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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.



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

Area 103/257

total: 112,090 sq km

land: 111,890 sq km

water: 200 sq km

Area - comparative

slightly larger than Tennessee

Land boundaries

total: 1,575 km

border countries (3): Guatemala 244 km, El Salvador 391 km, Nicaragua 940 km


823 km (Caribbean Sea 669 km, Gulf of Fonseca 163 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


mean elevation:

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

agricultural land: 28.8%

arable land 9.1%; permanent crops 4%; permanent pasture 15.7%

forest: 45.3%

other: 25.9% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

900 sq km (2012)

Total renewable water resources

95.93 cu km (2011)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)

total: 2.12 cu km/yr (16%/23%/61%)

per capita: 295.6 cu m/yr (2006)

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 and Society


noun: Honduran(s)

adjective: Honduran

Ethnic groups

mestizo (mixed Amerindian and European) 90%, Amerindian 7%, black 2%, white 1%


Spanish (official), Amerindian dialects


Roman Catholic 97%, Protestant 3%

Population 94/238


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 2015 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 34.18% (male 1,527,234/female 1,462,763)

15-24 years: 21.14% (male 943,039/female 906,273)

25-54 years: 35.73% (male 1,578,654/female 1,546,902)

55-64 years: 4.85% (male 197,602/female 226,294)

65 years and over: 4.09% (male 156,023/female 201,889) (2015 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 57.8%

youth dependency ratio: 50.1%

elderly dependency ratio: 7.7%

potential support ratio: 13.1% (2015 est.)

Median age

total: 22.3 years

male: 21.9 years

female: 22.7 years (2015 est.)

Population growth rate 70/233

1.68% (2015 est.)

Birth rate 65/224

23.14 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Death rate 182/225

5.17 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Net migration rate 153/222

-1.16 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2015 est.)


urban population: 54.7% of total population (2015)

rate of urbanization: 3.14% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

TEGUCIGALPA (capital) 1.123 million; San Pedro Sula 852,000 (2015)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 1.02 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.87 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.77 male(s)/female

total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2015 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth


note: median age a first birth among women 25-29 (2011-12 est.)

Maternal mortality rate 69/184

129 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)

Infant mortality rate 97/224

total: 18.18 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 20.59 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 15.66 deaths/1,000 live births (2015 est.)

Life expectancy at birth 150/224

total population: 71 years

male: 69.34 years

female: 72.74 years (2015 est.)

Total fertility rate 64/224

2.78 children born/woman (2015 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

73.2% (2011/12)

Health expenditures 48/191

8.7% of GDP (2013)

Physicians density

0.37 physicians/1,000 population (2005)

Hospital bed density

0.7 beds/1,000 population (2012)

Drinking water source


urban: 97.4% of population

rural: 83.8% of population

total: 91.2% of population


urban: 2.6% of population

rural: 16.2% of population

total: 8.8% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation facility access


urban: 86.7% of population

rural: 77.7% of population

total: 82.6% of population


urban: 13.3% of population

rural: 22.3% of population

total: 17.4% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

0.42% (2014 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

23,000 (2014 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

1,200 (2014 est.)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate 106/191

16.3% (2014)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight 76/138

7.1% (2012)

Education expenditures


School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 11 years

male: 11 years

female: 12 years (2013)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 113/134

total: 8%

male: 5.5%

female: 13.8% (2011 est.)


Country name

conventional long form: Republic of Honduras

conventional short form: Honduras

local long form: Republica de Honduras

local short form: Honduras

etymology: the name means "depths" in Spanish and refers to the deep anchorage in the northern Bay of Trujillo

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: none scheduled for 2013

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)


several previous; latest approved 11 January 1982, effective 20 January 1982; amended many times, last in 2012; note - in April 2015, the Honduran Supreme Court revoked two constitutional articles to allow reelection of the president (2015)

Legal system

civil law system

International law organization participation

accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction


citizenship by birth: yes

citizenship by descent: yes

dual citizenship recognized: yes

residency requirement for naturalization: 1 to 3 years


18 years of age; universal and compulsory

Executive branch

chief of state: President Juan Orlando HERNANDEZ Alvarado (since 27 January 2014); Vice Presidents Ricardo ALVAREZ, Rossana GUEVARA, and Lorena HERRERA (since 27 January 2014); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government

head of government: President Juan Orlando HERNANDEZ Alvarado (since 27 January 2014); Vice Presidents Ricardo ALVAREZ, Rossana GUEVARA, and Lorena HERRERA (since 27 January 2014)

cabinet: Cabinet appointed by president

elections/appointments: president directly elected by simple majority popular vote for a single 4-year term; election last held on 24 November 2013 (next to be held in November 2017)

election results: Juan Orlando HERNANDEZ Alvarado elected president; percent of vote - Juan Orlando HERNANDEZ Alvarado (PNH) 36.9%, Xiomara CASTRO (LIBRE) 28.8%, Mauricio VILLEDA (PL) 20.3%, Salvador NASRALLA (PAC) 13.4%, other 0.6%

