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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. El Salvador is beset by one of the world’s highest homicide rates and pervasive criminal gangs.


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

Natural Resources

hydropower, geothermal power, petroleum, arable land

Population - distribution

Spanish (official), Nawat (among some Amerindians)
SAN SALVADOR (capital) 1.098 million (2015)
Conventional long form
Republic of El Salvador
Conventional short form
El Salvador
Local long form
Republica de El Salvador
Local short form
El Salvador
presidential republic
San Salvador
Geographic coordinates
13 42 N, 89 12 W
Time difference
UTC-6 (1 hour behind Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
The smallest country in Central America geographically, El Salvador has the fourth largest economy in the region. With the global recession, real GDP contracted in 2009 and economic growth has since remained low, averaging less than 2% from 2010 to 2014, but recovered somewhat in 2015-16 with an average annual growth rate of 2.4%. Remittances accounted for approximately 17.1% of GDP in 2016 and were received by about a third of all households.
External debt stocks
US$ 14,981,982,000
Total tax rate (% of commercial profits)
Real Interest Rate
Manufacturing, value added (% of GDP)
Current Account Balance
US$ -530,643,273
Labor Force, Total
Employment in Agriculture
Employment in Industry
Employment in Services
Unemployment Rate
Imports of goods and services
US$ 10,544,090,000
Exports of goods and services
US$ 6,663,160,000
Total Merchandise Trade
FDI, net inflows
US$ 486,478,328
Commercial Service Exports
US$ 2,417,111,333
coffee, sugar, corn, rice, beans, oilseed, cotton, sorghum; beef, dairy products
food processing, beverages, petroleum, chemicals, fertilizer, textiles, furniture, light metals
offshore assembly exports, coffee, sugar, textiles and apparel, ethanol, chemicals, electricity, iron and steel manufactures
US 47.1%, Honduras 13.9%, Guatemala 13.6%, Nicaragua 6.6%, Costa Rica 4.5% (2015)
raw materials, consumer goods, capital goods, fuels, foodstuffs, petroleum, electricity
US 39.4%, Guatemala 9.6%, China 8.1%, Mexico 7.4%, Honduras 5.7% (2015)
Country Risk Rating
A very uncertain political and economic outlook and a business environment with many troublesome weaknesses can have a significant impact on corporate payment behavior. Corporate default probability is high.
Business Climate Rating
The business environment is mediocre. The availability and the reliability of corporate financial information vary widely. Debt collection can sometimes be difficult. The institutional framework has a few troublesome weaknesses. Intercompany transactions run appreciable risks in the unstable, largely inefficient environments rated B.
  • Relative economic diversification
  • Free trade agreements with Central America and the United States  (CAFTA-DR), as well as with Mexico and the EU
  • Financial support from multilateral institutions
  • Growing population
  • High level of criminality and insecurity associated with drug trafficking
  • Lack of natural resources
  • Climatic and seismic vulnerability
  • Inadequate infrastructures and investment
  • Dependence on the United States (47% of exports, 90% of immigrant workers' remittances and FDI)
  • Structural fragility of public and external accounts
  • Significant inequality and poverty

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