Dominican society has been greatly affected by its turbulent history. From foreign occupations to violent dictatorships, the people of the Dominican Republic have endured great hardships, yet society has managed to preserve their traditions and culture.
The structure of society is product of years of waves of migration, repression of certain classes and enforced hierarchy. As such, there is still limited social mobility within Dominican society, with economic status and race influencing social stratification. The upper classes are generally of European descent, whilst lower classes are descended from African slaves or Haitians. The majority of the population is comprised of the middle class, mainly mixed-race Dominicans from African and European ancestry.
The family unit within Dominican society is considered incredibly important, and has formed the basis of stability throughout all of the Dominican Republic's political and economic upheaval. Whenever possible the extended family, which usually encompasses three generations, often lives within the same vicinity. Family loyalty is a deeply ingrained characteristic of the Dominican people. In all walks of life and in every social class, the family unit is seen to provide support and a means of social identity.
The official religion of the Dominican Republic, like the vast majority of Latin America, is Roman Catholicism, with over 90% of the population considered to be Roman Catholic. While Catholicism is predominant within Dominican society, religious practice is somewhat limited. Indeed, nowadays most holidays in the Dominican Republic are far removed from the Catholic tradition.