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Honduras-Population Growth

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Honduras Index

In the second half of the twentieth century, Honduras underwent explosive population growth. In the 1910 census, the annual rate of population growth barely exceeded 1.5 percent. By 1950 it had reached 3 percent. From 1960 to 1990, the population growth rate climbed to 3.3 percent. By 1992 the annual population growth had slowed somewhat, but only to an estimated 2.8 percent.

The country's high birth rate has led Honduras's population to double about every twenty-five years. The 1950 census counted 1,368,605 inhabitants, almost twice as many as the 1926 census recorded. By 1974 the population had almost doubled once again. As of July 1992, the population was estimated to be 5,092,776.

Several factors have contributed to the rapid population rise. Honduras has consistently maintained high birth rates during the twentieth century. The crude birth rate (CBR--the annual number of births per 1,000 inhabitants) from the beginning to the midpoint of the century fluctuated between 41.7 and 44.5 births per 1,000 inhabitants. From around 1950 to 1975, Honduras had the highest CBR in Latin America. Since the mid-1970s, the CBR has dropped and steadied somewhat. In 1990 the CBR stood at 39 births per 1,000 inhabitants.

The total fertility rate (TFR-the average number of children a woman would bear in her lifetime) had dropped to 7.5 children per woman by the early 1970s. Since the 1970s, the TFR in Honduras has declined. In 1990 it was 5.2, and the projected TFR for the year 2000 is 4.1.

In 1993, however, the TFR varied considerably according to a woman's residence in rural or urban areas and according to income levels. Rural women had an average of 8.7 children while urban women had 5.3 children. The TFR for all upper and middle income women (rural and urban) was 5.8, while among lower income women it was approximately 8.0.

Regional differences in birth rates, coupled with internal migration, are expected to change Honduras's population distribution. The department of Cortés, with a high population growth rate, and the departments of Colón and Gracias a Dios, heretofore thinly populated areas in the northeast, are expected to become the country's fastest growing areas. The emerging population pattern is one of significant growth in the central highlands near Tegucigalpa and along the entire Caribbean coast region from San Pedro Sula east to Gracias a Dios. The departments bordering El Salvador, in the southwest region of the country, are expected to have the slowest population growth rate.

The absorption of this expanding population represents a serious challenge to the Honduran government. Already inadequate health services, as well as poor educational, employment, and housing opportunities, will be increasingly burdened by a rapidly growing and young population. In 1989 slightly more than 2 million Hondurans, or 45 percent, were between one and fourteen years old. Frustrated expectations for a better standard of living among this youthful population raise the possibility of unrest in the future.

Data as of December 1993

BackgroundOnce 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.
LocationCentral America, bordering the Caribbean Sea, between Guatemala and Nicaragua and bordering the Gulf of Fonseca (North Pacific Ocean), between El Salvador and Nicaragua
Area(sq km)total: 112,090 sq km
land: 111,890 sq km
water: 200 sq km
Geographic coordinates15 00 N, 86 30 W
Land boundaries(km)total: 1,520 km
border countries: Guatemala 256 km, El Salvador 342 km, Nicaragua 922 km

Coastline(km)820 km

Climatesubtropical in lowlands, temperate in mountains

Elevation extremes(m)lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Cerro Las Minas 2,870 m
Natural resourcestimber, 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(sq km)800 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources(cu km)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 hazardsfrequent, but generally mild, earthquakes; extremely susceptible to damaging hurricanes and floods along the Caribbean coast
Environment - current issuesurban 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 agreementsparty 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 - notehas only a short Pacific coast but a long Caribbean shoreline, including the virtually uninhabited eastern Mosquito Coast
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 2009 est.)
Age structure(%)0-14 years: 38.1% (male 1,514,544/female 1,451,862)
15-64 years: 58.3% (male 2,278,508/female 2,267,527)
65 years and over: 3.6% (male 125,991/female 154,422) (2009 est.)
Median age(years)total: 20.3 years
male: 20 years
female: 20.7 years (2009 est.)
Population growth rate(%)1.956% (2009 est.)
Birth rate(births/1,000 population)26.27 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Death rate(deaths/1,000 population)5.41 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)

Net migration rate(migrant(s)/1,000 population)-1.3 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Urbanization(%)urban population: 48% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 2.9% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
Sex ratio(male(s)/female)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 (2009 est.)
Infant mortality rate(deaths/1,000 live births)total: 24.03 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 26.97 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 20.94 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)

Life expectancy at birth(years)total population: 69.4 years
male: 67.86 years
female: 71.02 years (2009 est.)

Total fertility rate(children born/woman)3.27 children born/woman (2009 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Honduran(s)
adjective: Honduran
Ethnic groups(%)mestizo (mixed Amerindian and European) 90%, Amerindian 7%, black 2%, white 1%

Religions(%)Roman Catholic 97%, Protestant 3%
Languages(%)Spanish, Amerindian dialects

Country nameconventional long form: Republic of Honduras
conventional short form: Honduras
local long form: Republica de Honduras
local short form: Honduras
Government typedemocratic constitutional republic
Capitalname: 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 divisions18 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
Constitution11 January 1982, effective 20 January 1982; amended many times

Legal systemrooted 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

Suffrage18 years of age; universal and compulsory
Executive branchchief 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 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%; note - official results pending; LOBO is scheduled to take office 27 January 2010

