El Salvador Population: 6,108,590

El Salvador achieved independence from Spain in 1821 and from the Central American Federation in 1839. A 12-year civil war, which cost about 75,000 lives, was brought to a close in 1992 when the government and leftist rebels signed a treaty that provided for military and political reforms.


Smallest Central American country and only one without a coastline on Caribbean Sea
Location: Central America, bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between Guatemala and Honduras
Geographic coordinates: 13 50 N, 88 55 W
Area: total: 21,041 sq km land: 20,721 sq km water: 320 sq km

Size comparison: slightly smaller than Massachusetts

Land Boundaries: total: 545 km border countries: Guatemala 203 km, Honduras 342 km
Coastline: 307 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm contiguous zone: 24 nm exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climate: tropical; rainy season (May to October); dry season (November to April); tropical on coast; temperate in uplands
Terrain: mostly mountains with narrow coastal belt and central plateau
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m highest point: Cerro El Pital 2,730 m
Natural resources: hydropower, geothermal power, petroleum, arable land
Land use: arable land: 31.61% permanent crops: 10.93% other: 57.46% (2011)
Irrigated land: 449.9 sq km (2003)
Natural hazards: known as the Land of Volcanoes; frequent and sometimes destructive earthquakes and volcanic activity; extremely susceptible to hurricanes volcanism: significant volcanic activity; San Salvador (elev. 1,893 m), which last erupted in 1917, has the potential to cause major harm to the country’s capital, which lies just below the volcano’s slopes; San Miguel (elev. 2,130 m), which last erupted in 2002, is one of the most active volcanoes in the country; other historically active volcanoes include Conchaguita, Ilopango, Izalco, and Santa Ana
Current Environment Issues: deforestation; soil erosion; water pollution; contamination of soils from disposal of toxic wastes
International Environment Agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea
Nationality: noun: Salvadoran(s) adjective: Salvadoran
Ethnic groups: mestizo 86.3%, white 12.7%, Amerindian 1% (2007 census)
Languages: Spanish (official), Nahua (among some Amerindians)
Religions: Roman Catholic 57.1%, Protestant 21.2%, Jehovah’s Witnesses 1.9%, Mormon 0.7%, other religions 2.3%, none 16.8% (2003 est.)
Population: 6,108,590 (July 2013 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 28.9% (male 905,236/female 859,468) 15-24 years: 20.9% (male 638,938/female 635,460) 25-54 years: 37% (male 1,037,173/female 1,224,227) 55-64 years: 6.5% (male 179,374/female 217,472) 65 years and over: 6.7% (male 182,773/female 228,469) (2013 est.)
Dependency ratios: total dependency ratio: 59 % youth dependency ratio: 47.6 % elderly dependency ratio: 11.3 % potential support ratio: 8.8 (2013)
Median age: total: 25.1 years
male: 23.7 years female: 26.6 years (2013 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.29% (2013 est.)
Birth rate: 17.12 births/1,000 population (2013 est.)
Death rate: 5.65 deaths/1,000 population (2013 est.)
Net migration rate: -8.61 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2013 est.)
Urbanization: urban population: 64% of total population (2010) rate of urbanization: 1.4% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Major urban areas – population: SAN SALVADOR (capital) 1.605 million (2011)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female 0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female 15-24 years: 1 male(s)/female 25-54 years: 0.85 male(s)/female 55-64 years: 0.83 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.8 male(s)/female total population: 0.93 male(s)/female (2013 est.)
Mother’s mean age at first birth: 20.8 (2008 est.)
Maternal mortality rate: 81 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)
Infant mortality rate: total: 19.05 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 21.12 deaths/1,000 live births female: 16.87 deaths/1,000 live births (2013 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 73.93 years
male: 70.66 years female: 77.37 years (2013 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.99 children born/woman (2013 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate: 72.5% note: percent of women aged 15-44 (2008)
Health expenditures: 6.9% of GDP (2010)
Physicians density: 1.6 physicians/1,000 population (2008)
Hospital bed density: 1 beds/1,000 population (2010)
Drinking water source: improved: urban: 94% of population rural: 76% of population total: 88% of population unimproved: urban: 6% of population rural: 24% of population total: 12% of population (2010 est.)
