El Salvador is the most densely populated country on the American continent. Most Salvadorans live in the fertile, central part of the country. About a third of the residents live in or around the capital, San Salvador. The population is young, about half the population is under 25.
The civil war of 1980-1992 claimed 75,000 lives and 1 million people were forced to flee inland or across borders, primarily to Mexico and the United States. The emigration to the United States has continued. More than 3 million Salvadorans (emigrants and their children) are estimated to live abroad, of which just over 2 million in the United States. Many flee the country away from the widespread violent crime (see Social conditions). In early 2018, however, the US government decided to repeal the Special Protection Status (TPS) that gives about 200,000 Salvadorans the right to live in the United States. The message causes great concern, although the United States later extended the right for those concerned to stay at least until January 2021 (see Calendar).
- COUNTRYAAH.COM: Key populations estimated size and data of El Salvador, including population density of how many people per square mile. Also included are facts for population and language.
The money the overseas Salvadorans send to their families in El Salvador contributes to an important part of the country’s economy.
A large majority of the residents identify themselves as ‘ mestizo ‘ (mestizo), with mixed descent from mainly indigenous people and whites (mainly Spaniards). A little more than a tenth identify themselves as Europeans. The indigenous people pipil and lenca make up less than one percent of the population and their languages have largely disappeared.
Then-President Mauricio Funes declared in 2010 that El Salvador is a multi-ethnic country and officially apologized for the state’s historical discrimination and marginalization of indigenous peoples.
The official language is Spanish spoken by everyone. Only a few today master the languages (Nahua, Lenca and Cocoa Opera) spoken by the indigenous peoples before the Spaniards arrived in the 16th century. The Constitution provides protection for the languages of the indigenous peoples, but no concrete measures have been taken to preserve them.
FACTS – POPULATION AND LANGUAGE
vast majority of masters 1
Number of residents
Number of residents per square kilometer
Percentage of residents in the cities
71.3 percent (2017)
Nativity / birth
18.5 per 1000 residents (2016)
Mortality / mortality
6.7 per 1000 residents (2016)
0.5 percent (2017)
2.1 number of births per woman (2016)
Percentage of women
53.0 percent (2017)
74 years (2016)
Life expectancy for women
78 years (2016)
Life expectancy for men
69 years (2016)
Spanish is the official language
- White and IndigenousSources
Funes asks for forgiveness after massacre
President Funes is asking for the government’s pardon for a massacre in the village of El Mozote in 1981. More than 1,000 people were killed at the massacre, almost half of whom were children. The murders were carried out by a government battalion that accused the residents of the city of cooperating with the guerrillas. The massacre was by far the worst in the civil war.
At least 32 dead after tropical storm
At least 32 people die in the tropical storm 12-E, including rainfall. The government orders evacuations and announces disaster states.
The United States places El Salvador on a black list
For the first time, the United States places El Salvador on its black list of countries considered to be producers or major transit countries for drugs. Belize is also on the list, where all seven Central American countries are now. The reason is believed to be the influence of Mexican drug cartels in the region. In El Salvador, the Mexican cartels are suspected of cooperating with the criminal youth gang maras. According to the United States, El Salvador is vulnerable to drug smuggling from South America to the United States due to the country’s location on the Pacific Ocean. Four tons of drugs passed through El Salvador in 2009, according to estimates by the US authorities.
Criminal network disclosure shocks the country
The country is shaken by a revealing report on organized crime with a wide range of politicians, judges, businessmen and military involved. Several people are mentioned in the name of the reputed online newspaper El Faro, for contacting a drug network called Texis Cartel. At a press conference, President Funes admits that the network exists and has links with government institutions, and says that the government should take action.
Parties are ordered to be dissolved
The Supreme Court orders the National Reconciliation Party (PCN) and the Christian Democratic Party (PDC) to be dissolved. The Court approves a decree that allowed the parties to continue despite losing a 3 percent cut in the 2004 presidential election. PCN and PDC, which together dominated Salvadoran politics from the 1960s to the late 1980s, must cease to be parties as soon their elected representatives have extended their terms of office. The PCN will soon resurrect as the National Consultation Party (Partido de Concertación Nacional, PCN) while the PDC may, after a brief change of name, regain its original name.
Jail for Mara 18 members
Ten members of the youth gang Mara 18 and one police are sentenced to between 4 and 30 years in prison for the murder of French-Spanish journalist Christian Poveda 2009. He had made the documentary film La vida loca (The Crazy Life) about the war between the youth gang.
Obama visits El Salvador
US President Barack Obama makes a two-day state visit to El Salvador. Obama commends President Funes for strengthening democracy in the country and pledging support to fight violent crime.