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El Salvador

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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.



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: 21,041 sq km
country comparison to the world: 153
land: 20,721 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: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

Climate:
Current Weather
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: 31.37%
permanent crops: 11.88%
other: 56.75% (2005)

Irrigated land:
450 sq km (2003)

Total renewable water resources:
25.2 cu km (2001)

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

Natural hazards:
known as the Land of Volcanoes; frequent and sometimes 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



Population:
6,052,064 (July 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 106

Age structure:
0-14 years: 31.5% (male 979,012/female 929,786)
15-64 years: 62.2% (male 1,773,732/female 1,991,104)
65 years and over: 6.3% (male 168,884/female 209,546) (2010 est.)

Median age:
total: 23.9 years
male: 22.5 years
female: 25.3 years (2010 est.)

Population growth rate:
0.332% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 169

Birth rate:
18.06 births/1,000 population (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 108

Death rate:
5.61 deaths/1,000 population (July 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 174

Net migration rate:
-9.13 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 172

Urbanization:
urban population: 61% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 1.9% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.89 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.81 male(s)/female
total population: 0.93 male(s)/female (2010 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
total: 20.97 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 99
male: 23.01 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 18.82 deaths/1,000 live births (2010 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 73.18 years
country comparison to the world: 116
male: 69.91 years
female: 76.62 years (2010 est.)

Total fertility rate:
2.12 children born/woman (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 120

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.8% (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 61

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
35,000 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 67

HIV/AIDS - deaths:
1,700 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 64

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 (2009)

Nationality:
noun: Salvadoran(s)
adjective: Salvadoran

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

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.)

Languages:
Spanish, Nahua (among some Amerindians)

Literacy:
definition: age 5 and over can read and write
total population: 81.1%
male: 82.8%
female: 79.6% (2007 census)

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

Education expenditures:
3.1% of GDP (2006)
country comparison to the world: 142



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

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

Independence:
15 September 1821 (from Spain)

National holiday:
Independence Day, 15 September (1821)

Constitution:
20 December 1983

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

Suffrage:
18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Mauricio FUNES Cartagena (since 1 June 2009); Vice President Salvador SANCHEZ CEREN (since 1 June 2009); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Mauricio FUNES Cartagena (since 1 June 2009); Vice President Salvador SANCHEZ CEREN (since 1 June 2009)
cabinet: Council of Ministers selected by the president
(For more information visit the World Leaders website )
elections: president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for a single five-year term; election last held on 15 March 2009 (next to be held in March 2014)
election results: Mauricio FUNES Cartagena elected president; percent of vote - Mauricio FUNES Cartagena 51.3%, Rodrigo AVILA 48.7%

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 18 January 2009 (next to be held in March 2012)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - FMLN 35, ARENA 32, PCN 11, PDC 5, CD 1

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)

Political parties and leaders:
Christian Democratic Party or PDC [Rodolfo PARKER]; Democratic Convergence or CD [Hector DADA HIREZI] (formerly United Democratic Center or CDU); Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front or FMLN [Medardo GONZALEZ]; National Conciliation Party or PCN [Ciro CRUZ ZEPEDA]; Nationalist Republican Alliance or ARENA [Rodrigo AVILA]; Popular Social Christian Party or PPSC [Rene AGUILUZ]; Revolutionary Democratic Front or FDR [Julio Cesar HERNANDEZ Carcamo]

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, FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, ITUC, LAES, MIGA, MINURSO, NAM (observer), OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, RG, SICA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNIFIL, Union Latina, UNMIL, UNMIS, UNOCI, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Francisco Robert ALTSCHUL Fuentes
chancery: Suite 100, 1400 16th Street, Washington, DC 20036
telephone: [1] (202) 265-9671
FAX: [1] (202) 234-3763
consulate(s) general: Chicago, Dallas, Duluth (Georgia), Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York (2), Nogales (Arizona), Santa Ana (California), San Francisco, Washington (DC), Woodbridge (Virginia)
consulate(s): Boston, Elizabeth (New Jersey)

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Robert BLAU
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



Economy - overview:
Despite being the smallest country geographically in Central America, El Salvador has the third largest economy with a per capita income that is roughly two-thirds that of Costa Rica and Panama, but more than double that of Nicaragua. Growth has been modest in recent years and the economy contracted nearly 3% in 2009. El Salvador leads the region in remittances per capita with inflows equivalent to nearly all export income and about a third of all households receive these financial inflows. In 2006 El Salvador was the first country to ratify the Central America-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement. CAFTA has bolstered exports of processed foods, sugar, and ethanol, and supported investment in the apparel sector, which faced Asian competition with the expiration of the Multi-Fiber Agreement in 2005. In anticipation of the declines in the apparel sector's competitiveness, the previous administration sought to diversify the economy by promoting the country as a regional distribution and logistics hub, and by promoting tourism investment through tax incentives. 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, the primary conflict zone during the civil war, 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. Any counter-cyclical policy response to the downturn must be through fiscal policy, which is constrained by legislative requirements for a two-thirds majority to approve any international financing.