Sanitation facility access: improved: urban: 89% of population rural: 83% of population total: 87% of population unimproved: urban: 11% of population rural: 17% of population total: 13% of population (2010 est.)
HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate: 0.8% (2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS: 34,000 (2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS – deaths: 1,400 (2009 est.)
Obesity – adult prevalence rate: 25.8% (2008)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight: 6.6% (2008)
Education expenditures: 3.4% of GDP (2011)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 84.5% male: 87.1% female: 82.3% (2010 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education): total: 12 years
male: 12 years female: 12 years (2011)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24: total: 11.4%
male: 13% female: 8.3% (2007)
Country name: conventional long form: Republic of El Salvador conventional short form: El Salvador local long form: Republica de El Salvador local short form: El Salvador
Government type: republic
Capital: name: San Salvador geographic coordinates: 13 42 N, 89 12 W time difference: UTC-6 (1 hour behind Washington, DC during Standard Time) daylight saving time: none scheduled for 2013
Administrative divisions: 14 departments (departamentos, singular – departamento); Ahuachapan, Cabanas, Chalatenango, Cuscatlan, La Libertad, La Paz, La Union, Morazan, San Miguel, San Salvador, San Vicente, Santa Ana, Sonsonate, Usulutan
Independence: 15 September 1821 (from Spain)
National holiday: Independence Day, 15 September (1821)
Constitution: 20 December 1983
Legal system: civil law system with minor common law influence; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President Carlos Mauricio FUNES Cartagena (since 1 June 2009); Vice President Salvador SANCHEZ CEREN (since 1 June 2009); note – the president is both the chief of state and head of government head of government: President Carlos Mauricio FUNES Cartagena (since 1 June 2009); Vice President Salvador SANCHEZ CEREN (since 1 June 2009) cabinet: Council of Ministers selected by the president (For more information visit the World Leaders website ) elections: president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for a single five-year term; election last held on 15 March 2009 (next to be held in February 2014) election results: Mauricio FUNES Cartagena elected president; percent of vote – Mauricio FUNES Cartagena 51.3%, Rodrigo AVILA 48.7%
Legislative branch: unicameral Legislative Assembly or Asamblea Legislativa (84 seats; members elected by direct, popular vote to serve three-year terms) elections: last held on 11 March 2012 (next to be held in 2015) election results: percent of vote by party – NA; seats by party – ARENA 33, FMLN 31, GANA 11, CN 7, PES 1, PCD 1; note – changes in party affiliation now reflect the following seat distribution: as of 8 May 2013 – FMLN 31, ARENA 28, GANA 11, CN 7, Unidos por El Salvador 5, CD 1, PDC 1
Judicial branch: highest court(s): Supreme Court or Corte Suprema (consists of 15 judges assigned to constitutional, civil, penal, and administrative conflict divisions) judge selection and term of office: judges elected by the Legislative Assembly on the recommendation of the National Council of the Judicature, an independent body elected by the Legislative Assembly; judges elected for single, 9-year terms with renewal of one-third of judges every 3 years. subordinate courts: Chambers of Second Instance; Courts of First Instance; Courts of Peace
Political parties and leaders: Democratic Change (Cambio Democratico) or CD [Tomas CHEVEZ] (formerly United Democratic Center or CDU) Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front or FMLN [Medardo GONZALEZ] Great Alliance for National Unity or GANA [Andres ROVIRA] National Coalition (Concertation Nacional) or CN [Ciro CRUZ ZEPEDA] (formerly the National Conciliation Party or PCN) Nationalist Republican Alliance or ARENA [Alfredo CRISTIANI] Party of Hope or PES [Rodolfo Antonio PARKER Soto] (formerly the Christian Democratic Party or PCD) Unidos por El Salvador [Manuel Rigoberto SOTO Lazo]
