ulrich Dillmann , Susanne Heim: Vanishing Point Caribbean - Jewish Emigration in the Dominican Republic. Christoph Links Verlag, Berlin 2009, ISBN 978-3-86153-551-5 .
  • Marion A. Kaplan: Refuge in the Caribbean. The Jewish refugee settlement in the Dominican Republic 1940–1945 . Wallstein, Göttingen 2010, ISBN 978-3-8353-0511-3 .
  • Mario Vargas Llosa : The Goat Festival. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt, M. 2008. ISBN 978-3-518-46016-0 . ( Suhrkamp-Taschenbuch. 4016) (novel dealing with the power of Trujillo).
  • Yvonne Schaffler: Vodú? That’s up to the others! Creole Medicine, Spirituality, and Identity in the Southwest Dominican Republic. LIT Verlag, Berlin, Vienna, Münster 2009, ISBN 978-3-643-50064-9 . ( Viennese ethnomedical series. Vol. 7). At the same time: Vienna, University, dissertation 2008.
  • Bruce J. Calder: The impact of intervention. The Dominican Republic during the US Occupation of 1916-1924. M. Wiener Publishers, Princeton, NJ 2006, ISBN 1-55876-386-4 .
  • Richard Lee Turits: Foundations of despotism. Peasants, the Trujillo regime, and modernity in Dominican history. Stanford University Press, Stanford, Calif. 2003, ISBN 0-8047-4353-3 .
  • Eric Thomas Chester: Rag-tags, scum, riff-raff and commies. The US intervention in the Dominican Republic, 1965-1966. Monthly Review Press, New York 2001, ISBN 1-58367-032-7 .
  • Jonathan Hartlyn: The struggle for democratic politics in the Dominican Republic. University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill 1998, ISBN 0-8078-2406-2 .
  • Frank Moya Pons: The Dominican Republic. A national history. M. Wiener Publishers, Princeton, NJ 1998, ISBN 1-55876-192-6 .
  • Alan Cambeira: Quisqueya la bella. The Dominican Republic in historical and cultural perspective. ME Sharpe, Armonk, NY, London, England c1997. 1996, ISBN 1-56324-936-7 .
  • Frauke Gewecke: The will to the nation. Nation building and drafting of national identity in the Dominican Republic. Vervuert, Frankfurt a. M. 1996, ISBN 3-89354-068-7 .
  • Julia Alvarez : The time of the butterflies. Piper, Munich, Zurich 1994, ISBN 3-492-22860-7 . (Novel about the Mirabal sisters ).
  • Manuela Erhart: Tropical forest protection through land ownership reform and sustainable management. The Dominican Republic case. Metropolis, Marburg 1995, ISBN 978-3-89518-043-9 . At the same time: Berlin, Free University, dissertation 1994.

Web links

Commons : Dominican Republic  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wikimedia Atlas: Dominican Republic  - geographical and historical maps
Wiktionary: Dominican Republic  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

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Coordinates: 19 °  N , 70 °  W