SALVADORAN Facts & Figures

Size: 8,124 square miles

Population: 6,134,000

Capital:  San Salvador

Currency: US Dollar

Weather / Climate:

El Salvadorhas a tropical climate with pronounced wet and dry seasons. Temperatures vary primarily with elevation and show little seasonal change. The Pacific lowlands are uniformly hot; the central plateau and mountain areas are more moderate. The rainy season extends from May to October; this time of year is referred to as invierno or winter. Almost all the annual rainfall occurs during this period, and yearly totals, particularly on southern-facing mountain slopes, can be as high as 2,170 millimetres (85.4 in). The best time to visit El Salvador would be at the beginning or end of the dry season. Protected areas and the central plateau receive less, although still significant, amounts. Rainfall during this season generally comes from low pressure systems formed over the Pacific and usually falls in heavy afternoon thunderstorms. Hurricanes occasionally form in the Pacific with the notable exception of Hurricane Mitch, which formed in the Atlantic and crossed Central America.

From November through April, the northeast trade winds control weather patterns; this time of year is referred to as verano, or summer. During these months, air flowing from the Caribbean has lost most of its precipitation while passing over the mountains in Honduras. By the time this air reaches El Salvador, it is dry, hot, and hazy. However, in the extreme northeastern part of the country near Cerro El Pital, snow is known to fall during this season as well as during the winter due to a very high elevation (it is often referred to as the coldest place in the country). During El Salvador's summer temperatures are warm to hot but dry (excluding the northern higher mountain ranges, where temperatures are chilly).

Taken from wikipedia

SALVADORAN languages

Central American Spanish is the official language and is spoken by virtually all inhabitants. Some indigenous people still speak their native tongues (such as Nahuatl and Maya), but indigenous Salvadoreans who do not identify as mestizo constitute only 1% of the country's population. However all of them can speak Spanish. Q'eqchi' is spoken by immigrants of Guatemalan and Belizean indigenous people living in El Salvador. There have also been recent large migrations of Hondurans and Nicaraguans.[46]

German, Dutch and French are taught as a secondary language only in private international schools, such as the Liceo Frances (France), Escuela Alemana (Germany), Academia Britanica Cuscatleca (United Kingdom) and the Escuela Americana (United States). English has been taught by Americans and the British in El Salvador for several decades, at least 50 years. However most formal education is given in private schools, which sometime may make it hard to access for most of the population, who have to attend public schools and receive a very elementary level of English. There has been a small Japanese community in El Salvador since World War II., as well as a considerable Taiwanese community.

The local Spanish vernacular is called Caliche. Salvadoreans use voseo, which is also used in Uruguay and Argentina. This refers to the use of "vos" as the second person pronoun, instead of "tú". However "caliche" is considered informal and a small number of people choose not to use it. Nahuatl is an indigenous language that has survived, though it is only used by small communities of some elderly Salvadorans in western El Salvador.

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The population of El Salvador increased from 1.9 million inhabitants in 1950 to 4.7 million in 1984.[30] El Salvador has lacked authoritative demographic data for many years because no national census was taken between 1992 and 2007. Before the 2007 census, patterns in population growth led many officials (including within the Salvadoran government) to estimate the country's population at between 7.1 and 7.2 million people.[31] However, on May 12, 2008, El Salvador's Ministry of Economy released statistics gathered in the census of the previous May. These data present a figure for the total population that corroborates the earlier estimates: 7,185,218.Challenges to the 2007 census on a number of grounds are forthcoming.[32][33][34]

The country's population is composed of mestizos (those of mixed indigenous Native American and European ancestry), whites, and indigenous peoples. Eighty-six percent of Salvadorans are of mixed ancestry. In the mestizo population, Salvadorans of predominantly Mediterranean descent and indigenes who are not connected to indigenous customs or language all identify themselves as mestizo culturally.
Twelve percent of Salvadorans are mostly of Spanish descent. Small communities of French, German, Swiss, English, Irish, Italian, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Dutch and Central European ethnicity also exist within the country. The majority of Central European immigrants arrived during World War II as refugees from the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Serbia, and Switzerland, and their descendants are scattered in different communities across El Salvador. Russians came in during the Salvadoran civil war, concurrent with the U.S./Soviet Union cold war, to help the communist guerrillas in their struggle to seize the government. Americans, Australians, and Canadians assisted the military junta in their fight against the communists.

