Distribution and Density of the Population in the Dominican Republic

The areas shown in this article tend to be the least visited parts of the Dominican Republic with the the Punta Cana area receiving over 70% of international tourists. Few of those tourists are aware that the Punta Cana area has a population of about 70,000 to 80,000, around 0.7% of the national population. Las Terrenas, on the Samaná Peninsula, is another hot zone for international tourism. The entire Samaná Peninsula has a population of over 100,000 which is more or less 1% of the population of the Dominican Republic. In fact, combining the population of tourist areas in the country amounts to about 5% of the country’s population. The following map and its approximation shows the distribution and density of the population of the Dominican Republic. The map is from 2004, but while the population and the density has grown, the geographic distribution hasn’t changed much.

Holistic view of the population distribution and density of the Dominican Republic. Notice the Dominican population concentrates in the Greater Santo Domingo and in the Cibao Valley areas.
Greater Santo Domingo
The second most dense and populous area is the fertile Cibao Valley. The quality of the soil is second to none, highly prized by farmers. In much of the valley the climate is delightful with a noticeable moderation of the humidity and cooler evening, night, and morning temperatures compared to areas on the coast. In the valleys of the Central Mountains you will need a sweater or jacket to stay warm during the cooler months, water freezes during the night, and the vegatation is mostly pine with very few to no signs of palms. This area is unlike what people in North America and/or Europe think of the Caribbean.
The most visited region by international tourists is The East, yet it’s a sparsely populated area. In fact, with a population around 1.5 million, it’s the least populated region of the Dominican Republic (about 14%) and about the size of neighboring Puerto Rico or the US state of Connecticut. The Punta Cana area is on the extreme eastern point. This is also the least mountainous area of the country with the largest plains in the Caribbean outside Cuba. Due to the sugar industry which developed mostly in this region, today this is one of the blackest regions of the Dominican Republic, particularly along the Caribbean coast. La Romana has a majority African ancestry (around 60% to 70%) in the average person, one of the highest in the country. Its population accounts for approximately 23% of the population of The East region and 3% for the Dominican Republic as a whole.
The Samana Peninsula is another popular destination for international tourists. It’s also a sparsely populated area. The Samaná Peninsula is the wettest area of the country, often with rain falling up to 4 or 5 times in one day. What doesn’t happen too much is remaining cloudy and/or raining the entire day. The sun comes out multiple times a day, everyday. The most noticeable feature of this peninsula is the immense concentration of coconut palms, probably the largest in the world.
The northwestern part of the Cibao Valley is popularly known as “La Línea” or “El Despoblado.” As one of its name suggest, it’s a mostly sparsely populated area. This area is characterized by a drier climate. Low lying plants and cactuses are a feature of the landscape in many areas.
The South region is home to about 2 million. It’s the poorest and least developed region. Though with a variety of climates and vegetation, many areas have a drier climate with the corresponding predominance of low lying plants and cactuses.