Introduction    Honduras Top of Page
Once part of Spain's vast empire in the New World, Honduras became an independent nation in 1821. After two and a half decades of mostly military rule, a freely elected civilian government came to power in 1982. During the 1980s, Honduras proved a haven for anti-Sandinista contras fighting the Marxist Nicaraguan Government and an ally to Salvadoran Government forces fighting leftist guerrillas. The country was devastated by Hurricane Mitch in 1998, which killed about 5,600 people and caused approximately $2 billion in damage. Since then, the economy has slowly rebounded.
   Geography    Honduras Top of Page
Central America, bordering the Caribbean Sea, between Guatemala and Nicaragua and bordering the Gulf of Fonseca (North Pacific Ocean), between El Salvador and Nicaragua
Geographic coordinates:
15 00 N, 86 30 W
Map references:
Central America and the Caribbean
total: 112,090 sq km
land: 111,890 sq km
water: 200 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly larger than Tennessee
Land boundaries:
total: 1,520 km
border countries: Guatemala 256 km, El Salvador 342 km, Nicaragua 922 km
820 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: natural extension of territory or to 200 nm
subtropical in lowlands, temperate in mountains
mostly mountains in interior, narrow coastal plains
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Cerro Las Minas 2,870 m
Natural resources:
timber, gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc, iron ore, antimony, coal, fish, hydropower
Land use:
arable land: 9.53%
permanent crops: 3.21%
other: 87.26% (2005)
Irrigated land:
800 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources:
95.9 cu km (2000)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 0.86 cu km/yr (8%/12%/80%)
per capita: 119 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards:
frequent, but generally mild, earthquakes; extremely susceptible to damaging hurricanes and floods along the Caribbean coast
Environment - current issues:
urban population expanding; deforestation results from logging and the clearing of land for agricultural purposes; further land degradation and soil erosion hastened by uncontrolled development and improper land use practices such as farming of marginal lands; mining activities polluting Lago de Yojoa (the country's largest source of fresh water), as well as several rivers and streams, with heavy metals
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
has only a short Pacific coast but a long Caribbean shoreline, including the virtually uninhabited eastern Mosquito Coast
   People    Honduras Top of Page
note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2010 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 37.4% (male 1,525,348/female 1,461,787)
15-64 years: 58.9% (male 2,360,771/female 2,346,885)
65 years and over: 3.7% (male 131,474/female 163,150) (2010 est.)
Median age:
total: 20.7 years
male: 20.3 years
female: 21.1 years (2010 est.)
Population growth rate:
1.935% (2010 est.)
Birth rate:
25.61 births/1,000 population (2010 est.)
Death rate:
4.99 deaths/1,000 population (July 2010 est.)
Net migration rate:
-1.27 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2010 est.)
urban population: 48% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 2.9% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.81 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2010 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 21.04 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 23.82 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 18.12 deaths/1,000 live births (2010 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 70.51 years
male: 68.82 years
female: 72.28 years (2010 est.)
Total fertility rate:
3.17 children born/woman (2010 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.7% (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
28,000 (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
1,900 (2007 est.)
