Country Information Database


El Salvador Country Information

El Salvador
Flag of El Salvador
Map of El Salvador
Introduction El Salvador
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.
Geography El Salvador
Central America, bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between Guatemala and Honduras
Geographic coordinates:
13 50 N, 88 55 W
Map references:
Central America and the Caribbean
total: 21,040 sq km
land: 20,720 sq km
water: 320 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than Massachusetts
Land boundaries:
total: 545 km
border countries: Guatemala 203 km, Honduras 342 km
307 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
tropical; rainy season (May to October); dry season (November to April); tropical on coast; temperate in uplands
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: 31.37%
permanent crops: 11.88%
other: 56.75% (2005)
Irrigated land:
450 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources:
25.2 cu km (2001)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 1.28 cu km/yr (25%/16%/59%)
per capita: 186 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards:
known as the Land of Volcanoes; frequent and sometimes destructive earthquakes and volcanic activity; extremely susceptible to hurricanes
Environment - current issues:
deforestation; soil erosion; water pollution; contamination of soils from disposal of toxic wastes
Environment - international 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
Geography - note:
smallest Central American country and only one without a coastline on Caribbean Sea
People El Salvador
7,066,403 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 35.8% (male 1,291,147/female 1,237,453)
15-64 years: 59% (male 1,987,671/female 2,179,620)
65 years and over: 5.2% (male 162,100/female 208,412) (2008 est.)
Median age:
total: 22.2 years
male: 21.1 years
female: 23.4 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate:
1.679% (2008 est.)
Birth rate:
25.72 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate:
5.53 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate:
-3.4 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.91 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.78 male(s)/female
total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 22.19 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 25.06 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 19.18 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 72.06 years
male: 68.45 years
female: 75.84 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate:
3.04 children born/woman (2008 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.7% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
29,000 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
2,200 (2003 est.)
Major infectious diseases:
degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever
water contact disease: leptospirosis (2008)
noun: Salvadoran(s)
adjective: Salvadoran
Ethnic groups:
mestizo 90%, white 9%, Amerindian 1%
Roman Catholic 57.1%, Protestant 21.2%, Jehovah's Witnesses 1.9%, Mormon 0.7%, other religions 2.3%, none 16.8% (2003 est.)
Spanish, Nahua (among some Amerindians)
definition: age 10 and over can read and write
total population: 80.2%
male: 82.8%
female: 77.7% (2003 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 12 years
male: 12 years
female: 12 years (2006)
Education expenditures:
3.1% of GDP (2006)
Government El Salvador
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:
name: San Salvador
geographic coordinates: 13 42 N, 89 12 W
time difference: UTC-6 (1 hour behind Washington, DC during Standard Time)
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
15 September 1821 (from Spain)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 15 September (1821)
20 December 1983
Legal system:
based on civil and Roman law with traces of common law; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Elias Antonio SACA Gonzalez (since 1 June 2004); Vice President Ana Vilma Albanez DE ESCOBAR (since 1 June 2004); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Elias Antonio SACA Gonzalez (since 1 June 2004); Vice President Ana Vilma Albanez DE ESCOBAR (since 1 June 2004)
cabinet: Council of Ministers selected by the president
elections: president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for a single five-year term; election last held 21 March 2004 (next to be held in March 2009)
election results: Elias Antonio SACA Gonzalez elected president; percent of vote - Elias Antonio SACA Gonzalez 57.7%, Schafik HANDAL 35.6%, Hector SILVA 3.9%, other 2.8%
Legislative branch:
unicameral Legislative Assembly or Asamblea Legislativa (84 seats; members are elected by direct, popular vote to serve three-year terms)
elections: last held 12 March 2006 (next to be held in March 2009)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - ARENA 34, FMLN 32, PCN 10, PDC 6, CD 2
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court or Corte Suprema (15 judges are selected by the Legislative Assembly; the 15 judges are assigned to four Supreme Court chambers - constitutional, civil, penal, and administrative conflict)
Political parties and leaders:
Christian Democratic Party or PDC [Rodolfo PARKER]; Democratic Convergence or CD [Ruben ZAMORA] (formerly United Democratic Center or CDU); Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front or FMLN [Medardo GONZALEZ]; National Conciliation Party or PCN [Ciro CRUZ ZEPEDA]; National Republican Alliance or ARENA [Elias Antonio SACA Gonzalez]; Popular Social Christian Party or PPSC [Rene AGUILUZ]; Revolutionary Democratic Front or FDR [Julio Cesar HERNANDEZ Carcamo]
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:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Rene Antonio LEON Rodriguez
chancery: 1400 16th Street, Washington, DC 20036
telephone: [1] (202) 265-9671
FAX: [1] (202) 234-3763
consulate(s) general: Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Elizabeth (New Jersey), Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York (2), Nogales (Arizona), Santa Ana (California), San Francisco, Washington (DC), Woodbridge (Virginia), Woodstock (Georgia)
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Charles L. GLAZER
embassy: Final Boulevard Santa Elena Sur, Antiguo Cuscatlan, La Libertad, San Salvador
mailing address: Unit 3116, APO AA 34023
telephone: [503] 2278-4444
FAX: [503] 2278-6011
Flag description:
three equal horizontal bands of blue (top), white, and blue with the national coat of arms centered in the white band; the coat of arms features a round emblem encircled by the words REPUBLICA DE EL SALVADOR EN LA AMERICA CENTRAL; similar to the flag of Nicaragua, which has a different coat of arms centered in the white band - it features a triangle encircled by the words REPUBLICA DE NICARAGUA on top and AMERICA CENTRAL on the bottom; also similar to the flag of Honduras, which has five blue stars arranged in an X pattern centered in the white band
