Honduras Landscape Study
Honduras is located in Central America and is part of a region known as the “Northern Triangle” that includes El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. Honduras is made up of 18 departments and 298 municipalities (WHO, 2013). It is ranked as a lower-middle income country with a democratic constitutional republic form of government (USAID, 2015e; World Bank, 2015). The country is roughly the size of Louisiana at 111,890 square kilometers. The current population (2014) is estimated at 8.26 million, and population growth rate is two percent. There are eight recognized indigenous groups in Honduras, which make up approximately 7.2 percent of the population (WHO, 2013). Nearly half of the population is under the age of 18 (USAID, 2013). Women have a higher life expectancy than men (75.6 versus 70.7), and “based on demographic data, the typical Honduran, on average, is a woman from a rural area under the age of 18” (UAID, 2013, p. 9). Female-headed households accounted for 31.9 percent of all households in 2013 (USAID, 2013).
The Honduran economy was heavily affected by the 2008 economic downturn and a 2009 government overthrow that led to the temporary halting of foreign assistance by several world governments, including the United States (US). Since this time, the economy has recovered somewhat, showing a 3.5 percent growth in gross domestic product (GDP) in 2013 (USAID, 2014). “Improved growth, however, has not translated into reductions in poverty levels; 60 percent of the population lives in poverty and 36 percent in extreme poverty, with the highest burden on the rural poor and indigenous groups. Significant challenges to human development include natural disasters such as hurricanes, flooding, droughts and environmental degradation, which ruins crops and prevents access to food and other basic necessities” (USAID, 2014, p. 1). There are significant differences in the rural and urban population, where the rural poor representing 74 percent of the nation’s poor and 86 percent of the extremely poor in 2010 (UNDP, 2013). In addition to economic and environmental concerns, Honduras has the highest intentional homicide rate in the world, which is indicative of significant violence in the country. It is estimated that 10 percent of the Honduran GDP is lost due to the violence and crime (USAID, 2014). Honduras also ranks very poorly on the perceived corruption scale, at 126th out of 174 countries (USAID, 2015e).