Major infectious diseases:
degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria
water contact disease: leptospirosis (2009)
noun: Honduran(s)
adjective: Honduran
Ethnic groups:
mestizo (mixed Amerindian and European) 90%, Amerindian 7%, black 2%, white 1%
Roman Catholic 97%, Protestant 3%
Spanish, Amerindian dialects
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 80%
male: 79.8%
female: 80.2% (2001 census)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 11 years
male: 11 years
female: 12 years (2004)
Education expenditures:
3.8% of GDP (1991)
   Government    Honduras Top of Page
Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Honduras
conventional short form: Honduras
local long form: Republica de Honduras
local short form: Honduras
Government type:
democratic constitutional republic
name: Tegucigalpa
geographic coordinates: 14 06 N, 87 13 W
time difference: UTC-6 (1 hour behind Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins second Sunday in March; ends first Sunday in November
Administrative divisions:
18 departments (departamentos, singular - departamento); Atlantida, Choluteca, Colon, Comayagua, Copan, Cortes, El Paraiso, Francisco Morazan, Gracias a Dios, Intibuca, Islas de la Bahia, La Paz, Lempira, Ocotepeque, Olancho, Santa Barbara, Valle, Yoro
15 September 1821 (from Spain)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 15 September (1821)
11 January 1982, effective 20 January 1982; amended many times
Legal system:
rooted in Roman and Spanish civil law with increasing influence of English common law; recent judicial reforms include abandoning Napoleonic legal codes in favor of the oral adversarial system; accepts ICJ jurisdiction with reservations
18 years of age; universal and compulsory
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Porfirio LOBO Sosa (since 27 January 2010); Vice President Maria Antonieta Guillen de BOGRAN (since 27 January 2010); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Porfirio LOBO Sosa (since 27 January 2010); Vice President Maria Antonieta Guillen de BOGRAN (since 27 January 2010)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by president
(For more information visit the World Leaders website )
elections: president elected by popular vote for a four-year term; election last held on 29 November 2009 (next to be held in November 2013)
election results: Porfirio "Pepe" LOBO Sosa elected president; percent of vote - Porfirio "Pepe" LOBO Sosa 56.3%, Elvin SANTOS Lozano 38.1%, other 5.6%
Legislative branch:
unicameral National Congress or Congreso Nacional (128 seats; members elected proportionally by department to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held on 29 November 2009 (next to be held in November 2013)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PNH 71, PL 45, PDC 5, PUD 4, PINU 3
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court of Justice or Corte Suprema de Justicia (15 judges are elected for seven-year terms by the National Congress)
Political parties and leaders:
Christian Democratic Party or PDC [Lucas Evangelisto AGUILERA Pineda]; Democratic Unification Party or PUD [Cesar HAM]; Liberal Party or PL [Roberto MICHELETTI Bain]; National Party of Honduras or PNH [Antonio ALVAREZ Arias]; Social Democratic Innovation and Unity Party or PINU [Jorge Rafael AGUILAR Paredes]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Beverage and Related Industries Syndicate or STIBYS; Committee for the Defense of Human Rights in Honduras or CODEH; Confederation of Honduran Workers or CTH; Coordinating Committee of Popular Organizations or CCOP; General Workers Confederation or CGT; Honduran Council of Private Enterprise or COHEP; National Association of Honduran Campesinos or ANACH; National Union of Campesinos or UNC; Popular Bloc or BP; United Confederation of Honduran Workers or CUTH
International organization participation:
BCIE, CACM, FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC (suspended), IOM, ISO (subscriber), ITSO, ITU, ITUC, LAES, LAIA (observer), MIGA, MINURSO, NAM, OAS (suspended), OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, PetroCaribe, RG (suspended), SICA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNWTO, UPU, WCO (suspended), WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires David Alfonso HERNANDEZ Caballero
recent ambassador(2011): Ambassador Jorge Ramon HERNANDEZ Alcerro
chancery: Suite 4-M, 3007 Tilden Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 966-2604
FAX: [1] (202) 966-9751
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Phoenix, San Francisco
honorary consulate(s): Jacksonville
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Hugo LLORENS
embassy: Avenida La Paz, Apartado Postal No. 3453, Tegucigalpa
mailing address: American Embassy, APO AA 34022, Tegucigalpa
telephone: [504] 236-9320, 238-5114
FAX: [504] 238-4357
Flag description:
three equal horizontal bands of blue (top), white, and blue, with five blue, five-pointed stars arranged in an X pattern centered in the white band; the stars represent the members of the former Federal Republic of Central America - Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua
note: similar to the flag of El Salvador, which features a round emblem encircled by the words REPUBLICA DE EL SALVADOR EN LA AMERICA CENTRAL centered in the white band; also similar to the flag of Nicaragua, which features a triangle encircled by the word REPUBLICA DE NICARAGUA on top and AMERICA CENTRAL on the bottom, centered in the white band
National anthem:

name: "Himno Nacional de Honduras" (National Anthem of Honduras)
lyrics/music: Augusto Constancio COELLO/Carlos HARTLING
note: adopted 1915; the anthem's seven verses chronicle Honduran history; on official occasions, only the chorus and last verse are sung
   Economy    Honduras Top of Page
Economy - overview:
Honduras, the second poorest country in Central America, suffers from extraordinarily unequal distribution of income, as well as high unemployment and underemployment. The economy relies heavily on a narrow range of exports, notably apparel, bananas, and coffee, making it vulnerable to natural disasters and shifts in commodity prices; however, investments in the maquila and non-traditional export sectors are slowly diversifying the economy. Nearly half of Honduras's economic activity is directly tied to the US, with exports to the US equivalent to 30% of GDP and remittances for another 22%. The US-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) came into force in 2006 and has helped foster investment, but physical and political insecurity may deter potential investors. The economy is expected to register marginally positive economic growth in 2010, insufficient to improve living standards for the nearly 60% of the population in poverty. Despite improvements in tax collections, the government's fiscal deficit is growing due to increases in current expenditures from increasing public wages. Tegucigalpa lacks an IMF agreement; its Stand-By Agreement expired in April 2009 and former President ZELAYA's commitment to a fixed exchange rate undermined a follow-on.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$33.17 billion (2009 est.)
