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Haitians (French: Haïtiens, Haitian Creole: Ayisyen) are the citizens of Haiti and their descendants in the Haitian diaspora.

Haïtiens / Ayisyen
Flag of Haiti.svg
Total population
c. 13 million
Regions with significant populations
 Haiti 10,604,000[1]
 United States929,074[2][3]
 Dominican Republic800,000[4]
 France62 448[11][12][13][14]
 French Guiana22,576[17]
 Saint Martin13,885[18]
 Turks and Caicos Islands6,900[19]
 Puerto Rico1,760[22]
 U.S. Virgin Islands1,673[23]
 Cayman Islands1,500[19]
 United Kingdom1,000[26]
 Costa Rica1000
Haitian French and Haitian Creole
Roman Catholic 80%, Haitian Vodou, Protestant[35] 16%, (Baptist 10%, Pentecostal 4%, Adventist 1%, other 1%), other 3% (Islam,[36] Bahá'í Faith,[37] Judaism)[38]
Related ethnic groups
French, Africans, Latin Americans, Louisiana Creoles, Other Francophone people (particularly French Antillean and French Canadian)



According to the Constitution of Haiti, a Haitian citizen is:

  • Anyone, regardless of where they are born, is considered Haitian if either their mother or father is a native-born citizen of Haiti. A person born in Haiti could automatically receive citizenship.
  • A foreigner living in Haiti who has had a continuous period of Haitian residence for five years can apply for citizenship and will have the right to vote, but is not eligible to hold public office until five years after their date of naturalization, excluding those offices reserved for native-born Haitians by Constitutional law.

Dual citizenshipEdit

The Haitian Constitution of 2012 re-legalizes dual citizenship, allowing for Haitians living abroad to own land and run for Haitian political office (except for offices of president, prime minister, senator or member of the lower house of Parliament).

Ethnic groupsEdit

Schoolchildren from Hinche (Centre)

Haiti's population is a mostly of African descent (5% are of mixed African and other ancestry),[39] though people of many different ethnic and national backgrounds have settled and impacted the country, such as Poles[40][41] (Polish legion), Jews,[40][42] Arabs[43] (from the Arab diaspora), Chinese,[44] Indians,[45][46] Spanish, Germans[47][48] (18th century and World War I), Italians,[43] and French, most marrying into the majority black populace and in turn yielding mulattoes (many of whom are prominent in Haitian society).


The official languages of Haiti are French and Haitian Creole.

Traditionally, the two languages served different functions, with Haitian Creole the informal everyday language of all the people, regardless of social class, and French the language of formal situations: schools, newspapers, the law and the courts, and official documents and decrees. However, because the vast majority of Haitians speak only Creole, there have been efforts in recent years to expand its use. In 1979, a law was passed that permitted Creole to be the language of instruction, and the Constitution of 1983 gave Creole the status of a national language. However, it was only in 1987 that the Constitution granted official status to Creole.



Haitian art, known for its vibrant color work and expressive design, is a complex tradition, reflecting strong African roots with Indigenous American and European aesthetic and religious influences. It is a very important representation of Haitian culture and history. Haitian art is distinctive, particularly in painting and sculpture where brilliant colors, naive perspective and sly humor characterize it. Frequent subjects in Haitian art include big, delectable foods, lush landscapes, market activities, jungle animals, rituals, dances, and gods. Artists frequently paint in fables.

Music and danceEdit

The music of Haiti combines a wide range of influences drawn from the many people who have settled on this Caribbean island. It reflects French, African rhythms, Spanish elements and others who have inhabited the island of Hispaniola and minor native Taino influences. Styles of music unique to the nation of Haiti include music derived from Vodou ceremonial traditions, Rara parading music, Twoubadou ballads, Mini-jazz rock bands, Rasin movement, Hip hop Kreyòl, Méringue,[49] and Kompa. Youth attend parties at nightclubs called discos, (pronounced "deece-ko"), and attend Bal. This term is the French word for ball, as in a formal dance.

Compas, short for compas direct, is a complex, ever-changing music that arose from African rhythms and European ballroom dancing, mixed with Haiti's bourgeois culture. It is a refined music, with méringue as its basic rhythm. In Creole, it is spelled as konpa dirèk or simply konpa. It is commonly spelled as it is pronounced as kompa.[50]

Until 1937, Haiti had no recorded music, until Jazz Guignard was recorded non-commercially. One of the most celebrated Haitian artists today is Wyclef Jean. Wyclef Jean, however, left the country before his teenage years and began the Fugees with Lauryn Hill and Pras, who together went on to become the biggest selling hip hop group of all time with The Score released in 1996.


A table set with Haitian cuisine

Haitian cuisine originates from several culinary styles from the various historical ethnic groups that populated the western portion of the island of Hispaniola. Haitian cuisine is similar to the rest of the Latin-Caribbean (the French and the Spanish-speaking countries of the Antilles), however it differs in several ways from its regional counterparts. While the cuisine is unpretentious and simple, the flavors are bold and spicy that demonstrate a primary influence of African culinary aesthetic, paired with a very French sophistication.


Haiti is similar to the rest of Latin America, in that it is a predominantly Christian country, with 80% Roman Catholic and approximately 16% professing Protestantism. A small population of Muslims and Hindus exist in the country, principally in the capital of Port-au-Prince.

Vodou, encompassing several different traditions, consists of a mix of Central and Western African, European, and Native American (Taíno) religions, is also widely practiced, despite the negative stigma that it carries both in and out of the country. The exact number of Vodou practitioners is unknown; however, it is believed that a small proportion of the population practice it, often alongside their Christian faith. Some secular Christians also have been known to participate in some rituals, although indirectly.


