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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
    13 50 N, 88 55 W
    Central America and the Caribbean
    total: 21,041 sq km
    land: 20,721 sq km
    water: 320 sq km
    slightly smaller than Massachusetts
    total: 590 km
    border countries (2): Guatemala 199 km, Honduras 391 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
    agricultural land: 74.7%
    arable land 33.1%; permanent crops 10.9%; permanent pasture 30.7%
    forest: 13.6%
    other: 11.7% (2011 est.)
    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 0.2% (includes Lenca, Kakawira, Nahua-Pipil), black 0.1%, other 0.6% (2007 est.)
    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.
    6,125,512 (July 2014 est.)
    0-14 years: 28.1% (male 882,185/female 837,646)
    15-24 years: 20.8% (male 640,322/female 635,409)
    25-54 years: 37.5% (male 1,056,779/female 1,243,220)
    55-64 years: 6.6% (male 182,937/female 224,019)
    65 years and over: 6.9% (male 187,664/female 235,331) (2014 est.)
    population pyramid:
    total dependency ratio: 57.6%
    youth dependency ratio: 46.2%
    elderly dependency ratio: 11.4%
    potential support ratio: 8.8% (2014 est.)
    total: 25.6 years
    male: 24.1 years
    female: 27.1 years (2014 est.)
    0.27% (2014 est.)
    16.79 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)
    5.67 deaths/1,000 population (2014 est.)
    -8.44 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2014 est.)
    urban population: 66.3% of total population (2014)
    rate of urbanization: 1.4% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
    SAN SALVADOR (capital) 1.097 million (2014)
    at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
    0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
    15-24 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
    25-54 years: 0.85 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 0.93 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.8 male(s)/female
    total population: 0.93 male(s)/female (2014 est.)
    note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2008 est.)
    69 deaths/100,000 live births (2013 est.)
    total: 18.44 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 20.52 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 16.27 deaths/1,000 live births (2014 est.)
    total population: 74.18 years
    male: 70.9 years
    female: 77.62 years (2014 est.)
    1.95 children born/woman (2014 est.)
    note: percent of women aged 15-44 (2008)
    6.9% of GDP (2013)
    1.6 physicians/1,000 population (2008)
    1.1 beds/1,000 population (2012)
    urban: 95% of population
    rural: 81% of population
    total: 90.1% of population
    urban: 5.8% of population
    rural: 19% of population
    total: 9.9% of population (2012 est.)
    urban: 79.5% of population
    rural: 53.4% of population
    total: 70.5% of population
    urban: 20.5% of population
    rural: 46.6% of population
    total: 29.5% of population (2012 est.)
    0.53% (2013 est.)
    21,300 (2013 est.)
    600 (2013 est.)
    degree of risk: high
    food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea
    vectorborne diseases: dengue fever (2013)
    20.1% (2014)
    6.6% (2008)
    3.4% of GDP (2011)
    definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    total population: 88%
    male: 90.4%
    female: 86% (2015 est.)
    total: 12 years
    male: 12 years
    female: 12 years (2012)
    total number: 179,303
    percentage: 4%
    note: data represents children ages 5-17 (2007 est.)
    total: 12.4%
    male: 12.8%
    female: 11.7% (2012 est.)
