Honduras was home to several important Mesoamerican cultures, most notably the Maya, before the Spanish invaded in the sixteenth century. The Spanish introduced Roman Catholicism and the now predominant Spanish language, along with numerous customs that have blended with the indigenous culture. Honduras became independent in 1821 and has since been a republic, although it has consistently endured much social strife and political instability, and remains one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere. Honduras has the world's highest murder rate.
Honduras spans about 112,492 km2 and has a population exceeding 9 million. Its northern portions are part of the Western Caribbean Zone, as reflected in the area's demographics and culture. Honduras is known for its rich natural resources, including minerals, coffee, tropical fruit, and sugar cane, as well as for its growing textiles industry, which serves the international market.
The literal meaning of the term "Honduras" is "depths" in Spanish. The name could either refer to the bay of Trujillo as an anchorage, fondura in the Leonese dialect of Spanish, or to Columbus's alleged quote that "Gracias a Dios que hemos salido de esas Honduras" ("Thank God we have departed from those depths").
It was not until the end of the 16th century that Honduras was used for the whole province. Prior to 1580, Honduras only referred to the eastern part of the province, and Higueras referred to the western part. Another early name is Guaymuras, revived as the name for the political dialogue in 2009 that took place in Honduras as opposed to Costa Rica.
Hondurans are often referred to as Catracho or Catracha (fem) in Spanish. The word was coined by Nicaraguans and derives from the last name of the Spanish Honduran General Florencio Xatruch, who in 1857 led Honduran armed forces against an attempted invasion by North American adventurer William Walker. The nickname is considered complimentary, not derogatory.
In pre-Columbian times, modern Honduras was part of the Mesoamerican cultural area. In the west, Mayan civilization flourished for hundreds of years. The dominant state within Honduras' borders was in Copán. Copán fell with the other Lowland centres during the conflagrations of the Terminal Classic in the 9th century. The Maya of this civilization survive in western Honduras as the Ch'orti', isolated from their Choltian linguistic peers to the west.
Remnants of other Pre-Columbian cultures are found throughout the country. Archaeologists have studied sites such as Naco (es) and La Sierra in the Naco Valley, Los Naranjos on Lake Yojoa, Yarumela in the Comayagua Valley, La Ceiba and Salitron Viejo (both now under the Cajon Dam reservoir), Selin Farm and Cuyamel in the Aguan valley, Cerro Palenque, Travesia, Curruste, Ticamaya, Despoloncal in the lower Ulua river valley, and many others.
On his fourth and the final voyage to the New World in 1502, Christopher Columbus landed near the modern town of Trujillo, near Guaimoreto Lagoon, becaming the first European to visit the Bay Islands on the coast of Honduras. On 30 July 1502 Columbus sent his brother Bartholomew to explore the islands and Bartholomew encountered a Mayan trading vessel from Yucatán, carrying well-dressed Maya and a rich cargo. Bartholomew's men stole the cargo they wanted and kidnapped the ship's elderly captain to serve as an interpreter in the first recorded encounter between the Spanish and the Maya.
In March 1524, Gil González Dávila became the first Spaniard to enter Honduras as a conquistador. followed by Hernán Cortés, had brought forces down from Mexico. Much of the conquest took place in the following two decades, first by groups loyal to Cristóbal de Olid, and then by those loyal of Francisco Montejo but most particularly by those following Alvarado. In addition to Spanish resources, the conquerors relied heavily on armed forces from Mexico—Tlaxcalans and Mexica armies of thousands who remained garrisoned in the region.
Resistance to conquest was led in particular by Lempira, and many regions in the north never fell to the Spanish, notably the Miskito Kingdom. After the Spanish conquest, Honduras became part of Spain's vast empire in the New World within the Kingdom of Guatemala. Trujillo and Gracias were the first city-capitals. The Spanish ruled the region for approximately three centuries.
