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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: 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)
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
6,822,378 (July 2006 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 36.3% (male 1,265,080/female 1,212,216)
15-64 years: 58.5% (male 1,900,372/female 2,092,251)
65 years and over: 5.2% (male 156,292/female 196,167) (2006 est.)
Median age:
total: 21.8 years
male: 20.7 years
female: 22.9 years (2006 est.)
Population growth rate:
1.72% (2006 est.)
Birth rate:
26.61 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Death rate:
5.78 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Net migration rate:
-3.61 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 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: 0.8 male(s)/female
total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2006 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 24.39 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 27.27 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 21.37 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 71.49 years
male: 67.88 years
female: 75.28 years (2006 est.)
Total fertility rate:
3.12 children born/woman (2006 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.)
noun: Salvadoran(s)
adjective: Salvadoran
Ethnic groups:
mestizo 90%, white 9%, Amerindian 1%
Roman Catholic 83%, other 17%
note: there is extensive activity by Protestant groups throughout the country; by the end of 1992, there were an estimated 1 million Protestant evangelicals in El Salvador
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.)
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)
23 December 1983
Legal system:
based on civil and Roman law with traces of common law; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Elias Antonio SACA Gonzalez (since 1 June 2004); Vice President Ana Vilma 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 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 March 2009)
election results: Elias Antonio SACA Gonzalez elected president; percent of vote - Elias Antonio SACA Gonzalez (ARENA) 57.7%, Schafik HANDAL (FMLN) 35.6%, Hector SILVA (CDU-PDC) 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 (judges are selected by the Legislative Assembly)
Political parties and leaders:
Christian Democratic Party or PDC [Rodolfo PARKER, secretary general]; Democratic Convergence or CD (formerly United Democratic Center or CDU) [Ruben ZAMORA, secretary general]; Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front or FMLN [Medardo GONZALEZ, coordinator general]; National Conciliation Party or PCN [Ciro CRUZ ZEPEDA, president]; 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, coordinator general]
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: 2308 California Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 265-9671
FAX: [1] (202) 234-3834
consulate(s) general: Chicago, Dallas, Elizabeth (New Jersey), Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York (2), Nogales (Arizona), Santa Ana (California), San Francisco, Washington, DC
consulate(s): Boston
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador H. Douglas BARCLAY
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] 2278-5522
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 minimal in recent years. Hoping to stimulate the sluggish economy, the government is striving to open new export markets, encourage foreign investment, and modernize the tax and healthcare systems. Implementation in 2006 of the Central America-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement, which El Salvador was the first to ratify, has strenthened an already positive export trend. The trade deficit has been offset by annual remittances from Salvadorans living abroad - equivalent to more than 15% of GDP - and external aid. With the adoption of the US dollar as its currency in 2001, El Salvador has 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. 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.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$33.2 billion (2006 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
$15.14 billion (2006 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
4% (2006 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$4,900 (2006 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 9.7%
industry: 29.6%
services: 60.7% (2006 est.)
Labor force:
2.856 million (2006 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 17.1%
industry: 17.1%
services: 65.8% (2003 est.)
Unemployment rate:
6% official rate; but the economy has much underemployment (2006 est.)
Population below poverty line:
36.1% (2003 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 1.4%
highest 10%: 39.3% (2001)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
52.5 (2001)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
4.3% (2006 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
16.2% of GDP (2006 est.)
revenues: $356.6 million
expenditures: $384.5 million; including capital expenditures of $NA (2006 est.)
Public debt:
44.2% of GDP (2006 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:
2% (2006 est.)
Electricity - production:
4.174 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 44%
hydro: 30.9%
nuclear: 0%
other: 25.1% (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
4.229 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - exports:
109 million kWh (2004)
Electricity - imports:
456 million kWh (2004)
Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - consumption:
43,000 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - exports:
NA bbl/day (2001)
Oil - imports:
NA bbl/day (2001)
Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
0 cu m (2004 est.)
Current account balance:
$-1.059 billion (2006 est.)
$3.686 billion (2006 est.)
Exports - commodities:
offshore assembly exports, coffee, sugar, shrimp, textiles, chemicals, electricity
Exports - partners:
US 61%, Guatemala 12.1%, Honduras 7.4%, Nicaragua 4.2% (2005)
$7.326 billion (2006 est.)
Imports - commodities:
raw materials, consumer goods, capital goods, fuels, foodstuffs, petroleum, electricity
Imports - partners:
US 43.4%, Guatemala 8.2%, Mexico 7.8% (2005)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$1.951 billion (2006 est.)
Debt - external:
$8.841 billion (30 June 2006 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
$125 million of which, $53 million from US (2003)
Currency (code):
US dollar (USD)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
8.75 (2006), the US dollar became El Salvador's currency in 2001
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications El Salvador
Telephones - main lines in use:
971,500 (2005)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
2.412 million (2005)
Telephone system:
general assessment: NA
domestic: nationwide microwave radio relay system
international: country code - 503; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean); connected to Central American Microwave System
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 61 (plus 24 repeaters), FM 30, shortwave 0 (1998)
2.75 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
5 (1997)
600,000 (1990)
Internet country code:
Internet hosts:
4,682 (2006)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
4 (2000)
Internet users:
637,100 (2005)
Transportation El Salvador
75 (2006)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 4
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2006)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 71
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 14
under 914 m: 56 (2006)
1 (2006)
total: 283 km
narrow gauge: 283 km 0.914-m gauge
note: length of operational route reduced from 562 km to 283 km by disuse and lack of maintenance (2005)
total: 10,029 km
paved: 1,986 km
unpaved: 8,043 km (1999)
Rio Lempa partially navigable (2004)
Ports and terminals:
Acajutla, Puerto Cutuco
Military El Salvador
Military branches:
Salvadoran Army (ES), Salvadoran Navy (FNES), Salvadoran Air Force (Fuerza Aerea Salvadorena, FAS) (2006)
Military service age and obligation:
18 years of age for compulsory military service, with 12-month service obligation; 16 years of age for volunteers (2002)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 18-49: 1,391,278
females age 18-49: 1,542,323 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 18-49: 960,315
females age 18-49: 1,310,466 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:
males age 18-49: 70,286
females age 18-49: 69,526 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$161.7 million (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
1% (2005 est.)
Transnational Issues El Salvador
Disputes - international:
in 1992, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled on the delimitation of "bolsones" (disputed areas) along the El Salvador-Honduras boundary, but despite Organization of American States (OAS) intervention and a further ICJ ruling in 2003, full demarcation of the border remains stalled; 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; domestic cocaine abuse on the rise

This page was last updated on 18 January, 2007