Surnames in Honduras: A Study of the Population of Honduras through Isonymy


  • The work was supported by grants of the University of Ferrara to Chiara Scapoli.


In this work, we investigated surname distribution in 4,348,021 Honduran electors with the aim of detecting population structure through the study of isonymy in three administrative levels: the whole nation, the 18 departments, and the 298 municipalities. For each administrative level, we studied the surname effective number, α, the total inbreeding, FIT, the random inbreeding, FST, and the local inbreeding, FIS. Principal components analysis, multidimensional scaling, and cluster analysis were performed on Lasker's distance matrix to detect the direction of surname diffusion and for a graphic representation of the surname relationship between different locations. The values of FIT, FST, and FIS display a variation of random inbreeding between the administrative levels in the Honduras population, which is attributed to the “Prefecture effect.” Multivariate analyses of department data identified two main clusters, one south-western and the second north-eastern, with the Bay Islands and the eastern Gracias a Dios out of the main clusters.

The results suggest that currently the population structure of this country is the result of the joint action of short-range directional migration and drift, with drift dominating over migration, and that population diffusion may have taken place mainly in the NW-SE direction.