Honduras was organized as a province of the Kingdom of Guatemala and the capital was fixed, first at Trujillo on the Atlantic coast, and later at Comayagua, and finally at Tegucigalpa in the central part of the country.
Silver mining was a key factor in the Spanish conquest and settlement of Honduras. Initially the mines were worked by local people through the encomienda system, but as disease and resistance made this option less available, slaves from other parts of Central America were brought in. When local slave trading stopped at the end of the sixteenth century, African slaves, mostly from Angola, were imported. After about 1650, very few slaves or other outside workers arrived in Honduras.
Although the Spanish conquered the southern or Pacific portion of Honduras fairly quickly, they were less successful on the northern, or Atlantic side. They managed to found a few towns along the coast, at Puerto Caballos and Trujillo in particular, but failed to conquer the eastern portion of the region and many pockets of independent indigenous people as well. The Miskito Kingdom in the northeast was particularly effective at resisting conquest. The Miskito Kingdom found support from northern European privateers, pirates and especially the British (formerly English) colony of Jamaica, which placed much of its territory under its protection after 1740.
Honduras gained independence from Spain in 1821 and was a part of the First Mexican Empire until 1823, when it became part of the United Provinces of Central America. It has been an independent republic and has held regular elections since 1838. In the 1840s and 1850s Honduras participated in several failed attempts at Central American unity, such as the Confederation of Central America (1842–1845), the covenant of Guatemala (1842), the Diet of Sonsonate (1846), the Diet of Nacaome (1847) and National Representation in Central America (1849–1852). Although Honduras eventually adopted the name Republic of Honduras, the unionist ideal never waned, and Honduras was one of the Central American countries that pushed the hardest for a policy of regional unity.
Neoliberal policies favoring international trade and investment began in the 1870s, and soon foreign interests became involved, first in shipping from the north coast, especially tropical fruit and most notably bananas, and then in building railroads. In 1888, a projected railroad line from the Caribbean coast to the capital, Tegucigalpa, ran out of money when it reached San Pedro Sula. As a result, San Pedro grew into the nation's primary industrial center and second-largest city. Comayagua was the capital of Honduras until 1880, when the capital moved to Tegucigalpa.
Since independence, nearly 300 small internal rebellions and civil wars have occurred in the country, including some changes of régime.
In the late nineteenth century, Honduras granted land and substantial exemptions to several US-based fruit and infrastructure companies in return for developing the country's northern regions. Thousands of workers came to the north coast as a result to work in banana plantations and other businesses that grew up around the export industry. Banana-exporting companies, dominated until 1930 by the Cuyamel Fruit Company, as well as the United Fruit Company, and Standard Fruit Company, built an enclave economy in northern Honduras, controlling infrastructure and creating self-sufficient, tax-exempt sectors that contributed relatively little to economic growth. American troops landed in Honduras in 1903, 1907, 1911, 1912, 1919, 1924 and 1925. In 1904 the writer O. Henry coined the term "Banana republic" to describe Honduras.
In 1904, the author known as O.Henry (William Sydney Porter, 1862–1910) published a book called Cabbages and Kings, about a fictional country, Anchuria, inspired by his experiences in Honduras, where he had lived for six months. In The Admiral, O.Henry refers to the nation as a "small maritime banana republic"; naturally, the fruit was the entire basis of its economy. According to a literary analyst writing for The Economist, "his phrase neatly conjures up the image of a tropical, agrarian country. But its real meaning is sharper: it refers to the fruit companies from the United States that came to exert extraordinary influence over the politics of Honduras and its neighbors.
In addition to drawing Central American workers north, the fruit companies also encouraged immigration of workers from the English-speaking Caribbean, notably Jamaica and Belize, which introduced an African-descended, English-speaking and largely Protestant population into the country, although many of these workers left following changes to immigration law in 1939. Honduras joined the Allied Nations after Pearl Harbor, on 8 December 1941, and signed the Declaration by United Nations on 1 January 1942 along with twenty-five other governments.