Legislative branch

description: unicameral National Congress or Congreso Nacional (128 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote; members serve 4-year terms)

elections: last held on 24 November 2013 (next to be held in November 2017)

election results: percent of vote by party - PNH 33.6%, LIBRE 27.5%, PL 17.0%, PAC 15.2%, PINU 1.9%, UD 1.7%, DC 1.6%, other 1.5%; seats by party - PNH 48, LIBRE 37, PL 27, PAC 13, PINU 1, UD 1, DC 1

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Court of Justice or Corte Suprema de Justicia (15 principal judges - including the court president - and 7 alternates; court organized into civil, criminal, and labor chambers); note - the court has both judicial and constitutional jurisdiction

judge selection and term of office: court president elected by his peers; judges elected by the National Congress from candidates proposed by the Nominating Board, a diverse 7-member group of judicial officials, other government and non-government officials selected by each of their organizations; judges elected by Congress for renewable, 7-year terms

subordinate courts: courts of appeal; courts of first instance; peace courts

Political parties and leaders

Anti-Corruption Party or PAC [Salvador NASRALLA]

Christian Democratic Party or DC [Felicito AVILA Ordonez]

Democratic Unification Party or UD [Cesar HAM]

Freedom and Refounding Party or LIBRE [Jose Manuel ZELAYA Rosales]

Liberal Party or PL [Mauricio VILLEDA Bermudez]

National Party of Honduras or PNH [Gladys Aurora LOPEZ]

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

Commiittee of the Relatives of the Disappeared in Honduras or COFADEH

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

United Farm Workers' Movement of the Aguan OR MUCA

International organization participation

BCIE, CACM, CD, CELAC, EITI (candidate country), FAO, G-11, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC (suspended), IOM, IPU, ISO (subscriber), ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LAES, LAIA (observer), MIGA, MINURSO, MINUSTAH, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, Pacific Alliance (observer), PCA, Petrocaribe, SICA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNWTO, UPU, WCO (suspended), WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

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; the blue bands symbolize the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea; the white band represents the land between the two bodies of water and the peace and prosperity of its people

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 words REPUBLICA DE NICARAGUA on top and AMERICA CENTRAL on the bottom, centered in the white band

National symbol(s)

scarlet macaw, white-tailed deer; national colors: blue, white

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 - overview

Honduras, the second poorest country in Central America, suffers from extraordinarily unequal distribution of income, as well as high underemployment. While historically dependent on the export of bananas and coffee, Honduras has diversified its export base to include apparel and automobile wire harnessing.

Honduras’s economy depends heavily on US trade and remittances. The US-Central America-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) came into force in 2006 and has helped foster foreign direct investment, but physical and political insecurity, as well as crime and perceptions of corruption, may deter potential investors; about 15% of foreign direct investment is from US firms.

The economy registered modest economic growth of 2.6%-4.0% from 2010 to 2015, insufficient to improve living standards for the nearly 65% of the population in poverty. In 2015, Honduras faced rising public debt but its economy has performed better than expected due to low oil prices and improved investor confidence. The IMF continues to monitor the three-year stand-by arrangement signed in December 2014, aimed at easing Honduras’s poor fiscal position.

GDP (purchasing power parity) 112/230

$41 billion (2015 est.)

$39.61 billion (2014 est.)

$38.42 billion (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$19.94 billion (2015 est.)

GDP - real growth rate 76/225

3.5% (2015 est.)

3.1% (2014 est.)

2.8% (2013 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP) 168/230

$5,000 (2015 est.)

$4,800 (2014 est.)

$4,600 (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

Gross national saving 115/179

15.5% of GDP (2015 est.)

14.4% of GDP (2014 est.)

10.4% of GDP (2013 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 81.6%

government consumption: 15.7%

investment in fixed capital: 23.5%

investment in inventories: -0.2%

exports of goods and services: 44.4%

imports of goods and services: -65%

(2015 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 13.9%

industry: 26.4%

services: 59.7% (2015 est.)

Agriculture - products

bananas, coffee, citrus, corn, African palm; beef; timber; shrimp, tilapia, lobster, sugar, oriental vegetables


sugar, coffee, woven and knit apparel, wood products, cigars

Industrial production growth rate 76/202

3.3% (2015 est.)

Labor force 98/233

3.647 million (2015 est.)

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 39.2%

industry: 20.9%

services: 39.8% (2005 est.)

Unemployment rate 38/207

4.1% (2015 est.)

4.3% (2014 est.)

note: about one-third of the people are underemployed

Population below poverty line

60% (2010 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 0.4%

highest 10%: 42.4% (2009 est.)

Distribution of family income - Gini index 9/144

57.7 (2007)

53.8 (2003)


revenues: $3.434 billion

expenditures: $4.188 billion (2015 est.)

Taxes and other revenues 179/219

17.2% of GDP (2015 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) 141/220

-3.8% of GDP (2015 est.)

Public debt 88/176

47.4% of GDP (2015 est.)

43.4% of GDP (2014 est.)

Fiscal year

calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices) 158/226

4.2% (2015 est.)

6.1% (2014 est.)

Central bank discount rate 60/156

6.25% (31 December 2010)

Commercial bank prime lending rate 26/184

17.3% (31 December 2015 est.)

