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  Introduction Back To Top

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.

  Geography Back To Top

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 0.86 cu km/yr (8%/12%/80%)
per capita: 119 cu m/yr (2000)

Total renewable water resources:
95.9 cu km (2000)

Land boundaries:
total: 1,520 km
border countries: Guatemala 256 km, El Salvador 342 km, Nicaragua 922 km

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

subtropical in lowlands, temperate in mountains

Map references:
Central America and the Caribbean

Geographic coordinates:
15 00 N, 86 30 W

Natural resources:
timber, gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc, iron ore, antimony, coal, fish, hydropower

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Cerro Las Minas 2,870 m

mostly mountains in interior, narrow coastal plains

Geography - note:
has only a short Pacific coast but a long Caribbean shoreline, including the virtually uninhabited eastern Mosquito Coast

total: 112,090 sq km
land: 111,890 sq km
water: 200 sq km

Central America, bordering the Caribbean Sea, between Guatemala and Nicaragua and bordering the Gulf of Fonseca (North Pacific Ocean), between El Salvador and Nicaragua

820 km

Area - comparative:
slightly larger than Tennessee

Irrigated land:
800 sq km (2003)

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

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

Natural hazards:
frequent, but generally mild, earthquakes; extremely susceptible to damaging hurricanes and floods along the Caribbean coast

Land use:
arable land: 9.53%
permanent crops: 3.21%
other: 87.26% (2005)

  People Back To Top

Total fertility rate:
3.38 children born/woman (2008 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.82 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
1.8% (2003 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
63,000 (2003 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 69.37 years
male: 67.81 years
female: 71.01 years (2008 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 (2008)

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 80%
male: 79.8%
female: 80.2% (2001 census)

Net migration rate:
-1.33 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)

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

Median age:
total: 20 years
male: 19.7 years
female: 20.4 years (2008 est.)

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 2008 est.)

Education expenditures:
3.8% of GDP (1991)

Population growth rate:
2.024% (2008 est.)

Spanish, Amerindian dialects

Death rate:
5.36 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
total: 24.61 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 27.63 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 21.43 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:
4,100 (2003 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 11 years
male: 11 years
female: 12 years (2004)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 38.7% (male 1,508,835/female 1,446,530)
15-64 years: 57.8% (male 2,210,187/female 2,203,620)
65 years and over: 3.5% (male 121,839/female 148,316) (2008 est.)

Birth rate:
26.93 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Roman Catholic 97%, Protestant 3%

noun: Honduran(s)
adjective: Honduran

  Government Back To Top

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

National holiday:
Independence Day, 15 September (1821)

18 years of age; universal and compulsory

Government type:
democratic constitutional republic

Political pressure groups and leaders:
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

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Roberto FLORES BERMUDEZ
chancery: Suite 4-M, 3007 Tilden Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 966-7702
FAX: [1] (202) 966-9751
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Phoenix, San Francisco
honorary consulate(s): Boston, Detroit, Jacksonville

International organization participation:

Legislative branch:
unicameral National Congress or Congreso Nacional (128 seats; members are elected proportionally by department to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 27 November 2005 (next to be held in November 2009)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PL 62, PN 55, PUD 5, PDC 4, PINU 2

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

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; 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

15 September 1821 (from Spain)

Country name (Goverment):
conventional long form: Republic of Honduras
conventional short form: Honduras
local long form: Republica de Honduras
local short form: Honduras

Political parties and leaders:
Christian Democratic Party or PDC [Felicito AVILA]; Democratic Unification Party or PUD [Cesar HAM]; Liberal Party or PL [Patricia RODAS]; National Innovation and Unity Party or PINU [Jorge AQUILAR Paredes]; National Party of Honduras or PN [Porfirio LOBO]

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

11 January 1982, effective 20 January 1982; amended many times

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Jose Manuel ZELAYA Rosales (since 27 January 2006); Vice President Commissioner Aristides MEJIA Carranza (since 1 February 2009); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government; because the president and vice president are elected on the same ticket, the position of "vice president commissioner" was created after Vice President Elvin SANTOS resigned in late 2008 to run for president in the November 2009 election
head of government: President Jose Manuel ZELAYA Rosales (since 27 January 2006); Vice President Commissioner Aristides MEJIA Carranza (since 1 February 2009)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by president
elections: president elected by popular vote for a four-year term; election last held 27 November 2005 (next to be held in November 2009)
election results: Jose Manuel ZELAYA Rosales elected president - 49.8%, Porfirio "Pepe" LOBO Sosa 46.1%, other 4.1%

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

Judicial branch:
Supreme Court of Justice or Corte Suprema de Justicia (15 judges are elected for seven-year terms by the National Congress)

  Economy Back To Top

Exports - partners:
US 67.2%, El Salvador 4.9%, Guatemala 3.9% (2007)

Electricity - consumption:
4.233 billion kWh (2006 est.)