Political pressure groups and leaders: labor organizations: Electrical Industry Union of El Salvador or SIES Federation of the Construction Industry, Similar Transport and other activities, or FESINCONTRANS National Confederation of Salvadoran Workers or CNTS National Union of Salvadoran Workers or UNTS Port Industry Union of El Salvador or SIPES Salvadoran Union of Ex-Petrolleros and Peasant Workers or USEPOC Salvadoran Workers Central or CTS Workers Union of Electrical Corporation or STCEL business organizations: National Association of Small Enterprise or ANEP Salvadoran Assembly Industry Association or ASIC Salvadoran Industrial Association or ASI
International organization participation: BCIE, CACM, CD, CELAC, FAO, G-11, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LAES, LAIA (observer), MIGA, MINURSO, NAM (observer), OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, SICA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNIFIL, Union Latina, UNMIL, UNMISS, UNOCI, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
National symbol(s): turquoise-browed motmot (bird)
National anthem: name: “Himno Nacional de El Salvador” (National Anthem of El Salvador) lyrics/music: Juan Jose CANAS/Juan ABERLE note: officially adopted 1953, in use since 1879; the anthem of El Salvador is one of the world’s longest
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Ruben Ignacio ZAMORA Rivas chancery: Suite 100, 1400 16th Street, Washington, DC 20036 telephone: [1] (202) 595-7500 FAX: [1] (202) 232-3763 consulate(s) general: Brentwood (NY), Chicago, Coral Gables (FL), Dallas, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Santa Ana (CA), Seattle, Tucson, Woodbridge (VA), Woodstock (GA) consulate(s): Elizabeth (NJ)
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Mari Carmen APONTE embassy: Final Boulevard Santa Elena Sur, Antiguo Cuscatlan, La Libertad, San Salvador mailing address: Unit 3450, APO AA 34023; 3450 San Salvador Place, Washington, DC 20521-3450 telephone: [503] 2501-2999 FAX: [503] 2501-2150
The smallest country in Central America geographically, El Salvador has the third largest economy in the region. With the global recession in 2009, real GDP contracted by 3.1%. The economy slowed even further during 2010-12. Remittances accounted for 17% of GDP in 2011 and were received by about a third of all households. In 2006, El Salvador was the first country to ratify the Dominican Republic-Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR), which has bolstered the export of processed foods, sugar, and ethanol, and supported investment in the apparel sector amid increased Asian competition. El Salvador has promoted an open trade and investment environment and has completed a wave of privatizations extending to telecom, electricity distribution, banking, and pension funds. The Salvadoran Government maintained fiscal discipline during post-war reconstruction and reconstruction following earthquakes in 2001 and hurricanes in 1998 and 2005, but El Salvador’s external debt has been mounting over the last several years. Taxes levied by the government include a value added tax (VAT) of 13%, income tax of 30%, excise taxes on alcohol and cigarettes, and import duties. The VAT accounted for about 51.7% of total tax revenues in 2011. El Salvador’s external debt amounts to about one-fourth of GDP. In 2012, El Salvador successfully completed a $461 million compact with the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) – a United States Government agency aimed at stimulating economic growth and reducing poverty – in the country’s northern region, the primary conflict zone during the civil war, through investments in education, public services, enterprise development, and transportation infrastructure. In January 2013, the MCC approved El Salvador as eligible for a possible second MCC compact.
GDP (purchasing power parity): GDP (purchasing power parity): $47.09 billion (2012 est.) $46.35 billion (2011 est.) $45.45 billion (2010 est.) note: data are in 2012 US dollars
GDP (official exchange rate): GDP (official exchange rate): $23.82 billion (2012 est.)
GDP – real growth rate: 1.6% (2012 est.) 2% (2011 est.) 1.4% (2010 est.)