Constitutional crises in the 1940s led to reforms in the 1950s. One reform gave workers permission to organize, and a 1954 general strike paralyzed the northern part of the country for more than two months, but led to reforms. In 1963 a military coup unseated democratically-elected President Ramón Villeda Morales.
In 1969 Honduras and El Salvador fought what became known as the Football War. Border tensions led to acrimony between the two countries after Oswaldo López Arellano, a president of Honduras, blamed the deteriorating Honduran economy on immigrants from El Salvador. The relationship reached a low when El Salvador met Honduras for a three-round football elimination match preliminary to the World Cup.
Tensions escalated and on 14 July 1969, the Salvadoran army launched an attack on the Honduran army. The Organization of American States negotiated a cease-fire which took effect on 20 July and brought about a withdrawal of Salvadoran troops in early August. Contributing factors to the conflict were a boundary dispute and the presence of thousands of Salvadorans living in Honduras illegally. After the week-long war as many as 130,000 Salvadoran immigrants were expelled.
Hurricane Fifi caused severe damage when it skimmed the northern coast of Honduras on 18 and 19 September 1974. Melgar Castro (1975–78) and Paz Garcia (1978–82) largely built the current physical infrastructure and telecommunications system of Honduras.
In 1979, the country returned to civilian rule. A constituent assembly was popularly elected in April 1980 to write a new constitution, and general elections were held in November 1981. The constitution was approved in 1982 and the PLH government of Roberto Suazo won the election with a promise to carry out an ambitious program of economic and social development to tackle the recession Honduras was in. He launched ambitious social and economic development projects sponsored by American development aid. Honduras became host to the largest Peace Corps mission in the world, and nongovernmental and international voluntary agencies proliferated. The Peace Corps withdrew its volunteers in 2012, citing safety concerns.
During the early 1980s the United States established a continuing military presence in Honduras to support El Salvador, the Contra guerrillas fighting the Nicaraguan government, and also develop an air strip and modern port in Honduras. Though spared the bloody civil wars wracking its neighbors, the Honduran army quietly waged campaigns against Marxist-Leninist militias such as the Cinchoneros Popular Liberation Movement, notorious for kidnappings and bombings, and against many non-militants as well. The operation included a CIA-backed campaign of extrajudicial killings by government-backed units, most notably Battalion 316.
In 1998, Hurricane Mitch caused massive and widespread destruction. Honduran President Carlos Roberto Flores said that fifty years of progress in the country had been reversed. Mitch destroyed about 70% of the crops and an estimated 70–80% of the transportation infrastructure, including nearly all bridges and secondary roads. Across Honduras 33,000 houses were destroyed, and an additional 50,000 damaged. Some 5,000 people killed, and 12,000 more injured. Total losses were estimated at $3 billion USD.
The 2008 Honduran floods were severe and damaged or destroyed around half of the roads as a result.
In 2009, a constitutional crisis resulted when power transferred in a coup from the president to the head of Congress. The Organization of American States (OAS) suspended Honduras because it did not feel its government was legitimate.
Countries around the world, the OAS, and the United Nations formally and unanimously condemned the action as a coup d'état, refusing to recognize the de facto government, even though the lawyers consulted by the Library of Congress submitted to the United States Congress an opinion that declared the coup legal. The Honduran Supreme Court also ruled that the proceedings had been legal. The government that followed the de facto government established a truth and reconciliation commission, Comisión de la Verdad y Reconciliación, which after more than a year of research and debate concluded that the ousting had been a coup d'état, and illegal in the commission's opinion.
The north coast of Honduras borders the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean lies south through the Gulf of Fonseca. Honduras consists mainly of mountains, with narrow plains along the coasts. A large undeveloped lowland jungle, La Mosquitia lies in the northeast, and the heavily populated lowland Sula valley in the northwest. In La Mosquitia lies the UNESCO world-heritage site Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve, with the Coco River which divides Honduras from Nicaragua.
