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Honduras

People

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About 90 percent of the people of Honduras are mestizo (people of mixed Spanish and Native American ancestry). The remainder are Native Americans, blacks, and whites. The population is 54 percent rural.

The population of Honduras (2008 estimate) was 7,639,327. The overall population density was 68 people per sq km (177 per sq mi), with the greatest concentrations in the small towns and villages in the northern coastal and central areas. The rugged terrain has kept the people living in villages isolated from other villages.

Principal Cities

The capital and largest city of Honduras is Tegucigalpa (2006 estimate, 1,324,000), located in the south-central highlands region. The country’s second largest city is San Pedro Sula (549,498). The principal city and commercial center in the north, it lies in the heart of the vast banana plantations on the Caribbean Sea. La Ceiba (127,590) and Puerto Cortes (90,161) are among the leading Caribbean ports.

Language and Religion

Spanish is the official language and is spoken by nearly all the Honduran people. English is spoken by some people in the north, and the Native Americans who remain have retained their languages. Roman Catholics make up 86 percent of the population; Protestants constitute 6 percent.

Education

Education in Honduras is free and compulsory for children between the ages of 7 and 12. The government has pledged to raise the literacy rate, which stands at 77.2 percent. In 2000, 1.09 million pupils were enrolled in 8,114 primary schools. However, only 32 percent of secondary school-age children were enrolled in school. The number of secondary schools and teachers is inadequate in rural areas.

The National Autonomous University of Honduras (founded in 1847), in Tegucigalpa, is the country’s major institution of higher learning. The Jose Cecilio del Valle University in Tegucigalpa (1978) offers training in engineering, administration, and computer science.

 
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