In 1998, a World Bank estimation claimed that approximately 800,000 Haitian citizens were residents of Dominican Republic. By 2001, approximately 15,000 Haitians had migrated to Dominican Republic to work in sugar mills.[51] Haitians workers also migrated to other countries such as the United States, France, Canada, the Bahamas and other Caribbean Islands. In 2006, Approximately 800,000 Haitians resided in the United States (especially in the Miami and New York City areas), 80,000 Haitians were living in France (especially the Paris area) 180,000 in Canada (especially the Montreal area) while 80,000 were dispersed between the Bahamas and other Caribbean Islands.[52]


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Haiti & The Dominican Republic IMF population estimates
  2. ^ American FactFinder - Results
  3. ^ "Total ancestry categories tallied for people with one or more ancestry categories reported 2010 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 30 November 2012.
  4. ^ Pina, Diógenes. "DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Deport Thy (Darker-Skinned) Neighbour". Inter Press Service (IPS). Archived from the original on March 12, 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-14. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  5. ^ Haiti in Cuba Retrieved 2013-12-30.
  6. ^ "Gobierno estima en 1.251.225 el número de extranjeros y venezolanos desplazan a peruanos como principal grupo" (in Spanish). Emol. 2019-02-14.
  7. ^ Overwhelmed by Haitian immigrants, Brazil may temporarily shut border crossing
  8. ^ [�o-os-principais-imigrantes-no-brasil]
  9. ^ 2011 Canada Census: Ethnic Origin (National)
  10. ^ Bahamas outlook clouds for Haitians by Nick Davis, BBC News, 20 September 2009. Retrieved 2010-02-16.
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Haitian Creole", Website, accessed 4 May 2011
  14. ^ Jean-François, Macollvie (8 June 2004), "The French dis-connection: Haitians struggle to make their mark in Paris", Haitian Times, archived from the original on 2012-03-12, retrieved 2013-06-22
  15. ^ Celebrating 50 years of the Haitian diaspora in Guyana
  16. ^ Ice cream sales a lifeline for Haitians in Caracas
  17. ^ French Guiana
  18. ^ a b c French Guiana, Guadeloupe, and Martinique
  19. ^ a b c d "People Groups: Haiti". Joshua Project. Retrieved 13 October 2014.
  20. ^ Haïtianen: blij in Suriname - Parbode Magazine
  21. ^ Estadísticas históricas de México 2009 Archived 2016-02-01 at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ Illegal Immigration Through Puerto Rico Is Skyrocketing Too | The Daily Caller
  23. ^ 2010 Census U.S. Virgin Islands: Place of Birth
  24. ^ Réunion "de famille" pour les Haïtiens de Belgique - La
  25. ^ "Diaspora wants a say in Haiti's future". Retrieved 13 February 2014.
  26. ^ BBC News - Earthquake in Haiti brings UK community together
  27. ^ Haitian Trafficking Victims Discovered in Ecuador
  28. ^ AfroAmericanas: Inmigrantes haitianos en Argentina -según La
  29. ^ Haïtianen in Nederland in onzekerheid - archief
  30. ^ Padrón municipal, cifras de población. Haitianos en España.
  31. ^ Statistiche: haitiani in Italia
  32. ^ Haitiani in Italia - statistiche e distribuzione per regione
  33. ^ Haitianer bangen um ihre Verwandten «
  34. ^ Homeland is where the heart is for Haitians
  35. ^ [1], Website, accessed 4 May 2011
  36. ^ [2], The Muslim Population in Haiti
  37. ^ [3], Most Baha'i Nations (2005), accessed 30 December 2013
  38. ^ [4], The Virtual Jewish World: Haiti
  39. ^ "Haiti". The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. 12 July 2018. Retrieved 2018-07-12.
  40. ^ a b "The Polish Influence in Casale, Haiti and Contribution to the Haitian Revolution". Archived from the original on 25 February 2014. Retrieved 7 February 2014. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  41. ^ "Polish Haitians: How They Came to Be". Retrieved 6 February 2014.
  42. ^ "Haiti". Jewish Virtual Library. Retrieved 2014-02-07.
  43. ^ a b "From Lebanon to Haiti: A Story Going Back to the 19th Century". Retrieved 30 January 2014.
  44. ^ "Chinese in Haiti may be evacuated". China Daily. Retrieved 2014-01-04.
  45. ^ - India-Haiti: relationships that are consolidated Archived May 18, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  46. ^ The Hindu - Indians in Haiti seek monetary help
  47. ^ "Haiti And The German Connection". Retrieved 30 January 2014.
  48. ^ "Haiti Net Foreign Relations". Retrieved 30 January 2014.
  49. ^ "Music and the Story of Haiti". Afropop Worldwide. Archived from the original on 13 November 2007. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
  50. ^ Wise, Brian. "Band's Haitian Fusion Offers Fellow Immigrants a Musical Link to Home". New York Times. Retrieved 24 January 2015.
  51. ^ Martin, Philip; Midgley, Elizabeth; Teitelbaum, Michael S. (2006-02-23). "Migration and Development: Whither the Dominican Republic and Haiti?". International Migration Review. 36 (2): 570–592. doi:10.1111/j.1747-7379.2002.tb00093.x. ISSN 0197-9183.
  52. ^ Martin, Philip; Midgley, Elizabeth; Teitelbaum, Michael S. (2006-02-23). "Migration and Development: Whither the Dominican Republic and Haiti?". International Migration Review. 36 (2): 570–592. doi:10.1111/j.1747-7379.2002.tb00093.x. ISSN 0197-9183.

Further readingEdit

  • Moreau de Saint Mery, Louis (1797–1798). Description topographic, physical, civil, and political history of the French part of the isle Saint-Domingue. Paris.
  • Garrigus, John (2006). Before Haiti: Race and Citizenship in French Saint-Domingue. U.S.