The Islas de la Bahía and the Swan Islands are off the north coast. Misteriosa Bank and Rosario Bank, 130 to 130 to 150 kilometres (81 to 93 miles) north of the Swan Islands, fall within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of Honduras.
Natural resources include timber, gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc, iron ore, antimony, coal, fish, shrimp, and hydropower.
The climate varies from tropical in the lowlands to temperate in the mountains. The central and southern regions are relatively hotter and less humid than the northern coast.
The region is considered a biodiversity hotspot because of the many plant and animal species found there. Like other countries in the region, it contains vast biological resources. Honduras hosts more than 6,000 species of vascular plants, of which 630 (described so far) are orchids; around 250 reptiles and amphibians, more than 700 bird species, and 110 mammal species, of which half are bats.
In the northeastern region of La Mosquitia lies the Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve, a lowland rainforest which is home to a great diversity of life. The reserve was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites List in 1982.
Honduras has rain forests, cloud forests (which can rise up to nearly three thousand metres or 9,800 feet above sea level), mangroves, savannas and mountain ranges with pine and oak trees, and the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System. In the Bay Islands there are bottlenose dolphins, manta rays, parrot fish, schools of blue tang and whale shark.
Deforestation resulting from logging is rampant in Olancho Department. The clearing of land for agriculture is prevalent in the largely undeveloped La Mosquitia region, causing land degradation and soil erosion.
Lake Yojoa, which is Honduras' largest source of fresh water, is polluted by heavy metals produced from mining activities. Some rivers and streams are also polluted by mining.
Honduras is governed within a framework of a presidential representative democratic republic. The President of Honduras is both head of state and head of government. Executive power is exercised by the Honduran government. Legislative power is vested in the National Congress of Honduras. The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.
The National Congress of Honduras (Congreso Nacional) has 128 members (diputados), elected for a four-year term by proportional representation. Congressional seats are assigned the parties' candidates on a departmental basis in proportion to the number of votes each party receives.
In 1963, a military coup removed the democratically elected president, Ramón Villeda Morales. A string of authoritarian military governments held power uninterrupted until 1981, when Roberto Suazo Córdova was elected president.
Today, the party system is dominated by the conservative National Party of Honduras (Partido Nacional de Honduras: PNH) and the liberal Liberal Party of Honduras (Partido Liberal de Honduras: PLH). Since 1981 Honduras has had six Liberal Party presidents: Roberto Suazo Córdova, José Azcona del Hoyo, Carlos Roberto Reina, Carlos Roberto Flores, Manuel Zelaya and Roberto Micheletti, and four National Party Presidents: Rafael Leonardo Callejas Romero, Ricardo Maduro, Porfirio Lobo Sosa and Juan Orlando Hernández.
Another coup in 2009 removed Zelaya from office and put Micheletti in his place.
Current Honduran president Juan Orlando Hernández took office on 27 January 2014.
Two Honduran names that surfaced in the Panama Papers disclosures belong to highly successful businessmen from some of Honduras' most prominent families. Jaime Rosenthal and Gilberto Goldstein are among the elite of Honduras, both successful businessmen and politicians. Rosenthal was a vice-president in the 1980s administration of José Azcona del Hoyo. His son César Rosenthal was, according to the Panama Papers, the sole stockholder of Renton Management S.A., a Panamanian entity created to purchase airplanes.
Honduras and Nicaragua had tense relations throughout 2000 and early 2001 due to a boundary dispute off the Atlantic coast. Nicaragua imposed a 35% tariff against Honduran goods due to the dispute.