Legislative branchunicameral National Congress or Congreso Nacional (128 seats; members are elected proportionally by department to serve four-year terms)
elections: 29 November 2009 (next to be held in November 2013)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PN 71, PL 45, PDC 5, PUD 4, PINU 3

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

Political pressure groups and leadersBeverage 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 participationBCIE, CACM, FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO (subscriber), ITSO, ITU, ITUC, LAES, LAIA (observer), MIGA, MINURSO, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, PetroCaribe, RG, SICA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Flag descriptionthree 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

Economy - overviewHonduras, 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.
GDP (purchasing power parity)$33.8 billion (2008 est.)
$32.5 billion (2007 est.)
$30.57 billion (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
GDP (official exchange rate)$14 billion (2008 est.)
GDP - real growth rate(%)4% (2008 est.)
6.3% (2007 est.)
6.6% (2006 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$4,400 (2008 est.)
$4,300 (2007 est.)
$4,200 (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
GDP - composition by sector(%)agriculture: 13.1%
industry: 30%
services: 56.9% (2008 est.)
Labor force2.991 million (2008 est.)

Labor force - by occupation(%)agriculture: 39.2%
industry: 20.9%
services: 39.8% (2005 est.)
Unemployment rate(%)3.5% (2008 est.)
note: high level of underemployment with up to a third of the labor force seeking more work.
Population below poverty line(%)50.7% (2004)
Household income or consumption by percentage share(%)lowest 10%: 0.7%
highest 10%: 42.2% (2006)
Distribution of family income - Gini index53.8 (2003)
56.3 (1998)
Investment (gross fixed)(% of GDP)33.4% of GDP (2008 est.)
Budgetrevenues: $2.754 billion
expenditures: $3.09 billion; including capital expenditures of $106 million (2008 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)(%)11.4% (2008 est.)
6.9% (2007 est.)

Stock of money$1.633 billion (31 December 2008)
$1.6 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of quasi money$5.574 billion (31 December 2008)
$5.239 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of domestic credit$7.172 billion (31 December 2008)
$6.298 billion (31 December 2007)
Market value of publicly traded shares$NA
Economic aid - recipient$680.8 million (2005)

Public debt(% of GDP)20.4% of GDP (2008 est.)
74.1% of GDP (2004 est.)
Agriculture - productsbananas, coffee, citrus; beef; timber; shrimp, tilapia, lobster; corn, African palm
Industriessugar, coffee, textiles, clothing, wood products

Industrial production growth rate(%)4.4% (2008 est.)

Current account balance-$1.977 billion (2008 est.)
-$1.274 billion (2007 est.)
Exports$6.046 billion (2008 est.)
$5.642 billion (2007 est.)

Exports - commodities(%)coffee, shrimp, bananas, gold, palm oil, fruit, lobster, lumber
Exports - partners(%)US 62.1%, Guatemala 5.2%, El Salvador 5%, Mexico 4.1% (2008)
Imports$10.39 billion (2008 est.)
$8.82 billion (2007 est.)

Imports - commodities(%)machinery and transport equipment, industrial raw materials, chemical products, fuels, foodstuffs
Imports - partners(%)US 50%, Guatemala 7.6%, El Salvador 5.3%, Mexico 4.7%, Costa Rica 4.2% (2008)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$2.492 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
$2.546 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Debt - external$3.209 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
$3.411 billion (31 December 2007 est.)

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

Currency (code)lempira (HNL)

Telephones - main lines in use825,800 (2008)
Telephones - mobile cellular6.211 million (2008)
Telephone systemgeneral 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
Internet country code.hn
Internet users658,500 (2008)
Airports106 (2009)
Roadways(km)total: 13,600 km
paved: 2,775 km
unpaved: 10,825 km (2000)

Ports and terminalsLa Ceiba, Puerto Cortes, San Lorenzo, Tela
Military branchesArmy, Navy (includes Naval Infantry), Honduran Air Force (Fuerza Aerea Hondurena, FAH) (2008)
Military service age and obligation(years of age)18 years of age for voluntary 2 to 3-year military service (2004)
Manpower available for military servicemales age 16-49: 1,868,940
females age 16-49: 1,825,770 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military servicemales age 16-49: 1,397,938
females age 16-49: 1,402,398 (2009 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annuallymale: 92,638
female: 88,993 (2009 est.)
Military expenditures(% of GDP)0.6% of GDP (2006 est.)
Disputes - internationalInternational 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

Electricity - production(kWh)6.05 billion kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - production by source(%)fossil fuel: 50.2%
hydro: 49.8%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Electricity - consumption(kWh)4.696 billion kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - exports(kWh)0 kWh (2008 est.)
Electricity - imports(kWh)11.8 million kWh (2007 est.)
Oil - production(bbl/day)0 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Oil - consumption(bbl/day)52,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Oil - exports(bbl/day)0 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - imports(bbl/day)46,130 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - proved reserves(bbl)0 bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
Natural gas - production(cu m)0 cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - consumption(cu m)0 cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - exports(cu m)0 cu m (2008)
Natural gas - proved reserves(cu m)0 cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate(%)0.7% (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS28,000 (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths1,900 (2007 est.)
Major infectious diseasesdegree 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)
Literacy(%)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)(years)total: 11 years
male: 11 years
female: 12 years (2004)
Education expenditures(% of GDP)3.8% of GDP (1991)

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