[Country map of Honduras]



Location: Middle America, bordering the Caribbean Sea, between Guatemala and Nicaragua and bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between El Salvador and Nicaragua

Map references: Central America and the Caribbean

total area: 112,090 sq km
land area: 111,890 sq km
comparative area: slightly larger than Tennessee

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

Coastline: 820 km

Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: 24 nm
continental shelf: natural extension of territory or to 200 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm

International disputes: land boundary dispute with El Salvador mostly resolved by 11 September 1992 International Court of Justice (ICJ) decision; with respect to the maritime boundary in the Golfo de Fonseca, ICJ referred to an earlier agreement in this century and advised that some tripartite resolution among El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua likely would be required

Climate: subtropical in lowlands, temperate in mountains

Terrain: mostly mountains in interior, narrow coastal plains

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

Land use:
arable land: 14%
permanent crops: 2%
meadows and pastures: 30%
forest and woodland: 34%
other: 20%

Irrigated land: 900 sq km (1989 est.)

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 freshwater) with heavy metals as well as several rivers and streams
natural hazards: frequent, but generally mild, earthquakes; damaging hurricanes and floods along Caribbean coast
international agreements: party to - Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83, Wetlands; signed, but not ratified - Biodiversity, Climate Change


Population: 5,459,743 (July 1995 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 43% (female 1,159,846; male 1,201,927)
15-64 years: 53% (female 1,468,950; male 1,444,959)
65 years and over: 4% (female 95,361; male 88,700) (July 1995 est.)

Population growth rate: 2.66% (1995 est.)

Birth rate: 34.12 births/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Death rate: 6 deaths/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Net migration rate: -1.56 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 43.4 deaths/1,000 live births (1995 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 68.04 years
male: 65.64 years
female: 70.55 years (1995 est.)

Total fertility rate: 4.55 children born/woman (1995 est.)

noun: Honduran(s)
adjective: Honduran

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

Religions: Roman Catholic 97%, Protestant minority

Languages: Spanish, Indian dialects

Literacy: age 15 and over can read and write (1990 est.)
total population: 73%
male: 76%
female: 71%

Labor force: 1.3 million
by occupation: agriculture 62%, services 20%, manufacturing 9%, construction 3%, other 6% (1985)


conventional long form: Republic of Honduras
conventional short form: Honduras
local long form: Republica de Honduras
local short form: Honduras

Digraph: HO

Type: republic

Capital: Tegucigalpa

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

Independence: 15 September 1821 (from Spain)

National holiday: Independence Day, 15 September (1821)

Constitution: 11 January 1982, effective 20 January 1982

Legal system: rooted in Roman and Spanish civil law; some influence of English common law; accepts ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal and compulsory

Executive branch:
chief of state and head of government: President Carlos Roberto REINA Idiaquez (since 27 January 1994); election last held 28 November 1993 (next to be held November 1997); results - Carlos Roberto REINA Idiaquez (PLH) 53%, Oswaldo RAMOS Soto (PNH) 41%, other 6%
cabinet: Cabinet

Legislative branch: unicameral
National Congress (Congreso Nacional): elections last held on 27 November 1993 (next to be held November 1997); results - PNH 53%, PLH 41%, PDCH 1.0%, PINU-SD 2.5%, other 2.5%; seats - (134 total) PNH 55, PLH 77, PINU-SD 2

Judicial branch: Supreme Court of Justice (Corte Suprema de Justica)

Political parties and leaders: Liberal Party (PLH), Rafael PINEDA Ponce, president; National Party of Honduras (PNH), Oswaldo RAMOS Soto, president; National Innovation and Unity Party (PINU), Olban VALLADARES, president; Christian Democratic Party (PDCH), Efrain DIAZ Arrivillaga, president

Other political or pressure groups: National Association of Honduran Campesinos (ANACH); Honduran Council of Private Enterprise (COHEP); Confederation of Honduran Workers (CTH); National Union of Campesinos (UNC); General Workers Confederation (CGT); United Federation of Honduran Workers (FUTH); Committee for the Defense of Human Rights in Honduras (CODEH); Coordinating Committee of Popular Organizations (CCOP)


Diplomatic representation in US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Roberto FLORES Bermudez
chancery: 3007 Tilden Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 966-7702, 2604, 5008, 4596
FAX: [1] (202) 966-9751
consulate(s) general: Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, San Francisco, and San Juan (Puerto Rico)
consulate(s): Boston, Detroit, and Jacksonville

US diplomatic representation:
chief of mission: Ambassador William T. PRYCE
embassy: Avenida La Paz, Apartado Postal No 3453, Tegucigalpa
mailing address: American Embassy, APO AA 34022, Tegucigalpa
telephone: [504] 36-9320, 38-5114
FAX: [504] 36-9037