In June 2009 a coup d'état ousted President Manuel Zelaya; he was taken in a military aircraft to neighboring Costa Rica. The General Assembly of the United Nations voted to denounce the coup and called for the restoration of Zelaya. Several Latin American nations including Mexico temporarily severed diplomatic relations with Honduras. In July 2010, full diplomatic relations were once again re-established with Mexico. The United States sent out mixed messages after the coup; Obama called the ouster a coup and expressed support for Zelaya's return to power. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, advised by John Negroponte, the former Reagan-era to Honduras implicated in the Iran-Contra affair, refrained from expressing support. She has since explained that the US would have had to cut aid if it called Zelaya's ouster a military coup, although the US has a record of ignoring these events when it chooses. Zelaya had expressed an interest in Hugo Chávez' Bolivarian Alliance for Peoples of our America (ALBA), and had actually joined in 2008. After the 2009 coup, Honduras withdrew its membership.
This interest in regional agreements may have increased the alarm of establishment politicians. When Zelaya began calling for a "fourth ballot box" to determine whether Hondurans wished to convoke a special constitutional congress, this sounded a lot to some like the constitutional amendments that had extended the terms of both Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales. "Chavez has served as a role model for like-minded leaders intent on cementing their power. These presidents are barely in office when they typically convene a constitutional convention to guarantee their reelection," said a 2009 Spiegel International analysis, which noted that one reason to join ALBA was discounted Venezuelan oil. In addition to Chavez and Morales, Carlos Menem of Argentina, Fernando Henrique Cardoso of Brazil and Columbian President Álvaro Uribe had all taken this step, and Washington and the EU were both accusing the Sandanista government in Nicaragua of tampering with election results. Politicians of all stripes expressed opposition to Zelaya's referendum proposal, and the Attorney-General accused him of violating the constitution. The Honduran Supreme Court agreed, saying that the constitution had put the Supreme Electoral Tribunal in charge of elections and referenda, not the National Statistics Institute, which Zelaya had proposed to have run the count. Whether or not Zelaya's removal from power had constitutional elements, the Honduran constitution explicitly protects all Hondurans from forced expulsion for Honduras.
The United States maintains a small military presence at one Honduran base. The two countries conduct joint peacekeeping, counter-narcotics, humanitarian, disaster relief, humanitarian, medical and civic action exercises. U.S. troops conduct and provide logistics support for a variety of bilateral and multilateral exercises. The United States is Honduras' chief trading partner.
Honduras has a modest military with Western equipment.
Honduras is divided into 18 departments. The capital city is Tegucigalpa in the Central District within the department of Francisco Morazán.
A new administrative division called ZEDE (Zonas de empleo y desarrollo económico) was created in 2013. ZEDEs have a high level of autonomy with their own political system at a judicial, economic and administrative level, and are based on free market capitalism.
The World Bank categorizes Honduras as a low middle-income nation. The nation’s per capita income sits at around 600 US dollars making it one of the lowest in North America.
Economic growth in the last few years has averaged 7% a year, one of the highest rates in Latin America (2010). Despite this, in 2010, 50% of the population were still living below the poverty line. By 2016 more than 66% was living below the poverty line. Estimates put unemployment at about 27.9%, which is more than 1.2 million Hondurans. According to the Human Development Index, Honduras is the sixth-poorest or least-developed country in Latin America, following only Haiti, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Guyana, and Bolivia. Honduras was declared a heavily indebted poor country by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. The nation became eligible for debt relief in 2005.
Honduras experiences extreme destitution in its rural areas. Inequality also exists between rural and urban areas as it relates to the distribution of resources. Poverty in concentrated in southern, eastern, and western regions where rural and indigenous peoples live. North and central Honduras are home to the country's industries and infrastructure, resulting in low levels of poverty. Poverty in concentrated in rural Honduras, a pattern that is reflected throughout Latin America The effects of poverty on rural communities are vast. Poor communities typically live in adobe homes, lack material resources, have limited access to medical resources, and live off of basics such as rice, maize and beans.
Because much of the Honduran economy is based on small scale agriculture of only a few exports, natural disasters have a particularly devastating impact. Natural disasters such as 1998 Hurricane Mitch have contributed to this inequality as they particularly affecting poor rural areas. (1) They are a large contributor to food insecurity in the country as farmers are left unable to provide for their families. Southern and Western regions are most vulnerable to this as they both subject environmental destruction and home to many sustenance farmers. The agricultural economic sector has declined a third in the past twenty years. This is due to a decline in exports such as banana and coffee that were affected by factors such as natural disasters.
