Honduran society, for the most part, mirrors other Latin American countries in terms of its social classes and sectors. Distribution of wealth is uneven, with a small minority of the population (increasingly made up of members of the military) controlling national politics and wealth. Capital is largely obtained through ownership of large landed estates, collaboration with foreign entrepreneurial enterprises, and privileges granted to the military.
In sharp contrast to the small wealthy class, the vast majority of the population is made up of subsistence farmers and agricultural laborers who live in increasing poverty. Since the 1950s, a small middle class has emerged from the ranks of the poor and the artisan sectors. This new middle class had become moderately well off by the 1990s. However, the middle class and especially the poor were extremely hard hit during the economic crisis of the 1980s. Both classes saw many of the modest economic gains they had made in the previous three decades wiped out.
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