GDP – per capita (PPP): GDP – per capita (PPP): $7,600 (2012 est.) $7,500 (2011 est.) $7,400 (2010 est.) note: data are in 2012 US dollars
Gross national saving: 8.9% of GDP (2012 est.) 8.9% of GDP (2011 est.) 10.2% of GDP (2010 est.)
GDP – composition, by end use: household consumption: 93.2% government consumption: 11% investment in fixed capital: 14.2% investment in inventories: 0% exports of goods and services: 28.2% imports of goods and services: -46.6% (2012 est.)
GDP – composition, by sector of origin: household consumption: 93.2% government consumption: 11% investment in fixed capital: 14.2% investment in inventories: 0% exports of goods and services: 28.2% imports of goods and services: -46.6% (2012 est.)
Agriculture – products: coffee, sugar, corn, rice, beans, oilseed, cotton, sorghum; beef, dairy products
Industries: food processing, beverages, petroleum, chemicals, fertilizer, textiles, furniture, light metals
Industrial production growth rate: 2% (2012 est.)
Labor force: 2.593 million (2012 est.)
Labor force – by occupation: agriculture: 21% industry: 20% services: 58% (2011 est.)
Unemployment rate: 6.9% (2012 est.) 7% (2011 est.) note: data are official rates; but the economy has much underemployment
Population below poverty line: 36.5% (2010 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 1% highest 10%: 37% (2009 est.)
Distribution of family income – Gini index: 46.9 (2007) 52.5 (2001)
Budget: revenues: $4.621 billion expenditures: $5.435 billion (2012 est.)
Taxes and other revenues: 19.4% of GDP (2012 est.)
Public debt: 59.4% of GDP (2012 est.) 53.6% of GDP (2011 est.) note: El Salvador’s total public debt includes non-financial public sector debt, financial public sector debt, and central bank debt
Fiscal year: calendar year
Inflation rate (consumer prices): Inflation rate (consumer prices): 1.8% (2012 est.) 5.1% (2011 est.)
Current account balance: -$1.035 billion (2012 est.) -$1.223 billion (2011 est.)
Exports: $5.447 billion (2012 est.) $5.402 billion (2011 est.)
Exports – commodities: offshore assembly exports, coffee, sugar, textiles and apparel, gold, ethanol, chemicals, electricity, iron and steel manufactures
Exports – partners: US 45.8%, Guatemala 14.9%, Honduras 9.6%, Nicaragua 5.8% (2012)
Imports: $9.912 billion (2012 est.) $9.801 billion (2011 est.)
Imports – commodities: raw materials, consumer goods, capital goods, fuels, foodstuffs, petroleum, electricity
Imports – partners: US 34.4%, Guatemala 10.8%, Mexico 6.8%, Colombia 5.7%, China 5.5%, Germany 4% (2012)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $3.176 billion (31 December 2012 est.) $2.504 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
Debt – external: $13.54 billion (31 December 2012 est.) $12 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment – at home: $8.613 billion (31 December 2012 est.) $8.097 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment – abroad: $12.4 million (31 December 2012 est.) $12.4 million (31 December 2011 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares: $5.474 billion (31 December 2011) $4.227 billion (31 December 2010) $4.432 billion (31 December 2009)
Exchange rates: note: the US dollar is used as a medium of exchange and circulates freely in the economy, 1 (2012 est.) 1 (2011 est.)
Electricity – production: 5.728 billion kWh (2011 est.) country comparison to the world: 112
Electricity – consumption: 5.756 billion kWh (2011 est.)
Electricity – exports: 101.6 million kWh (2011 est.)
Electricity – imports: 215.8 million kWh (2011 est.)
Electricity – installed generating capacity: 1.501 million kW (2009 est.)
Electricity – from fossil fuels: 53% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)
Electricity – from nuclear fuels: 0% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)
Electricity – from hydroelectric plants: 31.4% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)
Electricity – from other renewable sources: 15.6% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)
Crude oil – production: 0 bbl/day (2011 est.)
