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  Introduction Back To Top

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 Back To Top

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 1.28 cu km/yr (25%/16%/59%)
per capita: 186 cu m/yr (2000)

Total renewable water resources:
25.2 cu km (2001)

Land boundaries:
total: 545 km
border countries: Guatemala 203 km, Honduras 342 km

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

tropical; rainy season (May to October); dry season (November to April); tropical on coast; temperate in uplands

Map references:
Central America and the Caribbean

Geographic coordinates:
13 50 N, 88 55 W

Natural resources:
hydropower, geothermal power, petroleum, arable land

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Cerro El Pital 2,730 m

mostly mountains with narrow coastal belt and central plateau

Geography - note:
smallest Central American country and only one without a coastline on Caribbean Sea

total: 21,040 sq km
land: 20,720 sq km
water: 320 sq km

Central America, bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between Guatemala and Honduras

307 km

Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than Massachusetts

Irrigated land:
450 sq km (2003)

Environment - current issues:
deforestation; soil erosion; water pollution; contamination of soils from disposal of toxic wastes

Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

Natural hazards:
known as the Land of Volcanoes; frequent and sometimes destructive earthquakes and volcanic activity; extremely susceptible to hurricanes

Land use:
arable land: 31.37%
permanent crops: 11.88%
other: 56.75% (2005)

  People Back To Top

Total fertility rate:
3.04 children born/woman (2008 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: 0.78 male(s)/female
total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.7% (2003 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
29,000 (2003 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 72.06 years
male: 68.45 years
female: 75.84 years (2008 est.)

Major infectious diseases:
degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever
water contact disease: leptospirosis (2008)

definition: age 10 and over can read and write
total population: 80.2%
male: 82.8%
female: 77.7% (2003 est.)

Net migration rate:
-3.4 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Ethnic groups:
mestizo 90%, white 9%, Amerindian 1%

Median age:
total: 22.2 years
male: 21.1 years
female: 23.4 years (2008 est.)

7,066,403 (July 2008 est.)

Education expenditures:
3.1% of GDP (2006)

Population growth rate:
1.679% (2008 est.)

Spanish, Nahua (among some Amerindians)

Death rate:
5.53 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
total: 22.19 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 25.06 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 19.18 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:
2,200 (2003 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 12 years
male: 12 years
female: 12 years (2006)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 35.8% (male 1,291,147/female 1,237,453)
15-64 years: 59% (male 1,987,671/female 2,179,620)
65 years and over: 5.2% (male 162,100/female 208,412) (2008 est.)

Birth rate:
25.72 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Roman Catholic 57.1%, Protestant 21.2%, Jehovah's Witnesses 1.9%, Mormon 0.7%, other religions 2.3%, none 16.8% (2003 est.)

noun: Salvadoran(s)
adjective: Salvadoran

  Government Back To Top

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Charles L. GLAZER
embassy: Final Boulevard Santa Elena Sur, Antiguo Cuscatlan, La Libertad, San Salvador
mailing address: Unit 3116, APO AA 34023; 3450 San Salvador Place, Washington, DC 20521-3450
telephone: [503] 2501-2999
FAX: [503] 2501-2150

National holiday:
Independence Day, 15 September (1821)

18 years of age; universal

Government type:

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

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Rene Antonio LEON Rodriguez
chancery: 1400 16th Street, Washington, DC 20036
telephone: [1] (202) 265-9671
FAX: [1] (202) 234-3763
consulate(s) general: Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Elizabeth (New Jersey), Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York (2), Nogales (Arizona), Santa Ana (California), San Francisco, Washington (DC), Woodbridge (Virginia), Woodstock (Georgia)

International organization participation:

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

Legal system:
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

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

15 September 1821 (from Spain)

Country name (Goverment):
conventional long form: Republic of El Salvador
conventional short form: El Salvador
local long form: Republica de El Salvador
local short form: El Salvador

Political parties and leaders:
Christian Democratic Party or PDC [Rodolfo PARKER]; Democratic Convergence or CD [Ruben ZAMORA] (formerly United Democratic Center or CDU); Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front or FMLN [Medardo GONZALEZ]; National Conciliation Party or PCN [Ciro CRUZ ZEPEDA]; 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]

name: San Salvador
geographic coordinates: 13 42 N, 89 12 W
time difference: UTC-6 (1 hour behind Washington, DC during Standard Time)

20 December 1983

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Elias Antonio SACA Gonzalez (since 1 June 2004); Vice President Ana Vilma Albanez 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 Albanez 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 in 15 March 2009)
election results: Elias Antonio SACA Gonzalez elected president; percent of vote - Elias Antonio SACA Gonzalez 57.7%, Schafik HANDAL 35.6%, Hector SILVA 3.9%, other 2.8%

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

Judicial branch:
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)

  Economy Back To Top

Exports - partners:
US 51%, Guatemala 13.6%, Honduras 11.2%, Nicaragua 5.5% (2007)

Electricity - consumption:
4.426 billion kWh (2007 est.)

