Honduras

 Facts and Statistics:

honduras4
Farm of the Child is located near Trujillo, Honduras (see red arrow).

Location:

– Honduras is located in Central America, bordered by Guatemala and El Salvador to the west and by Nicaragua to the south and east.

– The Caribbean Sea lies along its northern coast, and the Pacific Ocean washes its coastline to the south.

Size:

– Honduras is slightly larger than the state of Tennessee.

Population:

– The population of Honduras is 8.2 million (2014).

Climate:

– The climate of Honduras is sub-tropical in the lowlands and temperate in mountain regions.

Natural Disasters:

– Honduras is 3rd among the most at-risk countries in the world for natural disasters (mainly earthquakes, hurricanes, and floods).

Bananas are one of the main exports of Honduras.

Economy:

– The economy is largely based on agriculture – 28% of the country is agricultural land and the agricultural industry employs 39% of the population. Farming produces mainly bananas, plantains, maize, rice, and beans.

– Fishing, forestry, mining, and industry also make up a percentage of the GDP.

– The main exports are coffee, bananas, shrimp, lobster, meat, zinc and lumber.

– Honduras is largely dependent on the US for economic support.

A child harvests coffee beans in Honduras.
A child harvests coffee beans in Honduras.

Labor:

– Honduras did not have effective labor laws until the year 1954.

– Currently, the law states there is a maximum 8-hour workday, 44-hour work week, and 24-hour rest period each week.  Yet these regulations are often not enforced.

– Recently there have been allegations of illegal child labor and forced labor in Honduras in the areas of agriculture and domestic services.

Poverty:

– Honduras is the second poorest country in Central America and the 3rd poorest in the Western Hemisphere.

– 18% of the population lives on less than $1.25 per day (below the international poverty line).

– 60% of people live below the national poverty line, though only 4 % of the population is unemployed.

– 36% of the population is defined as extremely poor.

A family in front of their home in rural Honduras, where housing is often deficient.

Living Conditions:

– The majority of the population lives in rural areas.

– 66% of homes are considered to be deficient.

– Many people live in cardboard or plastic one-room structures that house anywhere from 4 to 10 people.

– 89% of the population has access to safe drinking water.

– 85% of people in urban areas and 74% of people in rural areas have access to improved sanitation.

Health:

– 39% of children under the age of 5 were considered malnourished in the year 2000.

– There are an estimated 83 physicians, 25 nurses, and 1 dentist per 100,000 people.

– The life expectancy is 74 years.

 

Education:

– Public Education is free and compulsory for 6 years (ages 6-12), but this is not well-enforced in rural areas.

IMG_0672
Children hard at work on their studies

– 97% of school-aged children are enrolled in primary school but only 79% complete primary school.

– In rural areas, family situations do not allow all children to attend school.  Therefore, a child is considered fortunate if he/she graduates sixth grade.

– Even for those children in rural areas who do attend the government schools, education is deficient and many children simply fall through the cracks.  It is not unusual to find a child in the fifth or sixth grade who is still unable to read.

– Teachers in government schools are underpaid and often poorly educated.

– Sometimes up to two of the four-hour school days are spent in recess.

– 85% of Honduran adults are considered literate.

Families:

– Many Honduran families are worn down by the struggle to meet their basic needs with little land to farm, limited education, and no opportunities to earn a decent living.

– Adults (mostly men) turn to alcohol and drugs in despair.

– Women are often times abandoned with multiple children to care for on their own.

Children:

– Children under the age of 15 make up almost 41% of the population of Honduras.

– An estimated 8-12% of Honduran children under the age of 18 live or work on the streets (200,000 – 300,000 children).

Glue is the most commonly abused substance in Honduras.

–  Children are often left to fend for themselves or even abandoned due to domestic violence, sexual abuse, substance abuse, natural disasters, economic crises, or the loss of family members in accidents.

– On the streets alone, these children are at risk of physical violence, substance abuse, malnutrition, STIs, kidnapping, infections (often life-threatening), and even death.

Violence:

– Honduras has the world’s highest murder rate at 85 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants – largely due to gangs and drug trafficking.

– Sex trafficking of women and children is also prevalent

Religion:

– 80% of people are Roman Catholic (according to the Church), but only 63% of the adult population self-identified as Roman Catholic in the year 2000.

– There is only 1 Catholic priest for every 12,000 people in Honduras.

Flag of Honduras

Government:

– Honduras became a democratic nation with the institution of a new constitution in 1992.

– There are 2 major political parties: the National Party and the Liberal Party

– Honduras has a history of strong military presence, although its influence on politics and government has continued to decrease since the 1980s. In 1997, for the first time, the police force changed from military to civilian control

History:

– Honduras was originally inhabited by indigenous groups, the most advanced of which was the Mayas.

– Christopher Columbus reached the Honduran mainland in the year 1502.

– Spanish colonization began in the year 1524.

– Honduras declared its independence from Spain in 1821, but fell under the Mexican Empire from 1822-1823.

– The country was a member of the United Provinces of Central America from 1824-1838, but then declared itself an independent nation.