Economy El Salvador
Economy - overview:
The smallest country in Central America, El Salvador has the third largest economy, but growth has been modest in recent years. Robust growth in non-traditional exports have offset declines in the maquila exports, while remittances and external aid offset the trade deficit from high oil prices and strong import demand for consumer and intermediate goods. El Salvador leads the region in remittances per capita with inflows equivalent to nearly all export income. Implementation in 2006 of the Central America-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), which El Salvador was the first to ratify, has strengthened an already positive export trend. With the adoption of the US dollar as its currency in 2001, El Salvador lost control over monetary policy and must concentrate on maintaining a disciplined fiscal policy. The current government has pursued economic diversification, with some success in promoting textile production, international port services, and tourism through tax incentives. It is committed to opening the economy to trade and investment, and has embarked on a wave of privatizations extending to telecom, electricity distribution, banking, and pension funds. In late 2006, the government and the Millennium Challenge Corporation signed a five-year, $461 million compact to stimulate economic growth and reduce poverty in the country's northern region through investments in education, public services, enterprise development, and transportation infrastructure.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$41.63 billion (2007 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
$20.37 billion (2007 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
4.7% (2007 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$6,000 (2007 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 10.8%
industry: 30.8%
services: 58.4% (2007 est.)
Labor force:
2.913 million (2007 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 19%
industry: 23%
services: 58% (2006 est.)
Unemployment rate:
6.2% official rate; but the economy has much underemployment (2007 est.)
Population below poverty line:
30.7% (2006 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 0.7%
highest 10%: 38.8% (2002)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
52.4 (2002)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
4.6% (2007 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
16.1% of GDP (2007 est.)
revenues: $3.659 billion
expenditures: $3.709 billion (2007 est.)
Public debt:
37.3% of GDP (2007 est.)
Agriculture - products:
coffee, sugar, corn, rice, beans, oilseed, cotton, sorghum; beef, dairy products; shrimp
food processing, beverages, petroleum, chemicals, fertilizer, textiles, furniture, light metals
Industrial production growth rate:
3.4% (2007 est.)
Electricity - production:
5.316 billion kWh (2006)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 44%
hydro: 30.9%
nuclear: 0%
other: 25.1% (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
5.319 billion kWh (2006)
Electricity - exports:
111.1 million kWh (2007)
Electricity - imports:
38.6 million kWh (2007)
Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2005)
Oil - consumption:
43,200 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - exports:
4,963 bbl/day (2006)
Oil - imports:
45,210 bbl/day (2006)
Oil - proved reserves:
0 bbl (1 January 2006 est.)
Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2005)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
0 cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Current account balance:
-$1.119 billion (2007 est.)
$4.035 billion (2007 est.)
Exports - commodities:
offshore assembly exports, coffee, sugar, shrimp, textiles, chemicals, electricity
Exports - partners:
US 47.3%, Guatemala 15.4%, Honduras 9.5%, Nicaragua 5.4%, Costa Rica 4.1% (2007)
$8.108 billion (2007 est.)
Imports - commodities:
raw materials, consumer goods, capital goods, fuels, foodstuffs, petroleum, electricity
Imports - partners:
US 31.7%, Guatemala 10.6%, Mexico 8.5%, China 4.8% (2007)
Economic aid - recipient:
$267.6 million of which $55 million from US (2005)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$2.199 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Debt - external:
$9.574 billion (December 2007)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
$5.918 billion (2007 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:
$384 million (2007 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares:
$3.623 billion (2005)
Currency (code):
US dollar (USD)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
the US dollar became El Salvador's currency in 2001
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications El Salvador
Telephones - main lines in use:
1.08 million (2007)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
6.137 million (2007)
Telephone system:
general assessment: multiple mobile-cellular service providers are expanding services rapidly and in 2007 mobile-cellular density stood at nearly 90 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 (2007)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 52, FM 144, shortwave 0 (2005)
2.75 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
5 (1997)
600,000 (1990)
Internet country code:
Internet hosts:
12,519 (2007)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
4 (2000)
Internet users:
700,000 (2006)
Transportation El Salvador
65 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 4
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2007)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 61
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 12
under 914 m: 48 (2007)
1 (2007)
total: 562 km
narrow gauge: 562 km 0.914-m gauge
note: railways not in operation since 2005 because of disuse and high costs that led to a lack of maintenance (2007)
total: 10,886 km
paved: 2,827 km (includes 327 km of expressways)
unpaved: 8,059 km (2000)
Rio Lempa partially navigable for small craft (2007)
Ports and terminals:
Acajutla, Puerto Cutuco
Military El Salvador
Military branches:
Salvadoran Army (ES), Salvadoran Navy (FNES), Salvadoran Air Force (Fuerza Aerea Salvadorena, FAS) (2008)
Military service age and obligation:
18 years of age for selective compulsory military service; 16 years of age for voluntary service; service obligation - 8 months, but 11 months for officers and NCOs (2008)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 1,634,816
females age 16-49: 1,775,474 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 1,168,406
females age 16-49: 1,519,375 (2008 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 73,915
female: 71,252 (2008 est.)
Military expenditures:
5% of GDP (2006)
Transnational Issues El Salvador
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 (OAS) 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

This page was last updated on 2 October, 2008 Access Time: Thu, 07 Dec 2023 00:47:36 +0000