POVERTY LEVEL

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.

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.

Economic growth in the last few years has averaged 7% a year, one of the highest rates in Latin America (2010).Despite this, Honduras has seen the least development amongst all Central American countries.Honduras is ranked 130 of 188 countries with a Human Development Index of .625 that classifies the nation as having medium development (2015).The three factors that go into Honduras’ HDI (an extended and healthy life, accessibility of knowledge and standard of living) have all improved since 1990 but still remain relatively low with life expectancy at birth being 73.3, expected years of schooling being 11.2 (mean of 6.2 years) and GNI per capita being $4,466 (2015). The HDI for Latin America and the Caribbean overall is 0.751 with life expectancy at birth being 68.6, expected years of schooling being 11.5 (mean of 6.6) and GNI per capita being $6,281 (2015).

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.

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 Mitchhave contributed to this inequality as they particularly affecting poor rural areas.Additionally, they are a large contributor to food insecurity in the country as farmers are left unable to provide for their families. A study done by Honduras NGO, World Neighbors, determined the tems “increased workload, decreased basic grains, expensive food, and fear” were most associated with Hurricane Mitch.

The rural and urban poor were hit hardest by Hurricane Mitch. Those in Southern and Western regions specifically were considered most vulnerable as they both subject environmental destruction and home to many sustenance farmers.Due to disasters such as Hurricane Mitch, the agricultural economic sector has declined a third in the past twenty years. This is mostly due to a decline in exports such as banana and coffee that were affected by factors such as natural disasters. Indigenous communities along the Patuca River were hit extremely hard as well. The mid-Pataca region was almost completely destroyed Over 80% of rice harvest and all of banana, plantain, and manioc harvests were lost. Relief and reconstruction efforts following the storm were partial and incomplete reinforcing existing levels of poverty rather than reversing it, especially for indigenous communities.The period between the end food donations and the following harvest led to extreme hunger causing deaths amongst the Tawahka population.Those that were considered the most “land-rich” lost 36% of their total land on average.Those that were the most “land-poor,” lost less total land but a greater share of their overall total. This meant that those hit hardest were single women as their constitute the majority of this population.