Migration and Development: Whither the Dominican Republic and Haiti?
This article presents a documentation note of the 10th Migration Dialogue seminar held March 7-9, 2002 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Migration Dialogue seminars provide a setting for 40 opinion leaders from Europe and North America to learn about and discuss the major migration management issues of the twenty-first century. The following are three central issues explored in the 2002 seminar. First, the Dominican Republic economy grew rapidly in the 1990s, 6-8 percent per year, as thousands of rural women especially found sewing jobs in free-trade zones. Why did emigration pressure remain so high despite rapid job creation? Are emigration and remittances substitutes for socioeconomic reforms, notably in the education system and the labor market? Do remittances, which account for almost 105 of the Dominican Republic's $16 billion gross domestic product, increase or decrease the desire to emigrate? Second, Hispaniola is a relatively small island shared by peoples with different origins, histories, and languages. The population of the Dominican Republic and Haiti are each 8-9 million. Some 500,000 to 800,000 Haitian nationals live in the Dominican Republic, equivalent to almost 10 percent of Haiti's population.