  • 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
    note: name is an abbreviation of the original Spanish conquistador designation for the area "Provincia de Nuestro Senor Jesus Cristo, el Salvador del Mundo" (Province of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the World), which became simply "El Salvador" (The Savior)
    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 2014
    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)
    many previous; latest drafted 16 December 1983, enacted 23 December 1983; amended many times, last in 2009 (2012)
    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 Salvador SANCHEZ CEREN (since 1 June 2014); Vice President Salvador Oscar ORTIZ (since 1 June 2014); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government
    head of government: President Salvador SANCHEZ CEREN (since 1 June 2014); Vice President Salvador Oscar ORTIZ (since 1 June 2014)
    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 on 2 February 2014, with a runoff on 9 March 2014 (next to be held in February 2019)
    election results: percent of vote - Salvador SANCHEZ CEREN elected president; first-round results - Salvador SANCHEZ CEREN 48.9%, Norman QUIJANO 39%, Antonio SACA 11.4%; second-round results - Salvador SANCHEZ CEREN 50.11%, Norman QUIJANO 49.89%
    description: unicameral Legislative Assembly or Asamblea Legislativa (84 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies and a single nationwide constituency by proportional representation vote to serve 3-year terms)
    elections: last held on 11 March 2012 (next to be held in March 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 28 March 2014 - 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 [Douglas AVILES] (formerly United Democratic Center or CDU)
    Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front or FMLN [Medardo GONZALEZ]
    Great Alliance for National Unity or GANA [Jose Andres ROVIRA Caneles]
    National Coalition (Concertation Nacional) or CN [Manuel RODRIGUEZ] (formerly the National Conciliation Party or PCN)
    Nationalist Republican Alliance or ARENA [Jorge VELADO]
    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-Petroleros 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, MINUSTAH, NAM (observer), OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, Pacific Alliance (observer), PCA, Petrocaribe, SICA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNIFIL, Union Latina, UNISFA, UNMISS, UNOCI, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
    chief of mission: Ambassador Francisco Roberto ALTSCHUL Fuentes (since 18 September 2014)
    chancery: Suite 100, 1400 16th Street, Washington, DC 20036
    telephone: [1] (202) 595-7500
    FAX: [1] (202) 232-3763
    consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Boston, Brentwood (NY), Chicago, Coral Gables (FL), Dallas, Houston, Las Vegas (NV), Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, Nogales (AZ), San Francisco, Santa Ana (CA), Seattle, Tucson, Woodbridge (VA), Woodstock (GA)
    consulate(s): Costa Mesa (CA), Elizabeth (NJ), Kansas City (MO), Newark (NJ), Philadelphia (PA), Phoenix (AZ), San Diego (CA), St. Louis (MO)
    chief of mission: Ambassador Mari Carmen APONTE (since 22 September 2010)
    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); national colors: blue, white
    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 fourth largest economy in the region. With the global recession, real GDP contracted in 2009 and economic growth has since remained low, averaging less than 2% from 2010 to 2014. Remittances accounted for 17% of GDP in 2014 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. 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 public debt has been growing over the last several years, amounting to some 59% of GDP in 2014. External debt was below 30% of GDP in 2014. In September 2014, El Salvador signed a five-year $277 million second compact with the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) - a United States Government agency aimed at stimulating economic growth and reducing poverty - to improve El Salvador's competitiveness and productivity in international markets. In November 2014 along with his counterparts from Guatemala and Honduras, President SANCHEZ CEREN announced the “Plan of the Alliance for Prosperity in the Northern Triangle.” This plan seeks to address the challenges facing the three Northern Triangle countries, including steps the governments will take to stimulate economic growth, increase transparency and fiscal responsibility, reduce violence, modernize the justice system, improve infrastructure, and promote educational opportunities over the next several years.
    $50.9 billion (2014 est.)
    $50.05 billion (2013 est.)
    $49.23 billion (2012 est.)
    note: data are in 2014 US dollars
    $25.14 billion (2014 est.)
    1.7% (2014 est.)
    1.7% (2013 est.)
    1.9% (2012 est.)
    $8,000 (2014 est.)
    $7,900 (2013 est.)
    $7,800 (2012 est.)
    note: data are in 2013 US dollars
    country comparison to the world: 145
    8.3% of GDP (2014 est.)
    8.6% of GDP (2013 est.)
