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
    13 50 N, 88 55 W
    total: 21,041 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 153
    land: 20,721 sq km
    water: 320 sq km
    slightly smaller than Massachusetts
    total: 545 km
    border countries: Guatemala 203 km, Honduras 342 km
    307 km
    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
    lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
    highest point: Cerro El Pital 2,730 m
    hydropower, geothermal power, petroleum, arable land
    arable land: 31.61%
    permanent crops: 10.93%
    other: 57.46% (2011)
    449.9 sq km (2003)
    25.23 cu km (2011)
    total: 1.84 cu km/yr (22%/14%/64%)
    per capita: 301.9 cu m/yr (2007)
    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
    deforestation; soil erosion; water pollution; contamination of soils from disposal of toxic wastes
    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
    smallest Central American country and only one without a coastline on Caribbean Sea

People and Society ::El Salvador

    noun: Salvadoran(s)
    adjective: Salvadoran
    mestizo 86.3%, white 12.7%, Amerindian 1% (2007 census)
    Spanish (official), Nahua (among some Amerindians)
    Roman Catholic 57.1%, Protestant 21.2%, Jehovah's Witnesses 1.9%, Mormon 0.7%, other religions 2.3%, none 16.8% (2003 est.)
    El Salvador is the smallest and most densely populated country in Central America. It is well into its demographic transition, experiencing slower population growth, a decline in its number of youths, and the gradual aging of its population. The increased use of family planning has substantially lowered El Salvador's fertility rate, from approximately 6 children per woman in the 1970s to replacement level today. A 2008 national family planning survey showed that female sterilization remained the most common contraception method in El Salvador - its sterilization rate is among the highest in Latin America and the Caribbean - but that the use of injectable contraceptives is growing. Fertility differences between rich and poor and urban and rural women are narrowing.
    Salvadorans fled during the 1979 to 1992 civil war mainly to the United States but also to Canada and to neighboring Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica. Emigration to the United States increased again in the 1990s and 2000s as a result of deteriorating economic conditions, natural disasters (Hurricane Mitch in 1998 and earthquakes in 2001), and family reunification. At least 20% of El Salvador's population lives abroad. The remittances they send home account for close to 20% of GDP, are the second largest source of external income after exports, and have helped reduce poverty.
    6,108,590 (July 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 107
    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.)
    total dependency ratio: 59 %
    youth dependency ratio: 47.6 %
    elderly dependency ratio: 11.3 %
    potential support ratio: 8.8 (2013)
    total: 25.1 years
    male: 23.7 years
    female: 26.6 years (2013 est.)
    0.29% (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 170
    17.12 births/1,000 population (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 113
    5.65 deaths/1,000 population (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 174
    -8.61 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 206
    urban population: 64% of total population (2010)
    rate of urbanization: 1.4% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
    SAN SALVADOR (capital) 1.605 million (2011)
    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.)
    20.8 (2008 est.)
    81 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 82
    total: 19.05 deaths/1,000 live births
    country comparison to the world: 97
    male: 21.12 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 16.87 deaths/1,000 live births (2013 est.)
    total population: 73.93 years
    country comparison to the world: 117
    male: 70.66 years
    female: 77.37 years (2013 est.)
    1.99 children born/woman (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 130
    72.5%
    note: percent of women aged 15-44 (2008)
    6.9% of GDP (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 87
    1.6 physicians/1,000 population (2008)
    1 beds/1,000 population (2010)
    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.)
    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.)
    0.8% (2009 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 54
    34,000 (2009 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 66
    1,400 (2009 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 61
    degree of risk: high
    food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea
    vectorborne diseases: dengue fever (2013)
    25.8% (2008)
    country comparison to the world: 51
    6.6% (2008)
    country comparison to the world: 78
    3.4% of GDP (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 130
    definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    total population: 84.5%
    male: 87.1%
    female: 82.3% (2010 est.)
    total: 12 years
    male: 12 years
    female: 12 years (2011)
    total number: 179,303
    percentage: 4 %
    note: data represents children ages 5-17 (2007 est.)
    total: 11.4%
    country comparison to the world: 100
    male: 13%
    female: 8.3% (2007)