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$42.92 billion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 94
$44.24 billion (2008 est.)
$43.16 billion (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate):
$22.43 billion (2009 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:
-3% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 163
2.5% (2008 est.)
4.7% (2007 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$7,100 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 124
$7,400 (2008 est.)
$7,200 (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 10.6%
industry: 28.9%
services: 60.5% (2009 est.)

Labor force:
2.917 million (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 106

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

Unemployment rate:
7.2% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 68
6.9% (2008 est.)
note: data are official rates; but the economy has much underemployment

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

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 1%
highest 10%: 37% (2005)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:
52.4 (2002)
country comparison to the world: 18
52.5 (2001)

Investment (gross fixed):
13% of GDP (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 143

Budget:
revenues: $3.584 billion
expenditures: $4.756 billion (2009 est.)

Public debt:
52.7% of GDP (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 48
44% of GDP (2008 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
0.6% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 38
7.3% (2008 est.)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
12.33% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 117
7.81% (31 December 2007)

Stock of money:
$213.7 million (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 144
$209.7 million (31 December 2007)

Stock of quasi money:
$788.7 million (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 125
$797.1 million (31 December 2007)

Stock of domestic credit:
$1.19 billion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 110
$1.15 billion (31 December 2007)

Market value of publicly traded shares:
$NA (31 December 2009)
country comparison to the world: 82
$4.656 billion (31 December 2008)
$6.743 billion (31 December 2007)

Agriculture - products:
coffee, sugar, corn, rice, beans, oilseed, cotton, sorghum; beef, dairy products

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

Industrial production growth rate:
-4.6% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 110

Electricity - production:
5.559 billion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 110

Electricity - consumption:
4.676 billion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 111

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

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

Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 180

Oil - consumption:
46,000 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 99

Oil - exports:
1,927 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 116

Oil - imports:
46,310 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 89

Oil - proved reserves:
0 bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 185

Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 177

Natural gas - consumption:
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 190

Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 62

Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 86

Natural gas - proved reserves:
0 cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 183

Current account balance:
-$390 million (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 106
-$1.596 billion (2008 est.)

Exports:
$3.861 billion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 112
$4.611 billion (2008 est.)

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

Exports - partners:
US 43.86%, Guatemala 13.92%, Honduras 13.22%, Nicaragua 5.65% (2009)

Imports:
$6.706 billion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 102
$9.004 billion (2008 est.)

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

Imports - partners:
US 29.79%, Mexico 10.26%, Guatemala 9.7%, China 4.5%, Honduras 4.4% (2009)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$2.986 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 102
$2.545 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Debt - external:
$11.51 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 81
$10.69 billion (31 December 2008)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
$6.992 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 82
$6.707 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:
$574 million (31 December 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 75
$449 million (31 December 2008 est.)

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



Telephones - main lines in use:
1.077 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 77

Telephones - mobile cellular:
6.951 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 73

Telephone system:
general assessment: multiple mobile-cellular providers are expanding services rapidly and in 2008 teledensity stood at nearly 100 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 (2008)

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

Television broadcast stations:
5 (1997)

Internet country code:
.sv

Internet hosts:
8,177 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 123

Internet users:
826,000 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 98



Airports:
65 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 77

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 4
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2009)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 61
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 13
under 914 m: 47 (2009)

Heliports:
1 (2009)

Railways:
total: 283 km
country comparison to the world: 123
narrow gauge: 283 km 0.914-m gauge
note: railways have been inoperable since 2005 because of disuse and high costs that led to a lack of maintenance (2008)

Roadways:
total: 10,886 km
country comparison to the world: 133
paved: 2,827 km (includes 327 km of expressways)
unpaved: 8,059 km (2000)

Waterways:
Rio Lempa partially navigable for small craft (2008)

Ports and terminals:
Acajutla, Puerto Cutuco



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

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 - 12 months, with 11 months for officers and NCOs (2009)

Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 1,426,142
females age 16-49: 1,590,778 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 1,056,532
females age 16-49: 1,356,824 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 71,292
female: 68,821 (2010 est.)

Military expenditures:
0.6% of GDP (2009)
country comparison to the world: 160



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

 

Information from the CIA's "The World Fact Book" 2010

 

 

 

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