Since the 1970s when Honduras was designated a “food priority country” by the UN, organizations such as The World Food Program (WFP) have worked to decrease malnutrition and food insecurity. A large majority of Honduran famers live in extreme poverty, or below 180 US dollars per capita. Currently one fourth of children are affected by chronic malnutrition. WFP is currently working with the Honduran government on a School Feeding Program which provides meals for 21,000 Honduran schools, reaching 1.4 million school children. WFP also participates in disaster relief through reparations and emergency response in order to aid in quick recovery that tackles the effects of natural disasters on agricultural production.
Honduras’ Poverty Reduction Strategy was implemented in 2006 and aimed to cut extreme poverty in half by 2015. Extreme poverty saw a low of 36.2 percent only two years after the implementation of the strategy but then increased to 66.5 percent by 2012. Poverty and inequality reduction can be attributed to rapid growth in combination with federal spending. Prior to the coup Honduras widely expanded social spending and an extreme increase in minimum wage. These efforts to decrease inequality were swiftly reversed following the coup. When Zelaya was removed from office social spending as a percent of GDP decreased from 13.3 percent in 2009 to 10.9 recent in 2012. This decrease in social spending exacerbated the effects of the recession, which the nation was previously relatively well equipped to deal with. The World Bank Group Executive Board approved a plan known as the new Country Partnership Framework (CPF). This plan’s objectives are to expand social program coverage, strengthen infrastructure, increase financing accessibility, strengthen regulatory framework and institutional capacity, improve the productivity of rural areas, strengthen natural disaster and climate change resiliency, and the build up local governments so that violence and crime rated will decrease. The overall aim of the initiative is to decrease inequality and vulnerability of certain populations while increasing economic growth. Additionally the signing of the U.S.-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) was meant to diversify the economy in order to promote growth and expand the range of exports the country is reliant on.
Levels of income inequality in Honduras as higher than in any other Latin American country. Unlike other Latin American countries, inequality steadily increased in Honduras between 1991 and 2005. Between 2006 and 2010 inequality saw a decrease but increased again in 2010.
The 2009 Honduran coup d'état led to a variety of economic trends in the nation. Overall growth has slowed. Averaging 5.7 percent from 2006-2008 but slowing to 3.5 percent annually between 2010 and 2013. Following the coup trends of decreasing poverty and extreme poverty were reversed. The nation saw a poverty increase of 13.2 percent and in extreme poverty of 26.3 percent in just 3 years. Furthermore, unemployment grew between 2008 and 2012 from 6.8 percent to 14.1 percent.
The currency is the Honduran lempira.
The government operates both the electrical grid, Empresa Nacional de Energía Eléctrica (ENEE) and the land-line telephone service, Hondutel. ENEE receives heavy subsidies to counter its chronic financial problems, but Hondutel is no longer a monopoly. The telecommunication sector was opened to private investment on 25 December 2005, as required under CAFTA. The price of petroleum is regulated, and the Congress often ratifies temporary price regulation for basic commodities.
Gold, silver, lead and zinc are mined.
In 2005 Honduras signed CAFTA, a free trade agreement with the United States. In December 2005, Puerto Cortes, the primary seaport of Honduras, was included in the U.S. Container Security Initiative.
In 2006 the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy announced the first phase of the Secure Freight Initiative (SFI), which built upon existing port security measures. SFI gave the U.S. government enhanced authority, allowing it to scan containers from overseas for nuclear and radiological materials in order to improve the risk assessment of individual US-bound containers. The initial phase of Secure Freight involved deploying of nuclear detection and other devices to six foreign ports:
Containers in these ports have been scanned since 2007 for radiation and other risk factors before they are allowed to depart for the United States.
