El Salvador( Central America and Caribbean )

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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.
Central America, bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between Guatemala and Honduras
Geographic coordinates:
13 50 N, 88 55 W
total: 21,041 sq km
land: 20,721 sq km
water: 320 sq km
Area comparative:
slightly smaller than Massachusetts
Land boundaries:
total: 590 km
border countries: Guatemala 199 km, Honduras 391 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: 31.61%
permanent crops: 10.93%
other: 57.46% (2011)
Irrigated land:
449.9 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources:
25.23 cu km (2011)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic or industrial or agricultural):
total: 1.84 cu km/yr (22%/14%/64%)
per capita: 301.9 cu m/yr (2007)
Natural hazards:
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
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 and Society
noun: Salvadoran(s)
adjective: Salvadoran
Ethnic groups:
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.)
6,125,512 (July 2014 est.)
Age structure:
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: 6.7% (male 187,664/female 235,331) (2014 est.)
Dependency ratios:
total dependency ratio: 57.6 %
youth dependency ratio: 46.2 %
elderly dependency ratio: 11.4 %
potential support ratio: 8.8 (2014 est.)
Median age:
total: 25.6 years
male: 24.1 years
female: 27.1 years (2014 est.)
Population growth rate:
0.27% (2014 est.)
Birth rate:
16.79 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)
Death rate:
5.67 deaths/1,000 population (2014 est.)
Net migration rate:
-8.44 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2014 est.)
urban population: 64.8% of total population (2011)
rate of urbanization: 1.35% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Major urban areas population:
SAN SALVADOR (capital) 1.605 million (2011)
Sex ratio:
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.)
Infant mortality rate:
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.)
Maternal mortality rate:
81 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 74.18 years
male: 70.9 years
female: 77.62 years (2014 est.)
Total fertility rate:
1.95 children born/woman (2014 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate:
note: percent of women aged 15-44 (2008)
Health expenditures:
6.8% of GDP (2011)
Physicians density:
1.6 physicians/1,000 population (2008)
Hospital bed density:
1 beds/1,000 population (2011)
Drinking water source:
improved: urban: 95% of population
rural: 81% of population
total: 90.1% of population
unimproved: urban: 5.8% of population
rural: 19% of population
total: 9.9% of population (2012 est.)
Sanitation facility access:
improved: urban: 79.5% of population
rural: 53.4% of population
total: 70.5% of population
unimproved: urban: 20.5% of population
rural: 46.6% of population
total: 29.5% of population (2012 est.)
HIV or AIDS adult prevalence rate:
0.6% (2012 est.)
HIV or AIDS people living with HIV or AIDS:
24,900 (2012 est.)
HIV or AIDS deaths:
1,000 (2012 est.)
Obesity adult prevalence rate:
25.8% (2008)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight:
6.6% (2008)
Education expenditures:
3.4% of GDP (2011)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 84.5%
male: 87.1%
female: 82.3% (2010 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 12 years
male: 12 years
female: 12 years (2012)
Child labor children ages 5-14:
total number: 179,303
percentage: 4 %
note: data represents children ages 5-17 (2007 est.)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24:
total: 12.4%
male: 12.8%
female: 11.7% (2012)
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)
daylight saving time: none scheduled for 2014
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)
many previous; latest drafted 16 December 1983, enacted 23 December 1983; amended many times, last in 2009 (2012)
Legal system:
civil law system with minor common law influence; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court
International law organization participation:
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
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%
Legislative branch:
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 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
Judicial branch:
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
Political parties and leaders:
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]
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:
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, Pacific Alliance (observer), PCA, SICA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNIFIL, Union Latina, UNMIL, UNMISS, UNOCI, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Ruben Ignacio ZAMORA Rivas (since 12 April 2013)
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)
Diplomatic representation from the US:
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
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; 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
National symbol(s):
turquoise-browed motmot (bird)
National anthem:
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 overview:
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 2013. Remittances accounted for 16% of GDP in 2013 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 external debt has been growing over the last several years, amounting to some 57% of GDP in 2013. In September 2013, El Salvador was awarded a $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.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$47.47 billion (2013 est.)
$46.72 billion (2012 est.)
$45.84 billion (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars
GDP (official exchange rate):
$24.67 billion (2013 est.)
GDP real growth rate:
1.6% (2013 est.)
1.9% (2012 est.)
2.2% (2011 est.)
GDP per capita (PPP):
$7,500 (2013 est.)
$7,400 (2012 est.)
$7,300 (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars
Gross national saving:
9% of GDP (2013 est.)
8.9% of GDP (2012 est.)
9.3% of GDP (2011 est.)
GDP composition, by end use:
household consumption: 93.9%
government consumption: 11.1%
investment in fixed capital: 14.5%
investment in inventories: 0%
exports of goods and services: 29%
imports of goods and services: -48.5%
(2013 est.)
GDP composition, by sector of origin:
agriculture: 10.3%
industry: 29.5%
services: 60.1% (2013 est.)