Flag: 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


Overview: Honduras is one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere. Agriculture, the most important sector of the economy, accounts for 28% of GDP, employs 62% of the labor force, and produces two-thirds of exports. Productivity remains low. Manufacturing, still in its early stages, employs 9% of the labor force, accounts for 15% of GDP, and generates 20% of exports. The service sectors, including public administration, account for 50% of GDP and employ 20% of the labor force. Many basic problems face the economy, including rapid population growth, high unemployment, inflation, a lack of basic services, a large and inefficient public sector, and the dependence of the export sector mostly on coffee and bananas, which are subject to sharp price fluctuations. A far-reaching reform program, initiated by former President CALLEJAS in 1990 and scaled back by President REINA, is beginning to take hold.

National product: GDP - purchasing power parity - $9.7 billion (1994 est.)

National product real growth rate: -1.9% (1994 est.)

National product per capita: $1,820 (1994 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 30% (1994 est.)

Unemployment rate: 10%; underemployed 30%-40% (1992)

revenues: $527 million
expenditures: $668 million, including capital expenditures of $166 million (1993 est.)

Exports: $850 million (f.o.b., 1993 est)
commodities: bananas, coffee, shrimp, lobster, minerals, meat, lumber
partners: US 53%, Germany 11%, Belgium 8%, UK 5%

Imports: $990 million (c.i.f. 1994 est)
commodities: machinery and transport equipment, chemical products, manufactured goods, fuel and oil, foodstuffs
partners: US 50%, Mexico 8%, Guatemala 6%

External debt: $4 billion (1994 est.)

Industrial production: growth rate 10% (1992 est.); accounts for 22% of GDP

capacity: 290,000 kW
production: 2.3 billion kWh
consumption per capita: 445 kWh (1993)

Industries: agricultural processing (sugar and coffee), textiles, clothing, wood products

Agriculture: most important sector, accounting for 28% of GDP, more than 60% of the labor force, and two-thirds of exports; principal products include bananas, coffee, timber, beef, citrus fruit, shrimp; importer of wheat

Illicit drugs: transshipment point for narcotics; illicit producer of cannabis, cultivated on small plots and used principally for local consumption

Economic aid:
recipient: US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY70-89), $1.4 billion; Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-89), $1.1 billion

Currency: 1 lempira (L) = 100 centavos

Exchange rates: lempiras (L) per US$1 - 9.1283 (October 1994), 7.2600 (1993), 5.8300 (1992), 5.4000 (1991); 2.0000 (fixed rate until 1991) 5.70 parallel black-market rate (November 1990); the lempira was allowed to float in 1992

Fiscal year: calendar year


total: 785 km
narrow gauge: 508 km 1.067-m gauge; 277 km 0.914-m gauge

total: 8,950 km
paved: 1,700 km
unpaved: otherwise improved 5,000 km; unimproved earth 2,250 km

Inland waterways: 465 km navigable by small craft

Ports: La Ceiba, Puerto Castilla, Puerto Cortes, San Lorenzo, Tela, Puerto Lempira

Merchant marine:
total: 271 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 802,990 GRT/1,210,553 DWT
ships by type: bulk 31, cargo 171, chemical tanker 1, combination bulk 1, container 6, liquefied gas tanker 2, livestock carrier 3, oil tanker 21, passenger 2, passenger-cargo 3, refrigerated cargo 19, roll-on/roll-off cargo 7, short-sea passenger 2, specialized tanker 1, vehicle carrier 1
note: a flag of convenience registry; Russia owns 14 ships, Vietnam 7, North Korea 4, US 3, Hong Kong 2, South Korea 2, Greece 1

total: 159
with paved runways 2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
with paved runways 1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
with paved runways 914 to 1,523 m: 4
with paved runways under 914 m: 118
with unpaved runways 2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
with unpaved runways 1,524 to 2,438 m: 4
with unpaved runways 914 to 1,523 m: 27


Telephone system: NA telephones; 7 telephones/1,000 persons; inadequate system
local: NA
intercity: NA
international: 2 INTELSAT (Atlantic Ocean) earth stations and the Central American microwave radio relay system

broadcast stations: AM 176, FM 0, shortwave 7
radios: NA

broadcast stations: 28
televisions: NA

Defense Forces

Branches: Army, Navy (includes Marines), Air Force, Public Security Forces (FUSEP)

Manpower availability: males age 15-49 1,275,670; males fit for military service 760,113; males reach military age (18) annually 62,405 (1995 est.)

Defense expenditures: exchange rate conversion - $41 million, about 0.4% of GDP (1994)