Government ::El Salvador

    conventional long form: Republic of El Salvador
    conventional short form: El Salvador
    local long form: Republica de El Salvador
    local short form: El Salvador
    republic
    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
    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)
    Independence Day, 15 September (1821)
    20 December 1983
    civil law system with minor common law influence; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court
    has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
    18 years of age; universal
    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
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    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%
    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
    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
    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]
    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
    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
    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)
    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
    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; the banner is based on the former blue-white-blue flag of the Federal Republic of Central America; the blue bands symbolize the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, while the white band represents the land between the two bodies of water, as well as peace and prosperity
    note: 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
    turquoise-browed motmot (bird)
    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

Economy ::El Salvador

    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.
    $47.09 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 99
    $46.35 billion (2011 est.)
    $45.45 billion (2010 est.)
    note: data are in 2012 US dollars
    $23.82 billion (2012 est.)
    1.6% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 144
    2% (2011 est.)
    1.4% (2010 est.)
    $7,600 (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 138
    $7,500 (2011 est.)
    $7,400 (2010 est.)
    note: data are in 2012 US dollars
    8.9% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 129
    8.9% of GDP (2011 est.)
    10.2% of GDP (2010 est.)
    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: 10.2%
    industry: 29.1%
    services: 60.7% (2012 est.)
    coffee, sugar, corn, rice, beans, oilseed, cotton, sorghum; beef, dairy products
    food processing, beverages, petroleum, chemicals, fertilizer, textiles, furniture, light metals
    2% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 98
    2.593 million (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 112
    agriculture: 21%
    industry: 20%
    services: 58% (2011 est.)
    6.9% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 73
    7% (2011 est.)
    note: data are official rates; but the economy has much underemployment
    36.5% (2010 est.)
    lowest 10%: 1%
    highest 10%: 37% (2009 est.)
    46.9 (2007)
    country comparison to the world: 31
    52.5 (2001)
    revenues: $4.621 billion
    expenditures: $5.435 billion (2012 est.)
    19.4% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 171
    -3.4% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 130
    59.4% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 47
    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
    calendar year
    1.8% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 35
    5.1% (2011 est.)
    6.2% (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 143
    5.99% (31 December 2011 est.)
    $2.796 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 116
    $2.781 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $9.527 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 109
    $9.213 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $10.51 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 97
    $10.82 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $5.474 billion (31 December 2011)
    country comparison to the world: 86
    $4.227 billion (31 December 2010)
    $4.432 billion (31 December 2009)
    -$1.035 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 112
    -$1.223 billion (2011 est.)
    $5.447 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 112
    $5.402 billion (2011 est.)
    offshore assembly exports, coffee, sugar, textiles and apparel, gold, ethanol, chemicals, electricity, iron and steel manufactures
    US 45.8%, Guatemala 14.9%, Honduras 9.6%, Nicaragua 5.8% (2012)
    $9.912 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 98
    $9.801 billion (2011 est.)
    raw materials, consumer goods, capital goods, fuels, foodstuffs, petroleum, electricity
    US 34.4%, Guatemala 10.8%, Mexico 6.8%, Colombia 5.7%, China 5.5%, Germany 4% (2012)
    $3.176 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 106
    $2.504 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $13.54 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 91
    $12 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $8.613 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 84
    $8.097 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $12.4 million (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 92
    $12.4 million (31 December 2011 est.)
    note: the US dollar is used as a medium of exchange and circulates freely in the economy, 1 (2012 est.)
    1 (2011 est.)

Energy ::El Salvador

Communications ::El Salvador

    1.03 million (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 77
    8.316 million (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 86
    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)
    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)
    .sv
    24,070 (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 113
    746,000 (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 107

Transportation ::El Salvador

    68 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 73
    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)
    total: 63
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
    914 to 1,523 m: 11
    under 914 m:
    51 (2013)
    2 (2013)
    total: 283 km
    country comparison to the world: 121
    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)
    total: 6,918 km
    country comparison to the world: 148
    paved: 3,247 km (includes 341 km of expressways)
    unpaved: 3,671 km (2010)
    (Rio Lempa is partially navigable for small craft) (2011)
    major seaport(s): Puerto Cutuco
    oil/gas terminal(s): Acajutla offshore terminal

Military ::El Salvador

Transnational Issues ::El Salvador

    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
    transshipment point for cocaine; small amounts of marijuana produced for local consumption; significant use of cocaine