For economic development a 2012 memorandum of understanding with a group of international investors obtained Honduran government approval to build a zone (city) with its own laws, tax system, judiciary and police, but opponents brought a suit against it in the Supreme Court, calling it a "state within a state". In 2013, Honduras' Congress ratified Decree 120, which led to the establishment of ZEDEs. The government began construction of the first zones in June 2015.
About half of the electricity sector in Honduras is privately owned. The remaining generation capacity is run by ENEE (Empresa Nacional de Energía Eléctrica). Key challenges in the sector are:
Infrastructure for transportation in Honduras consists of: 699 kilometres (434 miles) of railways; 13,603 kilometres (8,453 miles) of roadways; seven ports and harbors; and 112 airports altogether (12 Paved, 100 unpaved). The Ministry of Public Works, Transport and Housing (SOPRTRAVI in Spanish acronym) is responsible for transport sector policy.
Water supply and sanitation in Honduras differ greatly from urban centers to rural villages. Larger population centers generally have modernized water treatment and distribution systems, however water quality is often poor because of lack of proper maintenance and treatment. Rural areas generally have basic drinking water systems with limited capacity for water treatment. Many urban areas have sewer systems in place for the collection of wastewater, but proper treatment of wastewater is scarce. In rural areas sanitary facilities are generally limited to latrines and basic septic pits.
Water and sanitation services were historically provided by the Servicio Autónomo de Alcantarillas y Aqueductos (es) (SANAA). In 2003, the government enacted a new "water law" which called for the decentralization of water services. Under the 2003 law, local communities have both the right and the responsibility to own, operate, and control their own drinking water and wastewater systems. Since this law passed, many communities have joined together to address water and sanitation issues on a regional basis.
Many national and international non-government organizations have a history of working on water and sanitation projects in Honduras. International groups include the Red Cross, Water 1st, Rotary Club, Catholic Relief Services, Water for People, EcoLogic Development Fund, CARE, the Canadian Executive Service Organization (CESO-SACO), Engineers Without Borders – USA, Flood The Nations, Students Helping Honduras (SHH), Global Brigades, and Agua para el Pueblo in partnership with AguaClara at Cornell University.
In addition, many government organizations work on projects in Honduras, including the European Union, the USAID, the Army Corps of Engineers, Cooperacion Andalucia, the government of Japan, and others.
Honduras had a population of 9,112,867 in 2016. The proportion of the population below the age of 15 in 2010 was 36.8%, 58.9% were between 15 and 65 years old, and 4.3% were 65 years old or older.
Since 1975, emigration from Honduras has accelerated as economic migrants and political refugees sought a better life elsewhere. A majority of expatriate Hondurans live in the United States. A 2012 US State Department estimate suggested that between 800,000 and one million Hondurans lived in the United States at that time, nearly 15% of the Honduran population. The large uncertainty about numbers is because numerous Hondurans live in the United States without a visa. In the 2010 census in the United States, 617,392 residents identified as Hondurans, up from 217,569 in 2000.
The ethnic breakdown of Honduran society was 90% Mestizo, 7% American Indian, 2% Black and 1% White.
Nine indigenous and African American groups are recognized by the government in Honduras. The majority of Amerindians in Honduras are Lenca, followed by the Miskito, Cho’rti’, Tolupan, Pech and Sumo.
The male to female ratio of the Honduran population is 1.01 This ratio stands at 1.05 at birth, 1.04 from 15–24 years old, 1.02 from 25–54 years old,.88 from 55–64 years old, and.77 for those 65 years or older.
In addition to Spanish a number of indigenous languages are spoken in Honduras, as well as Honduran sign language and Bay Islands Creole English.
The main indigenous languages are:
The Lenca isolate lost all its fluent native speakers in the 20th century but is currently undergoing revival efforts among the members of the ethnic population of about 100,000. The largest immigrant languages are Arabic (42,000), Armenian (1,300), Turkish (900), Yue Chinese (1,000).