Dominican Republic










© IOM 2014 (photo: Susanne Melde)

According to the Global Climate Risk Index 2015, the Dominican Republic is the eighth most vulnerable country to climate change in the world (Kreft et al., 2014). The country is indeed very much exposed to both rapid on-set disasters (in particular, storms, cyclones, floods and landslides) and slow on-set processes (such as sea-level rise and desertification). These phenomena greatly affect the population, especially the most poor and vulnerable. Only during the period 2008 - 2014, 95,004 people have been displaced as a result of natural disasters such as floods, storms and cyclones (Wooding and Morales, 2015; Melde, 2015). Some communities have already been relocated as a consequence of sea-level rise and coastal erosion (Melde, 2015).


MECLEP publications on the Dominican Republic

  • Cordero, A. and G. Lathrop 2015. Some policies that might influence the relationship between environment and migration in the Dominican Republic. Migration, Environment and Climate Change Policy Brief Series, Issue 7. Available from here


 Basic Facts

 Geographic location

 Central America, Caribbean Sea


 10.5 millions


 48,671 km²

 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita  PPP

 USD13,262.3 (2014)

 Income level

 Lower middle income

 Human Development Index (HDI) Rank

 102nd out of 187 countries

, 2011, based on data from the United Nations Population Fund's The State of World Population 2011.
Area refers to Total Surface Area Data from UNSD Demographic Statistics 2008, United Nations Statistics Division.
Gross Domestic Product (Purchasing Power Parity). The sum value of all final goods and services produced in a country in a given year valued at prices prevailing in the United States of America. GDP Per Capita (PPP), 2010, is Gross Domestic Product on a Purchasing Power Parity basis divided by the population. GDP Per Capita PPP based on data from the World Bank's World Development Indicators. Data are in current international dollars.
Income level. Income levels show the income category of a particular country as identified by the World Bank. For more information on income level, including the methodology used by the World Bank, please visit the World Bank’s Country Classification.
Human Development Index (HDI). A composite indicator that measures development and human progress based on health, education, and purchasing power. The higher the HDI rank, the higher a country's level of development. HDI Rank, 2011, based on data from the United Nations Development Programme's Human Development Report 2011.


 Migration patterns

 Net Migration Rate


 Total Migrant Stock


 Women as a Percentage of Immigrants

 41 %

 Number of Refugees

 Not Available

 Number of Internally Displaced Persons  (IDPs)

 *11.544 **Not Available ***Not Available

 Urbanization rate

 79 % (EST. 2015)

 Remittances (in-flows)

  •  7.3 % of GDP (2013)
  • According to the National Labour Force Survey (2008-2013), about 4 per cent of the population of the Dominican Republic receive international remittances. The data collected by the Central Bank of the Dominican Republic (2014) show that during 2013 international remittances represented one of the most significant source of foreign exchange for the country (Wooding y Morales, 2015).


 Internal remittances

  •  According to the National Labour Force Survey (2008-2013), about 10 per cent of the population of the Dominican Republic receive internal remittances.

Net Migration Rate, 2010-2015. The difference between the number of persons entering and leaving a country during the year per 1,000 persons. An excess of persons entering the country is referred to as net immigration (e.g., 3.56 migrants/1,000 population); an excess of persons leaving the country is referred to as net emigration (e.g., -9.26 migrants/1,000 population). Net Migration Rate based on data from the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division's World Population Prospects: the 2015 Revision Population Database.
Total Migrant Stock. Estimated number of international migrants at mid-year, 2010.  United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division's World Population Prospects: the 2008 Revision Population Database.
Women as a Percentage of Immigrants. United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division's World Population Prospects: the 2008 Revision Population Database.
Number of RefugeesUnited Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, 2014.
Number of IDPsInternal Displacement Monitoring Centre, 2015.
Urbanization rate: Average Annual Rate of Change of the Urban Population by Major Area, Region and Country, 1950-2050 (per cent) as per the United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2014). World Urbanization Prospects: The 2014 Revision.
Remittances in-flows. World Bank staff calculation based on data from IMF Balance of Payments Statistics database and data releases from central banks, national statistical agencies, and World Bank country desks.


 Environmental Facts and Changes

 Environmental performance index

 75th out of 178 countries

 Long-term climate change risk  index

 8th out of 159 countries (1994-2013)

 105th out of 159 countries (2013)

 World risk index

 23rd out of 171 countries

 ND-GAIN country index

 97th out of 180 countries

 Significant disaster events

  • Since 1990, almost every year significant natural disasters have been registered in the Dominican Republic; particularly, storms and floods:
  •  Type                            Date                   Total deaths

            Flood                         00-01-1993                    18

            Storm                        03-09-1996                    24

            Storm                        20-09-1998                    347

            Flood                         14-11-2003

            Flood                         23-05-2004                    688

            Storm                        28-10-2007                    129

            Storm                        11-12-2007                      33

            Flood                        14-02-2010

            Storm                       24-08-2011

            Storm                       24-10-2012

            Flood                        20-02-2015

 Environmental change


  • Rapid on-set disasters and slow-onset processes
  • Given its geographical location in the subtropical zone, the Dominican Republic is very much exposed to weather catastrophic events that originate both from the African coasts and from the gulf of Mexico (Wooding y Morales, 2015):
    • ​storms
    • cyclones
    • hurricanes
    • floods
    • tsunamis
    • landslides
    • wildfires
    • earthquakes
  • The country is also exposed to slow-onset processes that are exacerbated by climate change:
    • sea-level rise
    • desertification
    • ocean acidification
    • coastal erosion
    • salinization
    • increasing temperature

