Haiti, Before And After The Earthquake It is difficult to grasp the level of devastation in Haiti after last week's earthquake, without some understanding of Haiti before the quake. Robert Siegel has a few numbers now — for context. They paint a picture of a country that, in many ways, had already been devastated for decades by poverty and political mismanagement.

Haiti, Before And After The Earthquake

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ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

It is difficult to grasp the level of devastation in Haiti after last week's earthquake without some understanding of Haiti before the quake. We pulled together a few numbers for context and they paint a picture of a country that in many ways had already been devastated for decades by poverty and by political mismanagement. For starters, Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Before the quake, the country had a population just over nine million, of those, approximately seven million lived on two dollars a day or less.

The labor force is largely based on agriculture, mostly small-scale subsistence farmers. It's not easy to calculate the unemployment rate, but it has been estimated at somewhere around 70 or 80 percent. And one final number for you: The U.N. puts together what it calls a Human Development Index. It ranks countries based on life expectancy, education and standard of living. Of the 182 countries on the list, Haiti ranks 149th, just below Papua New Guinea and just above Sudan.

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