Central bank discount rate:

Electricity - imports:
11.8 million kWh (2007 est.)

Current account balance:
-$2.047 billion (2008 est.)

Debt - external:
$3.602 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Unemployment rate:
27.8% (2007 est.)

Oil - exports:
417.9 bbl/day (2005)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$3,700 (2008 est.)

Investment (gross fixed):
31.5% of GDP (2008 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:
$6.298 billion (31 December 2007)

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$28.48 billion (2008 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):
$13.78 billion (2008 est.)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:
53.8 (2003)

Exchange rates:
lempiras (HNL) per US dollar - 18.983 (2008 est.), 18.9 (2007), 18.895 (2006), 18.92 (2005), 18.206 (2004)

GDP - real growth rate:
2.3% (2008 est.)

Stock of money:
$1.573 billion (31 December 2007)

Labor force:
2.892 million (2008 est.)

Imports - partners:
US 52.4%, Guatemala 7.1%, El Salvador 5.2%, Mexico 4.5%, Costa Rica 4.2% (2007)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
11.9% (2008 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 13.4%
industry: 28.2%
services: 58.5% (2008 est.)

Oil - imports:
44,040 bbl/day (2005)

$6.236 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Natural gas - consumption:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Currency (code):
lempira (HNL)

Economy - overview:
Honduras, the second poorest country in Central America, has an extraordinarily unequal distribution of income and high unemployment. The economy relies heavily on a narrow range of exports, notably 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. Economic growth remains dependent on the US economy its largest trading partner, and will decline in 2009 as a result of reduction in export demand and tightening global credit markets. Remittances represent over a quarter of GDP or nearly three-quarters of exports. The US-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) came into force in 2006 and has helped foster investment. Despite improvements in tax collections, the government's fiscal deficit is growing due to increases in current expenditures and financial losses from the state energy and telephone companies.

Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Imports - commodities:
machinery and transport equipment, industrial raw materials, chemical products, fuels, foodstuffs

sugar, coffee, textiles, clothing, wood products

Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2007 est.)

Population below poverty line:
50.7% (2004)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
16.61% (31 December 2007)

Stock of quasi money:
$5.266 billion (31 December 2007)

Electricity - production:
5.753 billion kWh (2006 est.)

$10.2 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Oil - proved reserves:
0 bbl (1 January 2006 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 39.2%
industry: 20.9%
services: 39.8% (2005 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves:
0 cu m (1 January 2006 est.)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$2.096 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Oil - consumption:
46,830 bbl/day (2006 est.)

Public debt:
21% of GDP (2008 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares:

Currency code:

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 1.2%
highest 10%: 42.2% (2003)

Exports - commodities:
coffee, shrimp, bananas, gold, palm oil, fruit, lobster, lumber

Economic aid - recipient:
$680.8 million (2005)

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 50.2%
hydro: 49.8%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)

Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

revenues: $2.628 billion
expenditures: $3.183 billion; including capital expenditures of $106 million (2008 est.)

Fiscal year:
calendar year

Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2007 est.)

  Communications Back To Top

Internet users:
344,100 (2006)

Telephones - main lines in use:
713,600 (2006)

570,000 (1997)

Internet country code:

Radio broadcast stations:
AM 241, FM 53, shortwave 12 (1998)

2.45 million (1997)

Telephones - mobile cellular:
2.241 million (2006)

Television broadcast stations:
11 (plus 17 repeaters) (1997)

Telephone system:
general assessment: inadequate system
domestic: beginning in 2003, private sub-operators allowed to provide fixed-lines in order to expand telephone coverage; fixed-line teledensity has increased to about 10 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular telephone service has been increasing rapidly and subscribership in 2006 exceeded 30 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

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
8 (2000)

Internet hosts:
13,370 (2008)

  Transportation Back To Top

465 km (most navigable only by small craft) (2008)

total: 699 km
narrow gauge: 279 km 1.067-m gauge; 420 km 0.914-m gauge (2006)

Ports and terminals:
La Ceiba, Puerto Cortes, San Lorenzo, Tela

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)

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 (2007)

total: 13,600 km
paved: 2,775 km
unpaved: 10,825 km (2000)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 100
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 15
under 914 m: 83 (2007)

112 (2007)

  Military Back To Top

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: 1,868,940
females age 16-49: 1,825,770 (2008 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 1,359,406
females age 16-49: 1,371,418 (2008 est.)

Military branches:
Army, Navy (includes Naval Infantry), Honduran Air Force (Fuerza Aerea Hondurena, FAH) (2008)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 90,876
female: 87,292 (2008 est.)

Military expenditures:
0.6% of GDP (2006 est.)

  Transnational Issues Back To Top

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 (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

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