$34.19 billion (2008 est.)
$32.88 billion (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars
GDP (official exchange rate):
$14.75 billion (2009 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
-3% (2009 est.)
4% (2008 est.)
6.3% (2007 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$4,200 (2009 est.)
$4,500 (2008 est.)
$4,400 (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 14.2%
industry: 27.9%
services: 57.9% (2009 est.)
Labor force:
3.052 million (2009 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 39.2%
industry: 20.9%
services: 39.8% (2005 est.)
Unemployment rate:
6% (2009 est.) 3.5% (2008 est.)
note: about 36% are unemployed or underemployed
Population below poverty line:
59% (2008)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 0.7%
highest 10%: 42.2% (2006)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
53.8 (2003) 56.3 (1998)
Investment (gross fixed):
29.5% of GDP (2009 est.)
revenues: $2.819 billion
expenditures: $3.4 billion (2009 est.)
Public debt:
24.3% of GDP (2009 est.) 20.4% of GDP (2008 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
5.9% (2009 est.) 11.4% (2008 est.)
Central bank discount rate:
Commercial bank prime lending rate:
17.94% (31 December 2008) 16.61% (31 December 2007)
Stock of narrow money:
$1.633 billion (31 December 2008) $1.6 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of broad money:
$5.574 billion (31 December 2008) $5.239 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of domestic credit:
$7.172 billion (31 December 2008) $6.298 billion (31 December 2007)
Market value of publicly traded shares:
Agriculture - products:
bananas, coffee, citrus, corn, African palm; beef; timber; shrimp, tilapia, lobster
sugar, coffee, textiles, clothing, wood products, cigars
Industrial production growth rate:
-7.4% (2009 est.)
Electricity - production:
6.05 billion kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - consumption:
4.696 billion kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2008 est.)
Electricity - imports:
11.8 million kWh (2007 est.)
Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Oil - consumption:
52,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Oil - exports:
0 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - imports:
46,130 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - proved reserves:
0 bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
0 cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
0 cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
Current account balance:
-$1.327 billion (2009 est.) -$1.96 billion (2008 est.)
$5.196 billion (2009 est.) $6.458 billion (2008 est.)
Exports - commodities:
apparel, coffee, shrimp, wire harnessing, cigars, bananas, gold, palm oil, fruit, lobster, lumber
Exports - partners:
US 61.7%, El Salvador 5.5%, Guatemala 5.2%, Mexico 4.1% (2008)
$7.788 billion (2009 est.) $10.51 billion (2008 est.)