Agriculture products:
coffee, sugar, corn, rice, beans, oilseed, cotton, sorghum; beef, dairy products
food processing, beverages, petroleum, chemicals, fertilizer, textiles, furniture, light metals
Industrial production growth rate:
2.1% (2013 est.)
Labor force:
2.738 million (2013 est.)
Labor force by occupation:
agriculture: 21%
industry: 20%
services: 58% (2011 est.)
Unemployment rate:
6.3% (2013 est.)
6.1% (2012 est.)
note: data are official rates; but underemployment is high
Population below poverty line:
36.5% (2010 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 1%
highest 10%: 37% (2009 est.)
Distribution of family income Gini index:
46.9 (2007)
52.5 (2001)
revenues: $4.683 billion
expenditures: $5.666 billion (2013 est.)
Taxes and other revenues:
19% of GDP (2013 est.)
Budget surplus or deficit:
Public debt:
62% of GDP (2013 est.)
59.2% of GDP (2012 est.)
note: El Salvador's total public debt includes non-financial public sector debt, financial public sector debt, and central bank debt
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
0.9% (2013 est.)
1.8% (2012 est.)
Central bank discount rate:
Commercial bank prime lending rate:
$NA (31 December 2013 est.)
5.6% (31 December 2012 est.)
Stock of narrow money:
$2.914 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$2.796 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
Stock of broad money:
$10.12 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$9.847 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
Stock of domestic credit:
$11.16 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$10.51 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares:
$10.74 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
$5.474 billion (31 December 2011)
$NA (31 December 2010 est.)
Current account balance:
-$1.331 billion (2013 est.)
-$1.257 billion (2012 est.)
$5.112 billion (2013 est.)
$5.447 billion (2012 est.)
Exports commodities:
offshore assembly exports, coffee, sugar, textiles and apparel, gold, ethanol, chemicals, electricity, iron and steel manufactures
Exports partners:
US 47.3%, Guatemala 13.8%, Honduras 9.6%, Nicaragua 5.4% (2012)
$10.03 billion (2013 est.)
$9.912 billion (2012 est.)
Imports commodities:
raw materials, consumer goods, capital goods, fuels, foodstuffs, petroleum, electricity
Imports partners:
US 35.4%, Guatemala 12.7%, Mexico 7%, China 5.6%, Germany 4.2% (2012)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$2.855 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$3.176 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
Debt external:
$14.44 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$13.56 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment at home:
$8.879 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$8.635 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment abroad:
$5.7 million (31 December 2013 est.)
$5.7 million (31 December 2012 est.)
Exchange rates:
note: the US dollar is used as a medium of exchange and circulates freely in the economy, 1 (2013 est.)
1 (2012 est.)
Electricity production:
5.728 billion kWh (2011 est.)
Electricity consumption:
5.756 billion kWh (2011 est.)
Electricity exports:
101.6 million kWh (2011 est.)
Electricity imports:
251 million kWh (2011 est.)
Electricity installed generating capacity:
1.491 million kW (2010 est.)
Electricity from fossil fuels:
52.6% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)
Electricity from nuclear fuels:
0% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)
Electricity from hydroelectric plants:
31.6% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)
Electricity from other renewable sources:
15.7% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)
Crude oil production:
0 bbl/day (2011 est.)
Crude oil exports:
0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
Crude oil imports:
16,160 bbl/day (2010 est.)
Crude oil proved reserves:
0 bbl (1 January 2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products production:
16,620 bbl/day (2010 est.)
Refined petroleum products consumption:
44,040 bbl/day (2011 est.)
Refined petroleum products exports:
2,425 bbl/day (2010 est.)
Refined petroleum products imports:
29,020 bbl/day (2010 est.)
Natural gas production:
0 cu m (2011 est.)
Natural gas consumption:
0 cu m (2010 est.)
Natural gas exports:
0 cu m (2011 est.)
Natural gas imports:
0 cu m (2011 est.)
Natural gas proved reserves:
0 cu m (1 January 2013 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy:
6.713 million Mt (2011 est.)
Telephones mobile cellular:
8.65 million (2012)
Telephone system:
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)
Telephones main lines in use:
1.06 million (2012)
Broadcast media:
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)
Internet country code:
Internet users:
746,000 (2009)
Internet hosts:
24,070 (2012)
68 (2013)
Airports with paved runways:
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)
Airports with unpaved runways:
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)
Merchant marine:
Ports and terminals:
major seaport(s): Puerto Cutuco
oil/gas terminal(s): Acajutla offshore terminal
Military branches:
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)
Military service age and obligation:
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)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 1,449,214
females age 16-49: 1,611,248 (2010 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 1,079,038
females age 16-49: 1,373,368 (2010 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 71,530
female: 68,971 (2010 est.)
Military expenditures:
0.99% of GDP (2012)
1.11% of GDP (2011)
0.99% of GDP (2010)
Transnational Issues
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 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
Refugees and internally displaced persons:
Trafficking in persons: