page last updated on October 28, 2009
Flag of El Salvador
Location 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
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: 31.37%
permanent crops: 11.88%
other: 56.75% (2005)
450 sq km (2003)
25.2 cu km (2001)
total: 1.28 cu km/yr (25%/16%/59%)
per capita: 186 cu m/yr (2000)
known as the Land of Volcanoes; frequent and sometimes destructive earthquakes and volcanic activity; extremely susceptible to hurricanes
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 ::El Salvador
7,185,218 (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 99
0-14 years: 35.4% (male 1,299,608/female 1,245,617)
15-64 years: 59.3% (male 2,033,423/female 2,225,810)
65 years and over: 5.3% (male 166,224/female 214,536) (2009 est.)
total: 22.5 years
male: 21.3 years
female: 23.6 years (2009 est.)
1.656% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 80
25.31 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 69
5.47 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 177
-3.27 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 151
urban population: 61% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 1.9% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
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 (2009 est.)
total: 21.52 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 101
male: 24.38 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 18.52 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)
total population: 72.33 years
country comparison to the world: 118
male: 68.72 years
female: 76.11 years (2009 est.)
3 children born/woman (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 72
0.8% (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 62
35,000 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 67
1,700 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 64
degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever
water contact disease: leptospirosis (2009)
noun: Salvadoran(s)
adjective: Salvadoran
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.)
total: 12 years
male: 12 years
female: 12 years (2006)
3.1% of GDP (2006)
country comparison to the world: 142
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)
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
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
chief of state: President 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 Mauricio FUNES Cartagena (since 1 June 2009); Vice President Salvador SANCHEZ CEREN (since 1 June 2009)
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 15 March 2009 (next to be held in March 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 are elected by direct, popular vote to serve three-year terms)
elections: last held 18 January 2009 (next to be held in March 2012)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - FMLN 35, ARENA 32, PCN 11, PDC 5, CD 1
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)
Christian Democratic Party or PDC [Rodolfo PARKER]; Democratic Convergence or CD [Hector DADA HIREZI] (formerly United Democratic Center or CDU); Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front or FMLN [Medardo GONZALEZ]; National Conciliation Party or PCN [Ciro CRUZ ZEPEDA]; Nationalist Republican Alliance or ARENA [Rodrigo AVILA]; Popular Social Christian Party or PPSC [Rene AGUILUZ]; Revolutionary Democratic Front or FDR [Julio Cesar HERNANDEZ Carcamo]
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, FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, MINURSO, NAM (observer), OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, RG, SICA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNIFIL, Union Latina, UNMIL, UNMIS, UNOCI, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Francisco ALTSCHUL Fuentes
chancery: Suite 100, 1400 16th Street, Washington, DC 20036
telephone: [1] (202) 265-9671
FAX: [1] (202) 234-3763
consulate(s) general: Chicago, Dallas, Duluth (Georgia), Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York (2), Nogales (Arizona), Santa Ana (California), San Francisco, Washington (DC), Woodbridge (Virginia)
consulate(s): Boston, Elizabeth (New Jersey)
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Robert BLAU
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; 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
The smallest country in Central America, El Salvador has the third largest economy, but growth has been modest in recent years. Economic growth will decelerate in 2009 due to the global slowdown and to El Salvador's dependence on exports to the US and remittances from the US. El Salvador leads the region in remittances per capita with inflows equivalent to nearly all export income. In 2006 El Salvador was the first country to ratify the Central America-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). CAFTA has bolstered the export of processed foods, sugar, and ethanol, and supported investment in the maquila sector. The SACA administration has sought to diversify the economy, focusing on regional transportation and tourism. El Salvador has promoted an open trade and investment environment, 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. 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.
$43.63 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 91
$42.56 billion (2007 est.)
$40.65 billion (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
$22.12 billion (2008 est.)
2.5% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 146
4.7% (2007 est.)
4.2% (2006 est.)
$6,200 (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 130
$6,100 (2007 est.)
$6,000 (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
agriculture: 10.7%
industry: 28.8%
services: 60.6% (2008 est.)
