El Salvador | Facts & Information

Updated September 9, 2022 | Infoplease Staff
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Facts & Figures

  • President: Salvador Sánchez Cerén (2014)

    Land area: 8,000 sq mi (20,720 sq km); total area: 8,124 sq mi (21,040 sq km)

    Population (2014 est.): 6,125,512 (growth rate: 0.27%); birth rate: 16.79/1000; infant mortality rate: 18.44/1000; life expectancy: 74.18

    Capital and largest city (2011 est.): San Salvador, 1.605 million

    Other large cities: Santa Ana, 167,200; San Miguel, 145,100; Zacatecoluca, 36,700

    Monetary units: Colón; U.S. dollar

    National name: República de El Salvador

    Current government officials

    Languages: Spanish, Nahua (among some Amerindians)

    Ethnicity/race: mestizo 86.3%, white 12.7%, Amerindian 1% (2007 census)

    National Holiday: Independence Day, September 15

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

    Literacy rate: 84.5% (2010 est.)

    Economic summary: GDP/PPP (2013 est.): $47.47 billion; per capita $7,500. Real growth rate: 1.6%. Inflation: 0.9%. Unemployment: 6.3%. Arable land: 31.61%. Agriculture: coffee, sugar, corn, rice, beans, oilseed, cotton, sorghum; beef, dairy products; shrimp. Labor force: 2.738 million; agriculture 21%, industry 10%, services 58% (2007 est.). Industries: food processing, beverages, petroleum, chemicals, fertilizer, textiles, furniture, light metals. Natural resources: hydropower, geothermal power, petroleum, arable land. Exports: $5.112 billion (2013 est.): offshore assembly exports, coffee, sugar, shrimp, textiles, chemicals, electricity. Imports: $10.03 billion (2013 est.): raw materials, consumer goods, capital goods, fuels, foodstuffs, petroleum, electricity. Major trading partners: U.S., Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, Germany, China (2012).

    Communications: Telephones: main lines in use: 1.06 million (2012); mobile cellular: 8.65 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 hosts: 24,070 (2012). Internet users: 746,000 (2009).

    Transportation: Railways: total: 283 km; note: railways not in operation since 2005 because of disuse and lack of maintenance due to high costs (2008). Roadways: total: 6,918 km; paved: 3,247 km (including 341 km of expressways); unpaved: 3,671 km (2010 est.). Waterways: Rio Lempa partially navigable (2011). Ports and harbors: Acajutla, Puerto Cutuco. Airports: 68 (2013).

    International disputes: 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.

    Major sources and definitions