20.61% (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of narrow money 124/192

$2.167 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$2.105 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of broad money 113/193

$8.087 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$7.538 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of domestic credit 100/191

$12.24 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$11.41 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares

Current account balance 128/197

-$1.299 billion (2015 est.)

-$1.444 billion (2014 est.)

Exports 99/224

$7.759 billion (2015 est.)

$8.072 billion (2014 est.)

Exports - commodities

coffee, apparel, coffee, shrimp, automobile wire harnesses, cigars, bananas, gold, palm oil, fruit, lobster, lumber

Exports - partners

US 35.2%, Germany 8.4%, El Salvador 8%, Guatemala 6.3%, Nicaragua 5.9%, Mexico 4.4% (2014)

Imports 93/223

$10.9 billion (2015 est.)

$11.07 billion (2014 est.)

Imports - commodities

communications equipment, machinery and transport, industrial raw materials, chemical products, fuels, foodstuffs

Imports - partners

US 43.3%, Guatemala 9.4%, China 7.6%, Mexico 5.6%, El Salvador 5.1% (2014)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold 104/170

$3.543 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$3.458 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Debt - external 118/206

$7.041 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

$6.831 billion (31 December 2013 est.)

Exchange rates

lempiras (HNL) per US dollar -

22.28 (2015 est.)

21.14 (2014 est.)

21.14 (2013 est.)

19.64 (2012 est.)

18.9 (2011 est.)


Electricity - production 107/220

7.309 billion kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - consumption 117/219

5.036 billion kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - exports 80/218

79 million kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - imports 98/219

76 million kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity 110/214

1.877 million kW (2012 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels 131/214

60.9% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels 109/214

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants 80/214

28.7% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources 35/212

10.4% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Crude oil - production 148/214

0 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Crude oil - exports 137/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - imports 205/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves 147/215

0 bbl (1 January 2015 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production 195/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption 102/212

49,000 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports 84/214

11,600 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports 73/213

62,760 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Natural gas - production 202/216

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - consumption 155/215

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - exports 116/215

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - imports 209/214

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves 151/212

0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 100/212

10.33 million Mt (2012 est.)


Telephones - fixed lines 95/219

total subscriptions: 530,000

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 6 (2014 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular 97/217

total: 7.7 million

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 90 (2014 est.)

Telephone system

general assessment: fixed-line connections are increasing but still limited; competition among multiple providers of mobile-cellular services is contributing to a sharp increase in subscribership

domestic: beginning in 2003, private sub-operators allowed to provide fixed lines in order to expand telephone coverage contributing to a small increase in fixed-line teledensity; mobile-cellular subscribership is roughly 100 per 100 persons

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 (2011)

Broadcast media

multiple privately owned terrestrial TV networks, supplemented by multiple cable TV networks; Radio Honduras is the lone government-owned radio network; roughly 300 privately owned radio stations (2007)

Radio broadcast stations

AM 241, FM 53, shortwave 12 (1998)

Television broadcast stations

11 (plus 17 repeaters) (1997)

Internet country code


Internet hosts 107/232

30,955 (2012)

Internet users 103/217

total: 1.7 million

percent of population: 19.4% (2014 est.)


Airports 54/236

103 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 13

2,438 to 3,047 m: 3

1,524 to 2,437 m: 3

914 to 1,523 m: 4

under 914 m: 3 (2013)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 90

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1

914 to 1,523 m: 16

under 914 m: 73 (2013)

Railways 133/136

total: 699 km

narrow gauge: 164 km 1.067-m gauge; 115 km 1.057-m gauge; 420 km 0.914-m gauge (2014)

Roadways 123/223

total: 14,742 km

paved: 3,367 km

unpaved: 11,375 km (1,543 km summer only)

note: an additional 8,951 km of non-official roads used by the coffee industry (2012)

Waterways 84/107

465 km (most navigable only by small craft) (2012)

Merchant marine 55/156

total: 88

by type: bulk carrier 5, cargo 39, carrier 2, chemical tanker 5, container 1, passenger 4, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 21, refrigerated cargo 7, roll on/roll off 3

foreign-owned: 47 (Bahrain 5, Canada 1, Chile 1, China 2, Egypt 2, Greece 4, Israel 1, Japan 4, Lebanon 2, Montenegro 1, Panama 1, Singapore 11, South Korea 6, Taiwan 1, Thailand 2, UAE 1, UK 1, US 1) (2010)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): La Ceiba, Puerto Cortes, San Lorenzo, Tela

Military and Security

Military branches

Honduran Armed Forces (Fuerzas Armadas de Honduras, FFAA): Army, Navy (includes Naval Infantry), Honduran Air Force (Fuerza Aerea Hondurena, FAH) (2012)

Military service age and obligation

18 years of age for voluntary 2- to 3-year military service; no conscription (2012)

Military expenditures 96/132

1.05% of GDP (2012)

1.13% of GDP (2011)

1.05% of GDP (2010)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

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 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

Refugees and internally displaced persons

IDPs: at least 29,400 (violence, extortion, threats, forced recruitment by urban gangs) (2013)

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