2.947 million (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 102
agriculture: 19%
industry: 23%
services: 58% (2006 est.)
6.3% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 80
6.2% (2007 est.)
note: data are official rates; but the economy has much underemployment
30.7% (2006 est.)
lowest 10%: 1%
highest 10%: 37% (2005)
52.4 (2002)
country comparison to the world: 18
52.5 (2001)
14.9% of GDP (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 136
revenues: $4.016 billion
expenditures: $4.242 billion (2008 est.)
42.9% of GDP (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 47
41.7% of GDP (2004 est.)
7.3% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 119
4.6% (2007 est.)
7.87% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 109
7.81% (31 December 2007)
$NA (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 153
$209.7 million (31 December 2007)
$NA (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 124
$797.1 million (31 December 2007)
$9.221 billion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 127
$1.15 billion (31 December 2007)
$NA (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 79
$6.743 billion (31 December 2007)
$5.465 billion (31 December 2006)
coffee, sugar, corn, rice, beans, oilseed, cotton, sorghum; beef, dairy products
food processing, beverages, petroleum, chemicals, fertilizer, textiles, furniture, light metals
1.5% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 117
5.559 billion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 110
4.676 billion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 110
7 million kWh (2007 est.)
38 million kWh (2007 est.)
0 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 178
45,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 99
1,927 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 115
46,310 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 90
0 bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 172
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 185
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 188
0 cu m (2008)
country comparison to the world: 61
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 84
0 cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 183
$-1.595 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 133
$-1.119 billion (2007 est.)
$4.611 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 114
$4.035 billion (2007 est.)
offshore assembly exports, coffee, sugar, textiles and apparel, gold, ethanol, chemicals, electricity, iron and steel manufactures
US 47%, Guatemala 13.8%, Honduras 11.4%, Nicaragua 5.6% (2008)
$9.003 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 97
$8.108 billion (2007 est.)
raw materials, consumer goods, capital goods, fuels, foodstuffs, petroleum, electricity
US 29.6%, Mexico 10.6%, Guatemala 9.2%, China 4.8%, France 4.3% (2008)
$2.545 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 100
$2.199 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
$10.69 billion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 82
$9.808 billion (31 December 2007)
$6.702 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 86
$5.918 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
$440 million (31 December 2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 75
$384 million (31 December 2007 est.)
the US dollar became El Salvador's currency in 2001
Communications ::El Salvador
1.077 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 77
6.951 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 72
general assessment: multiple mobile-cellular service providers are expanding services rapidly and in 2008 mobile-cellular density stood at nearly 100 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 (2008)
AM 52, FM 144, shortwave 0 (2005)
5 (1997)
.sv
8,177 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 123
826,000 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 98
Transportation ::El Salvador
65 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 77
total: 4
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2009)
total: 61
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 13
under 914 m: 47 (2009)
1 (2009)
total: 283 km
country comparison to the world: 123
narrow gauge: 283 km 0.914-m gauge
note: railways have been inoperable since 2005 because of disuse and high costs that led to a lack of maintenance (2008)
total: 10,886 km
country comparison to the world: 136
paved: 2,827 km (includes 327 km of expressways)
unpaved: 8,059 km (2000)
Rio Lempa partially navigable for small craft (2008)
Acajutla, Puerto Cutuco
Military ::El Salvador
Salvadoran Army (ES), Salvadoran Navy (FNES), Salvadoran Air Force (Fuerza Aerea Salvadorena, FAS) (2008)
18 years of age for selective compulsory military service; 16-22 years of age for voluntary male or female service; service obligation - 12 months, with 11 months for officers and NCOs (2009)
males age 16-49: 1,634,816
females age 16-49: 1,775,474 (2008 est.)
males age 16-49: 1,201,290
females age 16-49: 1,547,278 (2009 est.)
male: 77,473
female: 74,655 (2009 est.)
5% of GDP (2006)
country comparison to the world: 18
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 (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
transshipment point for cocaine; small amounts of marijuana produced for local consumption; significant use of cocaine