Which Countries Are the Poorest in Central America?


Some of the poorest countries in Central America include Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. According to Forbes, as of December 2013, Nicaragua is the poorest country in Central America and the second poorest in the entire Western Hemisphere after Haiti.

Nicaragua, officially the Republic of Nicaragua, is the largest country in the Central American isthmus, bordering Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. It faces pervasive unemployment and poverty issues, frequently suffering economic, political and social problems as well as numerous natural disasters. Earthquakes, droughts, hurricanes and mudslides are commonplace, decimating food supplies and entire communities in their wake. According to the United Nations 2009 Human Development Report, an estimated 2.5 million Nicaraguans out of 5.5 million live in extreme poverty. Textiles and agricultural staples dominate Nicaraguan exports, combining for almost 50 percent of the country’s aggregate export total. The Nicaraguan economy grew at a rate of about 4 percent in 2012.

As of December 2013, Honduras is the second poorest country in Central America. It suffers from high levels of underemployment and a severe inequality in income distribution. Close to half of the Honduran economic activity is directly tied to the United States, with exports to the United States totaling 30 percent of its gross domestic product.