    8.8% of GDP (2012 est.)
    household consumption: 92.8%
    government consumption: 12.1%
    investment in fixed capital: 15.4%
    investment in inventories: 0%
    exports of goods and services: 26.6%
    imports of goods and services: -46.9%
    (2014 est.)
    agriculture: 10%
    industry: 25.1%
    services: 64.9% (2014 est.)
    coffee, sugar, corn, rice, beans, oilseed, cotton, sorghum; beef, dairy products
    food processing, beverages, petroleum, chemicals, fertilizer, textiles, furniture, light metals
    2.2% (2014 est.)
    2.752 million (2014 est.)
    agriculture: 21%
    industry: 20%
    services: 58% (2011 est.)
    6.2% (2014 est.)
    6.3% (2013 est.)
    note: data are official rates; but underemployment is high
    36.5% (2010 est.)
    lowest 10%: 1%
    highest 10%: 37% (2009 est.)
    46.9 (2007)
    52.5 (2001)
    revenues: $5.098 billion
    expenditures: $5.977 billion (2014 est.)
    20.3% of GDP (2014 est.)
    -3.5% of GDP (2014 est.)
    63.4% of GDP (2014 est.)
    59% of GDP (2013 est.)
    note: El Salvador's total public debt includes non-financial public sector debt, financial public sector debt, and central bank debt
    calendar year
    1.5% (2014 est.)
    0.8% (2013 est.)
    6% (31 December 2014 est.)
    5.74% (31 December 2013 est.)
    $3.057 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $2.892 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    $11.45 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $10.87 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    $13.07 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $11.86 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    $10.74 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    $5.474 billion (31 December 2011)
    $4.227 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
    $-1.484 billion (2014 est.)
    $-1.577 billion (2013 est.)
    $4.521 billion (2014 est.)
    $4.334 billion (2013 est.)
    offshore assembly exports, coffee, sugar, textiles and apparel, gold, ethanol, chemicals, electricity, iron and steel manufactures
    US 43.6%, Honduras 14.5%, Guatemala 13%, Nicaragua 6%, Costa Rica 4.2% (2013)
    $10.11 billion (2014 est.)
    $9.629 billion (2013 est.)
    raw materials, consumer goods, capital goods, fuels, foodstuffs, petroleum, electricity
    US 38.2%, Guatemala 8.7%, Mexico 6.8%, China 6.1%, Honduras 5.2% (2013)
    $2.773 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $2.745 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    $15.46 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $14.01 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    $9.124 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $8.873 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    $650.2 million (31 December 2014 est.)
    $650.2 million (31 December 2013 est.)
    note: the US dollar is used as a medium of exchange and circulates freely in the economy
  • Energy :: EL SALVADOR

  • 5.992 billion kWh (2011 est.)
    5.412 billion kWh (2011 est.)
    78 million kWh (2012 est.)
    163 million kWh (2012 est.)
    1.507 million kW (2011 est.)
    53.1% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
    0% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
    31.3% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
    15.5% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
    3 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    16,160 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    0 bbl (1 January 2014 est.)
    16,620 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    46,210 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    2,425 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    29,020 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    0 cu m (2012 est.)
    0 cu m (2012 est.)
    0 cu m (2012 est.)
    0 cu m (2012 est.)
    0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
    6.375 million Mt (2012 est.)
  • Communications :: EL SALVADOR

  • 1.06 million (2012)
    8.65 million (2012)
    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)
    AM 52, FM 144, shortwave 0 (2005)
    5 (1997)
    24,070 (2012)
    746,000 (2009)
  • Transportation :: EL SALVADOR

  • 68 (2013)
    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
    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
    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 terminal(s): Acajutla offshore terminal
  • Military :: EL SALVADOR

  • 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)
    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)
    males age 16-49: 1,449,214
    females age 16-49: 1,611,248 (2010 est.)
    males age 16-49: 1,079,038
    females age 16-49: 1,373,368 (2010 est.)
    male: 71,530
    female: 68,971 (2010 est.)
    0.99% of GDP (2012)
    1.11% of GDP (2011)
    0.99% of GDP (2010)
  • 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