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El Salvador Country Information

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.

Geography
Central America, bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between Guatemala and Honduras

Area: total: 21,040 sq km
Water: 320 sq km
Land: 20,720 sq km
Area - comparative: slightly smaller than Massachusetts

Border countries: Guatemala, Honduras

Climate: 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

People
Population: 6,822,378 (July 2006 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 36.3% (male 1,265,080/female 1,212,216)
15-64 years: 58.5% (male 1,900,372/female 2,092,251)
65 years and over: 5.2% (male 156,292/female 196,167) (2006 est.)
Median age: 21.8 years
Population growth rate: 1.72% (2006 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: male: 67.88 years
female: 75.28 years (2006 est.)

Ethnic groups: mestizo 90%, white 9%, Amerindian 1%
Religions: Roman Catholic 83%, other 17% note: there is extensive activity by Protestant groups throughout the country; by the end of 1992, there were an estimated 1 million Protestant evangelicals in El Salvador

Languages: Spanish, Nahua (among some Amerindians)
Literacy (age 10 and over can read and write): total population: 80.2%

Government
Country name: Republic of El Salvador
Government type: republic
Capital: San Salvador
Independence: 15 September 1821 (from Spain)
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch: chief of state: President Elias Antonio SACA Gonzalez (since 1 June 2004); Vice President Ana Vilma DE ESCOBAR (since 1 June 2004); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
Legislative branch: unicameral Legislative Assembly or Asamblea Legislativa (84 seats; members are elected by direct, popular vote to serve three-year terms)
Judicial branch: Supreme Court or Corte Suprema (judges are selected by the Legislative Assembly)

Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Rene Antonio LEON Rodriguez
consulate(s) general: Chicago, Dallas, Elizabeth (New Jersey), Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York (2), Nogales (Arizona), Santa Ana (California), San Francisco, Washington, DC
FAX: [1] (202) 234-3834
telephone: [1] (202) 265-9671

Embassy: Final Boulevard Santa Elena Sur, Antiguo Cuscatlan, La Libertad, San Salvador
mailing address: Unit 3116, APO AA 34023
telephone: [503] 2278-4444
FAX: [503] 2278-5522

Economy
Overview: The smallest country in Central America, El Salvador has the third largest economy, but growth has been minimal in recent years. Hoping to stimulate the sluggish economy, the government is striving to open new export markets, encourage foreign investment, and modernize the tax and healthcare systems. Implementation in 2006 of the Central America-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement, which El Salvador was the first to ratify, is viewed as a key policy to help achieve these objectives. The trade deficit has been offset by annual remittances from Salvadorans living abroad - 16.6% of GDP in 2005 - and external aid. With the adoption of the US dollar as its currency in 2001, El Salvador has lost control over monetary policy and must concentrate on maintaining a disciplined fiscal policy.

Population below poverty line: 36.1% (2004 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 17.1%, industry: 17.1%, services: 65.8% (2003 est.)
Unemployment rate: 6.5% official rate; but the economy has much underemployment (2005 est.)

Agriculture - products: coffee, sugar, corn, rice, beans, oilseed, cotton, sorghum; beef, dairy products; shrimp
Industries: food processing, beverages, petroleum, chemicals, fertilizer, textiles, furniture, light metals

Exports - commodities: offshore assembly exports, coffee, sugar, shrimp, textiles, chemicals, electricity

Currency: US dollar (USD)

Communications
Telephone system: domestic: nationwide microwave radio relay system
international: country code - 503



All information on this page provided by The World Factbook. See http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/index.html.
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