El Salvador


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
Population: 6,090,646 (July 2012 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 30.6% (male 953,842/female 905,688)

15-64 years: 63% (male 1,802,113/female 2,021,191)

65 years and over:  6.4% (male 173,363/female 215,577) (2011 est.)

Median age: Total: 24.7 years

male: 23.4 years

female: 26.2 years (2012 est.)

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)

Telephones – main lines in use: 1 million (2009)
Telephones – mobile cellular: 7.7 million (2009)
Airports: 65 (2012)
Airports – with paved runways: total: 5

over 3,047 m: 1

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1

914 to 1,523 m: 2

under 914 m: 1 (2012)

Military branches: Salvadoran Army (ES), Salvadoran Navy (FNES), Salvadoran Air Force (Fuerza Aerea Salvadorena, FAS) (2011)
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)


The smallest country in Central America, El Salvador has the third largest economy, but growth has been modest in recent years. Robust growth in non-traditional exports have offset declines in the maquila exports, while remittances and external aid offset the trade deficit from high oil prices and strong import demand for consumer and intermediate goods. El Salvador leads the region in remittances per capita with inflows equivalent to nearly all export income.


Implementation in 2006 of the Central America-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), which El Salvador was the first to ratify, has strengthened an already positive export trend. 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. The current government has pursued economic diversification, with some success in promoting textile production, international port services, and tourism through tax incentives.