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By Exit Pages > Visit Detail > Country Facts for El Salvador
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Map of El Salvador
IntroductionTop
Background: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.
GeographyTop
Location: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
Area: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

Coastline:307 km
Maritime claims:territorial sea: 200 nm
Climate:tropical; rainy season (May to October); dry season (November to April); tropical on coast; temperate in uplands
Terrain: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: 31.85%
permanent crops: 12.07%
other: 56.08% (2001)

Irrigated land:360 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:known as the Land of Volcanoes; frequent and sometimes very 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
PeopleTop
Population:6,704,932 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:0-14 years: 36.5% (male 1,250,901/female 1,198,589)
15-64 years: 58.3% (male 1,860,084/female 2,051,140)
65 years and over: 5.1% (male 153,133/female 191,085) (2005 est.)

Median age:total: 21.57 years
male: 20.44 years
female: 22.69 years (2005 est.)

Population growth rate:1.75% (2005 est.)
Birth rate:27.04 births/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Death rate:5.85 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Net migration rate:-3.67 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2005 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 (2005 est.)

Infant mortality rate:total: 25.1 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 27.98 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 22.08 deaths/1,000 live births (2005 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:total population: 71.22 years
male: 67.61 years
female: 75.01 years (2005 est.)

Total fertility rate:3.16 children born/woman (2005 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.)
Nationality:noun: Salvadoran(s)
adjective: Salvadoran

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

Languages:Spanish, Nahua (among some Amerindians)
Literacy:definition: age 10 and over can read and write
total population: 80.2%
male: 82.8%
female: 77.7% (2003 est.)

GovernmentTop
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:republic
Capital:San Salvador
Administrative divisions:14 departments (departamentos, singular - departamento); Ahuachapan, Cabanas, Chalatenango, Cuscatlan, La Libertad, La Paz, La Union, Morazan, San Miguel, San Salvador, Santa Ana, San Vicente, Sonsonate, Usulutan
Independence:15 September 1821 (from Spain)
National holiday:Independence Day, 15 September (1821)
Constitution: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; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations
Suffrage: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); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
cabinet: Council of Ministers selected by the president
elections: president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for five-year terms; 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 16 March 2003 (next to be held March 2006)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - FMLN 31, ARENA 28, PCN 15, PDC 5, CD 5

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]; Democratic Convergence or CD (formerly United Democratic Center or CDU) [Ruben ZAMORA, secretary general]; Democratic Party or PD [Jorge MELENDEZ]; Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front or FMLN [Medardo GONZALEZ]; Liberal Democratic Party or PLD [Kirio Waldo SALGADO, president]; National Action Party or PAN [Gustavo Rogelio SALINAS, secretary general]; National Conciliation Party or PCN [Ciro CRUZ ZEPEDA, president]; National Republican Alliance or ARENA [Elias Antonio SACA Gonzalez]; Social Christian Union or USC (formed by the merger of Christian Social Renewal Party or PRSC and Unity Movement or MU) [Abraham RODRIGUEZ, president]; Social Democratic Party or PSD [Juan MEDRANO]
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, FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO (correspondent), ITU, MIGA, MINURSO, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, RG, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNMIL, UNOCI, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTO
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
EconomyTop
Economy - overview:GDP per capita is roughly half that of Brazil, Argentina, and Chile, and the distribution of income is highly unequal. The government is striving to open new export markets, encourage foreign investment, modernize the tax and healthcare systems, and stimulate the sluggish economy. Implementation of the Central America-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement, ratified by El Salvador in 2004, is viewed as a key policy to help achieve these objectives. The trade deficit has been offset by annual remittances from Salvadorans living abroad - 16% of GDP in 2004 - and external aid. With the adoption of the US dollar as its currency, El Salvador has lost control over monetary policy and must concentrate on maintaining a disciplined fiscal policy.
GDP:purchasing power parity - $32.35 billion (2004 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:1.8% (2004 est.)
GDP - per capita:purchasing power parity - $4,900 (2004 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:agriculture: 9.2%
industry: 31.1%
services: 59.7% (2004 est.)

Labor force:2.75 million (2004 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:agriculture 17.1%, industry 17.1%, services 65.8% (2003 est.)
Unemployment rate:6.3% - but the economy has much underemployment (2004 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):5.4% (2004 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):16.6% of GDP (2004 est.)
Budget:revenues: $2.491 billion
expenditures: $2.782 billion, including capital expenditures of NA (2004 est.)

Public debt:41.7% of GDP (2004 est.)
Agriculture - products:coffee, sugar, corn, rice, beans, oilseed, cotton, sorghum; shrimp; beef, dairy products
Industries:food processing, beverages, petroleum, chemicals, fertilizer, textiles, furniture, light metals
Industrial production growth rate:0.7% (2004 est.)
Electricity - production:4.158 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - production by source:fossil fuel: 44%
hydro: 30.9%
nuclear: 0%
other: 25.1% (2001)

Electricity - consumption:4.45 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - exports:91 million kWh (2004)
Electricity - imports:473 million kWh (2004)
Oil - production:0 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:39,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:NA
Oil - imports:NA
Current account balance:$-880.5 million (2004 est.)
Exports:$3.249 billion (2004 est.)
Exports - commodities:offshore assembly exports, coffee, sugar, shrimp, textiles, chemicals, electricity
Exports - partners:US 57.9%, Guatemala 13.6%, Honduras 7% (2004)
Imports:$5.968 billion (2004 est.)
Imports - commodities:raw materials, consumer goods, capital goods, fuels, foodstuffs, petroleum, electricity
Imports - partners:US 37.3%, Guatemala 9%, Mexico 6.1% (2004)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:$1.888 billion (2004 est.)
Debt - external:$4.792 billion (September 2004 est.)
Currency (code):US dollar (USD)
Currency code:USD
Exchange rates:the US dollar became El Salvador's currency in 2001
Fiscal year:calendar year
CommunicationsTop
Telephones - main lines in use:752,600 (2003)
Telephones - mobile cellular:1,149,800 (2003)
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)
Radios:2.75 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:5 (1997)
Televisions:600,000 (1990)
Internet country code:.sv
Internet hosts:4,084 (2003)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):4 (2000)
Internet users:550,000 (2003)
TransportationTop
Railways: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 (2004)

Highways:total: 10,029 km
paved: 1,986 km (including 327 km of expressways)
unpaved: 8,043 km (1999 est.)

Waterways:Rio Lempa partially navigable (2004)
Ports and harbors:Acajutla, Puerto Cutuco
Airports:73 (2004 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:total: 4
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2004 est.)

Airports - with unpaved runways:total: 69
914 to 1,523 m: 15
under 914 m: 54 (2004 est.)

Heliports:1 (2004 est.)
MilitaryTop
Military branches:Army, Navy (FNES), Air Force (FAS)
Military manpower - military age and obligation:18 years of age for compulsory military service, with 12-month service obligation; 16 years of age for volunteers (2002)
Military manpower - availability:males age 18-49: 1,391,278 (2005 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:males age 18-49: 960,315 (2005 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:males: 70,286 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:$157 million (2003)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:1.1% (2003)
Transnational IssuesTop
Disputes - international:in 1992, the ICJ ruled on the delimitation of "bolsones" (disputed areas) along the El Salvador-Honduras boundary, but despite 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



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