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El Salvador Country Guide

Explore El Salvador in North America

El Salvador with the capital city San Salvador is located in North America (Central America, bordering the North Pacific Ocean). It covers some 21,040 square kilometres (slightly smaller than Massachusetts) with 7,066,000 citizens.

Interactive map of El Salvador

The terrain features mostly mountains with narrow coastal belt and central plateau. The average density of population is approximately 336 per km². The notable climate conditions in El Salvador can be described as tropical with rainy season (May to October), dry season (November to April), tropical on coast and temperate in uplands. Potential natural disasters are known as the Land of Volcanoes or frequent and sometimes destructive earthquakes and volcanic activity or extremely susceptible to hurricanes.

To reach someone in El Salvador dial +503 prior to a number. There are 1,099,000 installed telephones. And there are 7,566,000 registered mobile phones. The cellular networks commonly support frequencies of 850/900/1900 MHz. Websites registered in this country end with the top level domain ".sv". If you want to bring electric equipment on your trip (e.g. laptop power supply), note the local power outlet of 115V - 60Hz.

About the flag and history of El Salvador

El Salvador Flag Icon

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.

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.

Geography Quick-Facts

SummaryContinent: North America
Neighbours: Guatemala, Honduras
Capital: San Salvador
Size21,040 square kilometers (km² or sqkm) or 8,123 square miles (mi² or sqmi)
slightly smaller than Massachusetts
CurrencyName Dollar, Currency Code:USD
Country Top Level Domain (cTLD).sv
Telephone Country Prefix+503
Mobile Phone Connections7,566,000
Landline Phone Connections1,099,000

Country Position in World Rankings

Information about single country attributes and how these compare against the rest of the world. The information below is compiled with data from 2013. As such, it may differ a bit to the Information above in the text (which is from 2010).


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Area21,041 (sq km)153

People and Society

Value nameValueWorld Rank
Population6,108,590 107
Population growth rate0.29 (%)169
Birth rate17.12 (births/1,000 population)114
Death rate5.65 (deaths/1,000 population)173
Net migration rate-8.61 (migrant(s)/1,000 population)205
Maternal mortality rate81.00 (deaths/100,000 live births)81
Infant mortality rate19.05 (deaths/1,000 live births)97
Life expectancy at birth73.93 (years)117
Total fertility rate1.99 (children born/woman)130
Health expenditures6.90 (% of GDP)87
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate0.80 (%)58
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS34,000 67
HIV/AIDS - deaths1,400 61
Obesity - adult prevalence rate25.80 (%)51
Children under the age of 5 years underweight6.60 (%)78
Education expenditures3.40 (% of GDP)130
Unemployment, youth ages 15-2411.40 (%)100


Value nameValueWorld Rank
GDP (purchasing power parity)47,090,000,000 99
GDP - real growth rate1.60 (%)145
GDP - per capita (PPP)7,600 138
Labor force2,593,000 112
Unemployment rate6.90 (%)74
Distribution of family income - Gini index46.90 31
Investment (gross fixed)14.70 (% of GDP)136
Taxes and other revenues20.30 (% of GDP)162
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-2.90 (% of GDP)108
Public debt57.40 (% of GDP)48
Inflation rate (consumer prices)2.40 (%)48
Commercial bank prime lending rate5.99 (%)141
Stock of narrow money2,942,000,000 117
Stock of broad money9,527,000,000 109
Stock of domestic credit11,110,000,000 94
Market value of publicly traded shares4,227,000,000 86
Industrial production growth rate1.80 (%)120
Current account balance-1,035,000,000 112
Exports5,804,000,000 107
Imports10,440,000,000 95
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold2,623,000,000 114
Debt - external12,840,000,000 91
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home8,747,000,000 84
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad12,400,000 90


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Electricity - production5,728,000,000 (kWh)113
Electricity - consumption5,756,000,000 (kWh)109
Electricity - exports101,600,000 (kWh)71
Electricity - imports215,800,000 (kWh)86
Electricity - installed generating capacity1,501,000 (kW)113
Electricity - from fossil fuels53.00 (% of total installed capacity)152
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants31.40 (% of total installed capacity)71
Electricity - from other renewable sources15.60 (% of total installed capacity)10
Crude oil - imports13,160 (bbl/day)75
Refined petroleum products - production16,750 (bbl/day)99
Refined petroleum products - consumption44,040 (bbl/day)105
Refined petroleum products - exports2,158 (bbl/day)104
Refined petroleum products - imports26,860 (bbl/day)92
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy6,484,000 (Mt)117


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Telephones - main lines in use1,030,000 77
Telephones - mobile cellular8,316,000 86
Internet hosts24,070 113
Internet users746,000 107


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Airports65 78
Railways283 (km)121
Roadways10,886 (km)134


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Military expenditures0.60 (% of GDP)158

Data based on CIA facts book 2010 & 2013, wikipedia, national statistical offices and their census releases

List of current world heritage sites

Joya de Cerén Archaeological Site
Joya de Cerén was a pre-Hispanic farming community that, like Pompeii and Herculaneum in Italy, was buried under an eruption of the Laguna Caldera volcano c. AD 600. Because of the exceptional condition of the remains, they provide an insight into th ...