El Salvador

República de El Salvador (Republic of El Salvador)
Reference work entry


  • Capital: San Salvador

  • Population estimate, 2015: 6.13 m.

  • GNI per capita, 2014: (PPP$) 7,349

  • HDI/world rank, 2014: 0.666/116

  • Internet domain extension: .sv

Civil Aviation

The main airport is Monseñor Óscar Arnulfo Romero International Airport (commonly known as Comalapa International Airport) in San Salvador. The national carrier is Taca International Airlines. It flies to various destinations in the USA, Mexico and all Central American countries. In 2012 scheduled airline traffic of El Salvador-based carriers flew 86.1 m. km; passenger-km totalled 5.6 bn. in the same year. In 2012 El Salvador International handled 2,113,740 passengers (2,051,636 on international flights) and 23,363 tonnes of freight.


Despite its proximity to the equator, the climate is warm rather than hot, and nights are cool inland. Light rains occur in the dry season from Nov. to April, while the rest of the year has heavy rains, especially on the coastal plain. San Salvador, Jan. 71 °F (21.7 °C), July 75 °F (23.9 °C). Annual rainfall 71″ (1,775 mm). San Miguel, Jan. 77 °F (25 °C), July 83 °F (28.3 °C). Annual rainfall 68″ (1,700 mm).

Constitution and Government

A new constitution was enacted in Dec. 1983. Executive power is vested in a President and Vice-President elected for a non-renewable term of 5 years. There is a Legislative Assembly of 84 members elected by universal suffrage and proportional representation: 64 locally and 20 nationally, for a term of 3 years.


The dollar (USD) replaced the colón as the legal currency of El Salvador in 2003.


There is selective conscription for 12 months. In 2013 defence expenditure totalled US$154 m. (US$25 per capita), representing 0.6% of GDP.


Agriculture accounted for 12.6% of GDP in 2010, industry 26.9% and services 60.5%.


The labour force in 2013 was 2,712,000 (2,333,000 in 2003). 65.5% of the population aged 15–64 was economically active in 2013. In the same year 5.9% of the population was unemployed. El Salvador had 10,000 people living in slavery according to the Walk Free Foundation’s 2013 Global Slavery Index.


In 2005 there were five daily newspapers with a combined circulation of 250,000.


There are 555 km of 914 mm gauge railway. The railway was closed from 2002–06 but a limited service resumed in 2007.


In 2010 there were an estimated 3.16 m. Roman Catholics (51% of the population) and 2.21 m. Protestants (36% of the population) according to the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life, with 680,000 people religiously unaffiliated. There is an archbishop in San Salvador and bishops at Chalatenango, San Miguel, San Vicente, Santa Ana, Santiago de María, Sonsonate and Zacatecoluca.


In 2011 there were 7,298 km of roads, 53.2% of which were paved. Vehicles in use in 2011: passenger cars, 331,200; trucks and vans, 275,000. There were 12,396 road accidents in 2009 resulting in 1,033 fatalities.


The main ports are Acajutla (which handled 5.86 m. tonnes of cargo in 2008) and Cutuco.

Social Statistics

2008 births (est.), 112,000; deaths (est.), 32,000. Rates (2008, per 1,000 population): births (est.), 18.3; deaths (est.), 5.2. Life expectancy at birth in 2013 was 67.8 years for males and 77.1 years for females. Annual population growth rate, 2005–10, 0.5%. Infant mortality, 2010, 14 per 1,000 live births; fertility rate, 2008, 2.3 births per woman. Abortion is illegal.


The telephone system has been privatized and is owned by two international telephone companies. In 2010 there were 1,000,900 landline telephone subscriptions (equivalent to 161.6 per 1,000 inhabitants) and 7,700,300 mobile phone subscriptions (or 1,243.4 per 1,000 inhabitants). In 2010, 15.9% of the population were internet users. In Dec. 2011 there were 1.3 m. Facebook users.

Territory and Population

El Salvador is bounded in the northwest by Guatemala, northeast and east by Honduras and south by the Pacific Ocean. The area (including 247 km2 of inland lakes) is 21,040 km2. Population (2007 census), 5,744,113 (female 53%), giving a population density of 273 per km2. In 2007, 62.7% of the population were urban. Some 2.5 m. Salvadoreans live abroad, mainly in the USA. The republic is divided into 14 departments. The official language is Spanish.


There were 1,091,000 non-resident tourists in 2009 (excluding same-day visitors), down from 1,385,000 in 2008.

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Limited 2019

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