Informing durable solutions for IDPs with national statistics


Since the 1990s, Honduras has experienced increasing levels of violence from criminal groups and local gangs called ‘maras’, resulting in many people being forced to leave their homes. With a lack of clarity on the magnitude of the phenomena, efforts were made to estimate the number of people affected based on human rights violations complaints data. In 2014, the Inter-Institutional Commission for the Protection of Persons Displaced by Violence coordinated the first Study on the characterisation of internal displacement in Honduras, representing an estimated 2.1% of the total population [1].

Displacement in the country also peaked in 2020 due to Hurricanes Eta and Iota. Forced displacement was officially recognized in 2023 and reflected in a legal framework with the approval of the Law for the prevention, care, and protection of internally displaced persons. Producing an official estimate on the number of IDPs in the country became a priority, in addition to other data needs to support efforts to secure durable solutions.

Honduras’ National Institute of Statistics (INE) is working to meet these data needs by including a module to identify persons and households who have suffered from forced internal displacement during their lives. Led by INE, in partnership with the Secretariat for Human Rights (SEDH) and UNHCR, data suggest that 3-4% of the population in 2023 have been displaced due to a combination of violence and climate disasters. Results are expected to be published during the second quarter of 2024.


Including IDPs in the 2023 multipurpose household survey

Building on previous efforts made [2], in 2018 SEDH, INE and UNHCR agreed to carry out a study [3] and INE has since worked towards the inclusion of IDPs in national data production processes. The concrete decision was to include IDPs in the multi-round Permanent Multipurpose Household Survey 2023 (EPHPM). [4] This nationally representative survey with departmental data results therefore included questions to identify those who had been forced to flee, as well as specific displacement event and return.

The survey was conducted with national funds and financed by the World Bank – UNHCR Joint Data Center on Forced Displacement, with UNHCR’s technical support.  As the first effort to incorporate questions on displacement within a national survey, the experience has identified key lessons for future methodological enhancement, which were discussed in a workshop held in October 2023 with INE technicians, enumerators and UNHCR and a February 2024 meeting with SEDH, Mexico’s National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI), JDC and UNHCR.

The process has encountered operational and data quality challenges related to the collection of data within an insecure environment, reflected in the low response rate and interviews that were not possible to conduct. Challenging security considerations were very real with threats and incidents involving respondents and NSO personnel as well as the respondents fear of retaliation expressed by surveyors in qualitative focal groups. Further advancements are planned for 2024, such as a thematic report to be presented to the government, civil society, media, and other stakeholders and four more EPHPM rounds including the module are planned.

The use of the International Recommendations

The International Recommendations on IDP Statistics (IRIS) were used throughout the process, guiding the overall statistical framework and the specific identification questions used although changes were required to adapt to the Honduran context (e.g. adding an explicit mention of criminal group and gang activity to classify insecurity and eviction displacement events).

Moreover, the availability of the recommendations helped the Government to prioritise this statistical activity and their content supported inter-institutional team discussions between INE and SEDH throughout the process, with UNHCR’s support.

Having been involved in the EGRISS regional Task Team for Latin America and the Caribbean, learning from peers has been proactively pursued by INE. The November 2022 workshop with the Central American Statistical Commission (CENTROESTAD) of the System of Integration of Central America (SICA) and hosted by Honduras was a relevant starting point. [5]


This EPHPM displacement module demonstrates the country’s commitment to strengthen official statistics on displacement using the international recommendations. Despite challenges faced, this marks a key milestone in the LAC region. 

As an active EGRISS member since 2022, the INE was able to learn from peers in the LAC region and share their experience with others as well. Considering the context in Honduras, it also serves as a relevant case study for collecting data in situations of continued insecurity and highlights the importance of building trust with affected communities.

Looking forward, INE is considering including a question on internal mobility as part of its 2024 Population and Housing Census. In addition, they look forward to leading a recently approved working group on migration and forced displacement statistics under the regions Statistical Commission. [6]