Electricity - imports:
11.08 million kWh (2007 est.)

Current account balance:
-$1.222 billion (2008 est.)

Debt - external:
$10.22 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Unemployment rate:
6.4% official rate; but the economy has much underemployment (2008 est.)

Oil - exports:
4,963 bbl/day (2006)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$6,400 (2008 est.)

Investment (gross fixed):
16% of GDP (2008 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:
$9.729 billion (31 December 2007)

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$45.34 billion (2008 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):
$22.28 billion (2008 est.)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:
52.4 (2002)

Exchange rates:
the US dollar became El Salvador's currency in 2001

GDP - real growth rate:
4.4% (2008 est.)

Stock of money:
$1.802 billion (31 December 2007)

Labor force:
2.958 million (2008 est.)

Imports - partners:
US 35.7%, Mexico 9.8%, Guatemala 8.5%, China 4.7% (2007)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
8.1% (2008 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 11.1%
industry: 29.8%
services: 59.1% (2008 est.)

Oil - imports:
45,210 bbl/day (2006)

$4.61 billion (2008 est.)

Natural gas - consumption:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Currency (code):
US dollar (USD)

Economy - overview:
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.

Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Imports - commodities:
raw materials, consumer goods, capital goods, fuels, foodstuffs, petroleum, electricity

food processing, beverages, petroleum, chemicals, fertilizer, textiles, furniture, light metals

Electricity - exports:
8.64 million kWh (2007 est.)

Population below poverty line:
30.7% (2006 est.)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:

Stock of quasi money:
$764.1 million (31 December 2007)

Electricity - production:
5.338 billion kWh (2007 est.)

$8.787 billion (2008 est.)

Oil - proved reserves:
0 bbl (1 January 2006 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 19%
industry: 23%
services: 58% (2006 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves:
0 cu m (1 January 2006 est.)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$2.149 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Oil - consumption:
44,330 bbl/day (2006 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:
$366 million (2008 est.)

Public debt:
35.6% of GDP (2008 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
$6.693 billion (2008 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares:
$6.743 billion (31 December 2007)

Currency code:

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 0.7%
highest 10%: 38.8% (2002)

Exports - commodities:
offshore assembly exports, coffee, sugar, shrimp, textiles and apparel, gold, ethanol, chemicals, electricity

Economic aid - recipient:
$267.6 million of which $55 million from US (2005)

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 44%
hydro: 30.9%
nuclear: 0%
other: 25.1% (2001)

Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

revenues: $3.928 billion
expenditures: $4.226 billion (2008 est.)

Fiscal year:
calendar year

Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2005)

  Communications Back To Top

Internet users:
700,000 (2006)

Telephones - main lines in use:
1.08 million (2007)

600,000 (1990)

Internet country code:

Radio broadcast stations:
AM 52, FM 144, shortwave 0 (2005)

2.75 million (1997)

Telephones - mobile cellular:
6.137 million (2007)

Television broadcast stations:
5 (1997)

Telephone system:
general assessment: multiple mobile-cellular service providers are expanding services rapidly and in 2007 mobile-cellular density stood at nearly 90 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 (2007)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
4 (2000)

Internet hosts:
11,434 (2008)

  Transportation Back To Top

Rio Lempa partially navigable for small craft (2008)

total: 562 km
narrow gauge: 562 km 0.914-m gauge
note: railways not in operation since 2005 because of disuse and high costs that led to a lack of maintenance (2007)

Ports and terminals:
Acajutla, Puerto Cutuco

1 (2007)

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 4
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2007)

total: 10,886 km
paved: 2,827 km (includes 327 km of expressways)
unpaved: 8,059 km (2000)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 61
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 12
under 914 m: 48 (2007)

65 (2007)

  Military Back To Top

Military service age and obligation:
18 years of age for selective compulsory military service; 16 years of age for voluntary service; service obligation - 8 months, but 11 months for officers and NCOs (2008)

Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 1,634,816
females age 16-49: 1,775,474 (2008 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 1,168,406
females age 16-49: 1,519,375 (2008 est.)

Military branches:
Salvadoran Army (ES), Salvadoran Navy (FNES), Salvadoran Air Force (Fuerza Aerea Salvadorena, FAS) (2008)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 73,915
female: 71,252 (2008 est.)

Military expenditures:
5% of GDP (2006)

  Transnational Issues Back To Top

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 (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

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

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