Honduras is a country with a varied history, and the country as a whole has had to overcome a lot. It’s also a very beautiful country that has a lot of potential, given its vast amount of natural resources. So is Honduras a third-world country?
Honduras would still be considered a third-world country, although the country as a whole has made many improvements for some time. Unfortunately, the pandemic and natural disasters put some of that progress out of sorts. Honduras would be more aptly classified as either a developing country or a low-middle-income country.
Based on factors such as income equality, poverty, and economy, Honduras is a country with the potential to progress, though it will have to reprioritize.
Is Honduras A Third World Country?
While the labels of the first, second, and third world aren’t used like they once were, based on the most recent definition of a third world country, Honduras could be considered one. At first, a third-world country was one that didn’t maintain certain allies, but the terminology was later changed to define a country with a weak economy, poverty, and diminished quality of life among other things.
The Honduran government has had to deal with a lot of turmoil in its history by way of military involvement and corruption. For a long time, the country was ruled by military efforts with United States interference to try and develop the country. Towards the end of the 1980s, the military presence in the government ceased, but the country’s struggle to gain footing continued.
A lot of conflicts has made it difficult for Honduras’ government as well as the people of Honduras to make any long-standing progress. In terms of countries that make up Latin America, they are ranked fairly high comparatively in terms of economics. Outside of this bubble, they are ranked towards the bottom compared to other North American countries.
Is Honduras A Developed, Developing, Or Underdeveloped Country?
Honduras would fall somewhere between developing and underdeveloped. There have been some efforts to improve overall conditions in Honduras, but not much has gained traction. Even though Honduras has been in cooperation with the United States for some time, the country has still had some difficulty prospering, or even getting close to prospering.
The United States has kept close ties with Honduras for a few decades, helping contribute to the country’s economy through trade partnerships. The United States also has stakes in some of Honduras’ exports and the company which procure products about exports. Many Honduran citizens will move to the United States in order to earn money, sending some of it back to their family members in Honduras to support them.
Some may say that Honduras would be underdeveloped because some freedoms are still lacking in the country. Many of these freedoms surround labor, which is one of the many reasons why adequate employment is so hard for many Hondurans to secure.
Is Honduras A Low Or Middle Income Country?
Honduras would fall between the low and low middle-income classification for countries. Despite having some improvements in their economy over the past few years, there is still a lot of poverty and income disparity in Honduras. Crime and violence has hindered a lot of growth for the country and have caused a lot of people to move in search of a safer life.
There is a sort of cycle that Honduras is stuck in where income disparity and poverty can contribute to more frequent incidents of violence and crime, but criminal behavior is often a result of poverty. With people having to resort to crime to survive, it can be tough to educate enough people to pioneer new industries that could lead to economic prosperity.
The frequency of crime has had a trickle-down effect on many aspects of life in Honduras as people don’t feel as safe as they once did. For example, during a heavy crime spree perpetrated by gangs in the mid-2010s, many children weren’t able to attend school due to fear for their safety. This was due to violence occurring around many schools.
Since crime can keep people from furthering their education, for example, this also leads to less ability to find adequate employment. As such, many people living in Honduras, though not all, have a difficult time making income at all, and if they can, many don’t make enough to sustain themselves and their families.
The Honduras Economy
The Honduran economy was actually on a very slow rise before the pandemic hit. As with many countries, the pandemic caused many country’s economies to fall, and Honduras has only recently started somewhat of a recovery process. There is also a strict rule of law in Honduras which controls many aspects of life, such as governmental processes and property rights.
Honduras’ economy is largely supported by a vast agricultural industry. The land in Honduras is suitable for growing a variety of crops and other sustenance, and the country is a large provider of the world’s coffee. Agriculture has seen some decline due to manmade and weather destruction but still manages to bring a good amount of money into Honduras.
Another proponent of Honduras’ economic development has been the implementation of maquiladoras, also known as factories that produce a variety of goods, operating without having to pay tax or duty. This is a common business structure in Latin America. This has helped to bring some economic growth to Honduras, but not to the point that the country has been able to decrease widespread poverty.
The economy in Honduras has a lot of potentials to grow. Industry has seen some growth in and of itself, helping to generate more money into the country through exporting. With a new government in office, there is a lot of potential for Honduras to strategize and get the country back on track economically.
Poverty In Honduras
Poverty has been difficult for Honduras to come out of for many years. Poverty in and of itself has been fairly stagnant, but extreme poverty has been on the rise in the country. It’s been estimated that at least half of the population in Honduras is living in some kind of poverty. The ability to earn income in Honduras has also hampered any progress out of poverty.
Even with boosts in the economy, the wealth has not been distributed insofar that more people are being brought out of poverty. There is a limited disbursement of wealth, leading to a fairly large low income or lower class, a very small middle class, and an extremely small higher class.
For those able to find work, some employees are not able to make a livable wage, or are forced to accept work outside of their skill level and experience in order to make some semblance of an income. Some Hondurans also find it difficult to work enough hours to make a living. This income disparity makes it difficult for citizens to have much disposable income to bolster the economy.
Quality Of Life In Honduras
There are quite a few challenges in the way of many Hondurans, especially the average citizen. It is difficult for people to find gainful employment in the country. It’s a big country, but it also has a big population, meaning a lot of people are going without their basic needs being fulfilled. As such, the middle class in Honduras is quite small.
Of those who are considered living under the poverty line established by the World Bank, a larger portion of these citizens live in rural areas of the country. Those living in urban settings still experience inadequate living conditions. It can be difficult for people to obtain property, not only due to financial constraints but due to the rule of law.
As mentioned, drug crime and gang violence are two very real threats in Honduras. A lot of drug trafficking occurs in and out of the country and has been tough for the government to crack down on. As such, Honduras also has one of the highest homicide rates in the world, though not all homicides are linked to criminal enterprise.
Moreover, governments have been swayed into criminal enterprises, allowing for them to continue their work without the penalty of law. Two devastating hurricanes hit Honduras in 2020 and caused a lot of damage. The destruction ended up causing many to lose their income and halted a lot of the progressional GDP growth.
Not all hope is lost for Honduras to emerge from its third world label, or even its developing or underdeveloped status. The country has persevered through a lot of obstacles from corruption to damaging weather events. As of recently, some large corporations have made their way to Honduras, creating partnerships that would provide jobs for those in need. Time will tell if those partnerships flourish ethically or not.
With that tenacity and some economic restructuring, Honduras can be appreciated for the beautiful country it is instead of being known as a country that has been struggling for a long time.
About the author: Marta Kovachek graduated from the university with a master’s degree in Economics. Marta enjoys writing about the current economic situation and loves helping our readers to find their next "destination". From places to live to complex social and economic topics, we always enjoy Marta's work. Please contact us in case of any questions.