Misconceptions about life in Haiti reach all around the world. After the devastation of the island in 2010 due to a magnitude seven earthquake, many citizens were killed or left homeless and scared. The image of Haiti in the eyes of the world has become that of a poor country stuck in a cycle of poverty. But, what are the living conditions in Haiti actually like? Here are the top 10 facts about living conditions in Haiti.

  1. Rural life is much more difficult – A lot of attention is given to the capital city of Port-au-Prince in the news, but the living conditions in Haiti in rural areas show higher poverty rates than in the city. In the city, poverty rates declined between 2000 and 2012; however, they remained the same in rural areas, which often receive less help rebuilding after natural disasters and have less access to basic necessities.
  2. Tropical storms disrupt life – The major recurring disasters that strike Haiti are tropical storms. Because of its position in the Caribbean, hurricanes and other storms can often cause problems, destroying property as Haitians are trying to rebuild and contaminating water sources.
  3. Drinking water can be unsafe – Cholera is very common in both rural areas and cities due to contamination in the water. At most, 48 percent of the population has access to safe sanitation, but that is only in urban areas. In rural areas, fewer than 20 percent have access to clean water and sanitation. Malaria also poses a risk to many. These diseases can be fatal without access to healthcare.
  4. Hurricane Matthew in 2016 continues to affect crops and housing – Hurricane Matthew affected 2.1 million Haitians with the elderly being hit the hardest. Habitat for Humanity has provided housing kits and building materials to help elders rebuild since they often are responsible for other family members and have greater difficulty finding work. Additionally, since Haiti imports most of its food, the few crops that are grown are often destroyed in natural disasters like Hurricane Matthew, which has a strong impact on the elders who require good nutrition and better living conditions in Haiti. Continue reading

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