 Climate change impacts

  • Ecosystems and livelihoods
  • The loss of forest cover threatens the island’s biodiversity: it is estimated that at least 10% of all species of flora and fauna in the country are in danger of extinction (Ovalles, 2011: 57). In addition, coastal ecosystems seem to be the most affected by climate change, as rising sea level affects the lower coastal areas and cause loss of flora and fauna. The means of sustenance most affected by environmental changes are:
    • agriculture
    • livestock
    • fishing

Environmental performance index. The Environmental Performance Index (EPI) ranks how well countries perform on high-priority environmental issues in two broad policy areas: protection of human health from environmental harm and protection of ecosystems (2014).
Long-term climate change risk index. The Global Climate Risk Index 2015 analyses to what extent countries have been affected by the impacts of weather-related loss events (storms, floods, heat waves etc.). The most recent data available – from 2013 and 1994–2013 – were taken into account.
World risk index. The WorldRiskIndex developed by UNU-EHS describes the disaster risk for various countries and regions. The main focus of the report is the threat from, or exposure to key natural hazards and the rise in sea level caused by climate change, as well as social vulnerability in the form of the population’s susceptibility and their capacity for coping and adaptation.
ND-GAIN Country Index. A project of the University of Notre Dame Global Adaptation Index (ND-GAIN), summarizes a country's vulnerability to climate change and other global challenges in combination with its readiness to improve resilience.
Significant disaster events. Based on EM-DAT, which contains essential core data on the occurance and effects of over 18,000 mass disasters in the world from 1900 to present.


 Adaptation policies
 National Laws and Policies, Regional frameworks

 Climate Change and Adaptation  Policies

 Inclusion of Migration

2008 - National Action Plan of Adaptation             (NAPA)

  • Link between drought and migration and the consequent risk in the face of diseases identified; 
  • migration recognized as a coping mechanism to environmental change, especially for vulnerable communities;
  • planned urbanization and livelihood generation mentioned as central for the management of environmental migration;
  • job generation proposed as a strategy to mitigate migration to the large cities (Government of the Dominican Republic, 2008:58, 61).

            2011-2030 - Strategic Plan for Climate                                        Change (PECC)

  • Migration mentioned in the section about infrastructures and population dynamics
  • The need to develop programs to address migration in the context of climate and environmental change and to face the issue of “climate refugees” is stressed (Government of the Dominican Republic, 2011:14).



IOM Country Specialists

  • Andrés Botero - Oficial de Operaciones, OIM Santo Domingo


For more information on IOM’s activities in the Dominican Republic:


Key Documents / References

Cordero, A. and G. Lathrop
2015  Some policies that might influence the relationship between environment and migration in the Dominican Republic. Migration, Environment and Climate Change Policy Brief Series, Issue 7. Available from 

Kelpsaite, L. and E. Mach
2015  Migration as adaptation? A comparative analysis of policy frameworks on the environment and development in MECLEP countries. Migration, Environment and Climate Change Policy Brief Series, Volume 1, Issue 5. IOM, Geneva. Available from

Government of the Dominican Republic
2004   Primera Comunicación Nacional. In English: First National Communication. Secretaria de Estado de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales. Available from resource/docs/natc/domrepnc1.pdf.
2008   Plan de Acción Nacional de Adaptación al Cambio Climático en la República Dominicana. Available from www. Nacional%20de%20Adaptaci%C3%B3n%20 PANA.pdf.
2009   Segunda Comunicación Nacional. In English: Second National Communication. Secretaria de Estado de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales. Available from http://unfccc.
2011   Plan estratégico para el cambio climático (PECC) (2011–2030) In English: The Strategic Plan for Climate Change. Consejo Nacional para el Cambio Climático y el Mecanismo de Desarrollo Limpio. Available from wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Plan%20 Estrat%C3%A9gico%20para%20el%20 CC.%20RD..pdf. 

Melde, S.
2015  The poor pay the price: New research insights on human mobility, climate change and disasters. Migration, Environment and Climate Change Policy Brief Series, Volume 1, Issue 9. IOM, Geneva. Available from

Kreft, S. et al.
2014  Global Climate Risk Index 2014. Who suffers most from extreme weather events? Weather related loss events in 2012 and 1993-2012. GermanWatch. Available from

Ovalles, P.
2011  Identificación de las causas de la deforestación y la degradación de los bosques en la República Dominicana (Informe final). Santo Domingo, Programa REDDCCAD/GIZ en Centroamérica y República Dominicana.

Rathe, L.
2008  Plan de Adaptación Nacional al Cambio Climático en la República Dominicana. Secretaría de Estado de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales. Santo Domingo. Available from

Del Rosario, P.J., J. Morrobel and A. Escarramán
2012  Territorio rural y adaptación al cambio climático en República Dominicana. Instituto Dominicano de Investigación Agropecuaria y Forestal (IDIAF), Santo Domingo.

United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
2013  Dominican Republic Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment Report. USAID, Washington DC. Available from

Wooding, B. and M. A. Morales
2014  Migración y Medio Ambiente. Una reflexión pertinente. Migration Policy Brief OBMICA, Santo Domingo. Available from
2015  Migración, medioambiente y cambio climático en la República Dominicana: diagnóstico de informaciones para políticas públicas. Migration, Environment and Climate Change Policy Brief Series, Volume 1, Issue 7. IOM, Geneva. Available from