Imports - commodities:
machinery and transport equipment, industrial raw materials, chemical products, fuels, foodstuffs
Imports - partners:
US 49.8%, Guatemala 7.6%, El Salvador 6.1%, Mexico 4.7%, Costa Rica 4.2% (2008)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$2.127 billion (31 December 2009 est.) $2.493 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
Debt - external:
$3.315 billion (31 December 2009 est.) $3.209 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
Exchange rates:
lempiras (HNL) per US dollar - 18.9 (2009), 18.983 (2008), 18.9 (2007), 18.895 (2006), 18.92 (2005)
   Communications    Honduras Top of Page
Telephones - main lines in use:
825,800 (2008)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
6.211 million (2008)
Telephone system:
general assessment: the number of fixed-line connections are increasing but still limited; competition among multiple providers of mobile-cellular services is contributing to a sharp increase in the number of subscribers
domestic: beginning in 2003, private sub-operators allowed to provide fixed-lines in order to expand telephone coverage contributing to an increase in fixed-line teledensity to roughly 10 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular subscribership exceeded 80 per 100 persons in 2008
international: country code - 504; landing point for both the Americas Region Caribbean Ring System (ARCOS-1) and the MAYA-1 fiber optic submarine cable system that together provide connectivity to South and Central America, parts of the Caribbean, and the US; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean); connected to Central American Microwave System
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 241, FM 53, shortwave 12 (1998)
Television broadcast stations:
11 (plus 17 repeaters) (1997)
Broadcast media:
multiple privately-owned terrestrial television networks, supplemented by multiple cable TV networks; Radio Honduras is the lone government-owned radio network; roughly 300 privately-owned radio stations (2007)
Internet country code:
Internet hosts:
16,075 (2010)
Internet users:
731,700 (2009)
   Transportation    Honduras Top of Page
106 (2009)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 12
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 4
under 914 m: 3 (2009)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 94
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 15
under 914 m: 77 (2009)
total: 699 km
narrow gauge: 279 km 1.067-m gauge; 420 km 0.914-m gauge (2008)
total: 13,600 km
paved: 2,775 km
unpaved: 10,825 km (2000)
465 km (most navigable only by small craft) (2008)
Merchant marine:
total: 123
by type: bulk carrier 10, cargo 57, chemical tanker 6, container 1, liquefied gas 1, passenger 4, passenger/cargo 7, petroleum tanker 25, refrigerated cargo 7, roll on/roll off 4, specialized tanker 1
foreign-owned: 42 (Bangladesh 1, Canada 1, China 3, Egypt 3, Greece 4, Hong Kong 1, Israel 1, Japan 4, South Korea 6, Lebanon 1, Mexico 1, Singapore 12, Taiwan 2, Tanzania 1, Vietnam 1) (2008)
Ports and terminals:
La Ceiba, Puerto Cortes, San Lorenzo, Tela
   Military    Honduras Top of Page
Military branches:
Army, Navy (includes Naval Infantry), Honduran Air Force (Fuerza Aerea Hondurena, FAH) (2008)
Military service age and obligation:
18 years of age for voluntary 2 to 3-year military service (2004)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 1,989,556
females age 16-49: 1,939,462 (2010 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 1,483,292
females age 16-49: 1,502,788 (2010 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 94,501
female: 90,757 (2010 est.)
Military expenditures:
0.6% of GDP (2006 est.)
   Transnational Issues    Honduras Top of Page
International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled on the delimitation of "bolsones" (disputed areas) along the El Salvador-Honduras border in 1992 with final settlement by the parties in 2006 after an Organization of American States (OAS) survey and a further ICJ ruling in 2003; the 1992 ICJ ruling advised a tripartite resolution to a maritime boundary in the Gulf of Fonseca with consideration of Honduran access to the Pacific; El Salvador continues to claim tiny Conejo Island, not mentioned in the ICJ ruling, off Honduras in the Gulf of Fonseca; Honduras claims the Belizean-administered Sapodilla Cays off the coast of Belize in its constitution, but agreed to a joint ecological park around the cays should Guatemala consent to a maritime corridor in the Caribbean under the OAS-sponsored 2002 Belize-Guatemala Differendum; memorials and countermemorials were filed by the parties in Nicaragua's 1999 and 2001 proceedings against Honduras and Colombia at the ICJ over the maritime boundary and territorial claims in the western Caribbean Sea - final public hearings are scheduled for 2007
Illicit drugs:
transshipment point for drugs and narcotics; illicit producer of cannabis, cultivated on small plots and used principally for local consumption; corruption is a major problem; some money-laundering activity

This page was last updated on 14 May 2009


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