Crude oil – exports: 0 bbl/day (2009 est.)
Crude oil – imports: 13,160 bbl/day (2009 est.)
Crude oil – proved reserves: 0 bbl (1 January 2012 est.)
Refined petroleum products – production: 16,750 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Refined petroleum products – consumption: 44,040 bbl/day (2011 est.)
Refined petroleum products – exports: 2,158 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Refined petroleum products – imports: 26,860 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Natural gas – production: 0 cu m (2010 est.)
Natural gas – consumption: 0 cu m (2010 est.)
Natural gas – exports: 0 cu m (2010 est.)
Natural gas – imports: 0 cu m (2010 est.)
Natural gas – proved reserves: 0 cu m (1 January 2012 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy: 6.484 million Mt (2010 est.)
Telephones in use: 1.03 million (2011) country comparison to the world: 77
Cellular Phones in use: 8.316 million (2011)
Telephone system: general assessment: multiple mobile-cellular providers are expanding services rapidly and in 2011 teledensity exceeded 135 per 100 persons; growth in fixed-line services has slowed in the face of mobile-cellular competition domestic: nationwide microwave radio relay system international: country code – 503; satellite earth station – 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean); connected to Central American Microwave System (2011)
Broadcast media: multiple privately owned national terrestrial TV networks, supplemented by cable TV networks that carry international channels; hundreds of commercial radio broadcast stations and 1 government-owned radio broadcast station (2007)
Internet country code: .sv
Internet hosts: 24,070 (2012)
Internet users: 746,000 (2009)
Airports: 68 (2013) country comparison to the world: 73
Airports (paved runways): total 5
over 3,047 m: 1 1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 914 to 1,523 m: 2 under 914 m: 1 (2013)
Airports (unpaved runways): total 63
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 914 to 1,523 m: 11 under 914 m: 51 (2013)
Heliports: 2 (2013)
Railways: total 283 km
narrow gauge: 283 km 0.600-m gauge note: railways have been inoperable since 2005 because of disuse and high costs that led to a lack of maintenance (2008)
Roadways: total 6,918 km
paved: 3,247 km (includes 341 km of expressways) unpaved: 3,671 km (2010)
Waterways: (Rio Lempa is partially navigable for small craft) (2011)
Ports and terminals: major seaport(s): Puerto Cutuco oil/gas terminal(s): Acajutla offshore terminal
Military branches: Salvadoran Armed Forces (Fuerza Armada de El Salvador, FAES): Salvadoran Army (Ejercito de El Salvador, ES), Salvadoran Navy (Fuerza Naval de El Slavador, FNES), Salvadoran Air Force (Fuerza Aerea Salvadorena, FAS) (2013)
Military service age and obligation: 18 years of age for selective compulsory military service; 16-22 years of age for voluntary male or female service; service obligation is 12 months, with 11 months for officers and NCOs (2012)
Manpower available for military service: males age 16-49: 1,449,214 females age 16-49: 1,611,248 (2010 est.)
Manpower fit for military service: males age 16-49: 1,079,038 females age 16-49: 1,373,368 (2010 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually: male: 71,530 female: 68,971 (2010 est.)
Military expenditures: 0.6% of GDP (2012)
 Transnational Issues
Disputes – International: International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled on the delimitation of “bolsones” (disputed areas) along the El Salvador-Honduras boundary, in 1992, with final agreement by the parties in 2006 after an Organization of American States survey and a further ICJ ruling in 2003; the 1992 ICJ ruling advised a tripartite resolution to a maritime boundary in the Gulf of Fonseca advocating Honduran access to the Pacific; El Salvador continues to claim tiny Conejo Island, not identified in the ICJ decision, off Honduras in the Gulf of Fonseca
Illicit drugs: transshipment point for cocaine; small amounts of marijuana produced for local consumption; significant use of cocaine