Human development and the drive to emigrate: Costa Rica vs. Honduras

Costa Rica has the lowest rate of emigration of any Central American country, almost one quarter that of Honduras. Here are some socio-economic comparisons of the two countries.

Emigration: Costa Rica: 150,000 Costa Ricans, or 2.8% of its 5.3 million population, have emigrated (2/3rds to the U.S.) Honduras: about one million Hondurans, or 9.8% of its 10.2 million population, have emigrated (75% to the U.S.

Costa Rica: average life expectancy increased from 70 years in 1970 to 80 years in 2016. Honduras life expectancy increased from 57 years in 1970 to 73 years in 2016.

The adult literacy rate in Costa Rica grew from 80% in 1970 to 97.6% in 2015.  In Honduras, in 1970 the adult literacy rate in Honduras was 57.8%. By 2015, the literacy rate had increased to 89%.

In Costa Rica In 1970, the net primary enrollment rate was 75%. By 2015, the primary enrollment rate had risen to 93%. In Honduras, primary school enrollment rose from 67% in 1970 to 92% in 2015.

Costa Rican GDP per capita is $12,000 on a PPP basis, vs. $4,500 in Honduras.

Politics: Costa Rica has had relatively free and fair elections since 1953.  Corruption and weak governance in Honduras include the president participating in drug smuggling.


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