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Earthquake in Haiti

On Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2010, a powerful earthquake struck Haiti, centered about 15 miles west-southwest of Port-au-Prince, the nation's capital and largest city. The Census Bureau has numerous resources providing information not only on Haitians living in the United States, but on Haiti itself.

Impact of 2010 Haiti Earthquake
Impact of 2010 Haiti Earthquake

The area of the earthquake's greatest intensity (intensity of 8.0 and higher on the Modified Mercalli Intensity scale) included all or parts of 10 communes, which contained three cities of 20,000 people or more in 2003: Carrefour, Léogâne, and Petit-Goâve.

The estimated 2009 population of those 10 communes experiencing the earthquake’s greatest intensity was 1.3 million, or 14 percent of the nation’s total population of 9.0 million.

Another 14 communes were in a zone of lesser but still substantial intensity (Modified Mercalli Intensity levels of 7.0 – 7.9). These 14 communes included a 2009 estimated population of 2.5 million, 28 percent of the nation’s population. In addition, these communes included Port-au-Prince and two cities with population greater than 20,000 in 2003: Croix-des-Bouquets and Pétionville.

Additional information on the demographics of Haiti, from the Census Bureau's International Data Base, can be found at:

For more information on the earthquake at USGS:

For more information on residency rules and how foreign residents - displaced by emergency conditions in their native countries - are counted in the US 2010 Census, please visit

Haitians in the U.S.

The American Community Survey (ACS) provides up-to-date profiles of America's communities every year, including demographic, housing, social, and economic characteristics for numerous geographies. The most detailed race and ethnic data are available through the Selected Population Profiles.

Selected population profile of PEOPLE OF HAITIAN ANCESTRY living in the United States: 2006-2008 3-year estimates

LOCAL ESTIMATES OF POPULATION FOR HAITIANS living in the United States: 2006-2008 3-year estimates

Instructions: Using the hot link immediately above, you will arrive on the American Community Survey home page for the “2006-2008 American Community Survey 3-year estimates.” Within the gray box, click on the link labeled “enter a table number.” Enter either of the following table numbers and click “go” -- B04003 (for the number of people of Haitian ancestry) or B05006 (for the number of people born in Haiti). You can then use the drop down menu to select the geography (state, county, etc.) you are looking for. Once you have highlighted your geography, click “add” and then click “show result.”

The ACS 3-year estimates are typically preferable to the ACS 1-year estimates for estimates based on small populations. An estimate of a characteristic can have an acceptably small standard error when it applies to the full population of a published geography. However, the estimate of that characteristic may have an unacceptably large standard error when it applies to a subset of the population of the same geography. For more guidance, please visit the following link

Update: January 22, 2010

The Emergency Preparedness page has been updated with a link to an interactive map showing the geographic distribution of the population of Haiti, based on publicly available information and providing population and housing data for areas chosen by the user: <>. (If you click on this link and experience difficulty connecting with the map site, please try copying the URL and pasting it into your browser address bar.)

When accessing the map on this site, click on the following link to zoom in on areas of interest and to draw a polygon around them: “Click to explore demographic data.” When you have drawn a polygon to display an area, its estimated population and area will appear.

Click on “Show 2003 census data,” and then click on one of the blue areas that appear to view the geographic, population and housing data for the sections completely or partially contained within the polygon. To download the data set used to provide underlying information on this site, click on the link: “Click to download population estimates and administrative boundaries.”

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Census Data & Emergency Preparedness | Last Revised: June 03, 2015