Only one percent of the Salvadoran population is pure indigenous, mostly Mayan, Pipil, Lenca and Kakawira (Cacaopera). The presently low numbers of indigenous people may be partly explained by mass murders during the 1932 Salvadoran peasant uprising (or La Matanza), in which up to 30,000 peasants were killed in what by modern standards would be considered genocide because of the Salvadoran army's efforts to exterminate a certain racial group. Other ethnic groups include Arabs, Jews, other Central Americans, South Americans, Caribbeans and a small group of Asians.[citation needed]

El Salvadoris the only Central American country that has no visible or significant African population today because of its lack of an Atlantic coastline and attendant access to the slave trade which occurred along the east coast of Central America for centuries. This scarcity of Afro-Salvadoran population is also due to laws imposed by the Spanish and Criollos around the 17th century after a slave revolt, and which was sustained by authorities even after independence was won from Spain in 1821 and slavery was abolished.

Until the end of the 20th century people of African descent weren't allowed to enter the country unless the oligarchy determined it was absolutely necessary. In addition, General Maximiliano Hernández Martínez instituted race laws in 1930 that prohibited four ethnic groups — blacks, Gypsies, Asians, and Arabs, from entering the country and stipulated that certain people — Lebanese, Syrian, Palestinian and Turkish, were not allowed to enter El Salvador unless they were of European ancestry[citation needed]. It was not until the 1980s that this law was rescinded. Regardless of these racial laws, Afro-Salvadorans are present in some areas due to immigrants arriving from neighboring countries like Belize, Honduras, and Nicaragua, who eventually mixed in with the local populations. Palestinian Christians are today one of the most notable immigrant groups in El Salvador, despite their relatively small numbers.[36][37]

According to the book "Seeing Indians: A Study of Race, Nation, and Power in El Salvador", by Virginia Q. Tilley, page 210, " twentieth-century law or regulation ever prohibited the entry, settlement, or patriation of blacks, under the Martinez dictatorship or any other regime." There have been several publications presenting information about Africans in what is now El Salvador during the colonial period.

Among the immigrant groups in El Salvador, Palestinian Christians stand out.[38] Though few in number, their descendants have attained great economic and political power in the country, as evidenced by the election of ex-president Antonio Saca — whose opponent in the 2004 election, Schafik Handal, was likewise of Palestinian descent — and the flourishing commercial, industrial, and construction firms owned by this ethnic group.

The capital city of San Salvador has about 2.1 million people; an estimated 42% of El Salvador's population live in rural areas. Urbanization has expanded at a phenomenal rate in El Salvador since the 1960s, driving millions to the cities and creating growth problems for cities around the country.

In the first half of 2007, government statistics provided by La Policía Nacional Civil of El Salvador showed lower numbers in homicide and extortions as well as robbery and theft of vehicles. In 2007 homicides in El Salvador were reduced by 22%, extortions were reduced by 7%, and robbery and theft of vehicles had gone down 18%, in comparison with the same period in 2006.[39] However, in 2009, there has been an increase in homicides and extortions of about 30% more than in 2008, according to some statistics.[40]

As of 2004, there were approximately 3.2 million Salvadorans living outside El Salvador, with the United States traditionally being the destination of choice for Salvadorans looking for greater economic opportunity. By 2009, there were about 1.6 million Salvadoran immigrants and Americans of Salvadoran descent in the U.S.,[41] making them the sixth largest immigrant group in the country.[42] Salvadorans also live in nearby Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.[43]

The majority of expatriates emigrated during the civil war of the 1980s for political reasons and later because of adverse economic and social conditions. Other countries with notable Salvadoran communities include Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom (including the Cayman Islands), Sweden, Brazil, Italy, Colombia, and Australia. There is also a large community of Nicaraguans, 100,000 according to some figures, in the United States and Costa Rica,[44] many of them seasonal immigrants.

Taken from:


One of El Salvador's notable dishes is the pupusa. Pupusas are hand-made corn tortillas (made of masa de maíz or masa de arroz, a maize or rice flour dough used in Latin American cuisine) stuffed with one or more of the following: cheese (usually a soft Salvadoran cheese such as quesillo, similar to mozzarella), chicharrón, or refried beans. Sometimes the filling is queso con loroco (cheese combined with loroco, a vine flower bud native to Central America). Pupusas revueltas are pupusas filled with beans, cheese and pork. There are also vegetarian options. Some adventurous restaurants even offer pupusas stuffed with shrimp or spinach. The name pupusa comes from the Pipil-Nahuatl word, pupushahua. The precise origins of the pupusa are debated, although its presence in El Salvador is known to predate the arrival of the Spaniards.[65]

Two other typical Salvadoran dishes are yuca frita and panes con pollo. Yuca frita is deep fried cassava root served with curtido (a pickled cabbage, onion and carrot topping) and pork rinds with pescaditas (fried baby sardines). The Yuca is sometimes served boiled instead of fried.

Panes con pollo (literally breads with chicken) are warm turkey-filled submarine sandwiches. The turkey is marinated and then roasted with Pipil spices and handpulled. This sandwich is traditionally served with chicken, tomato, and watercress along with cucumber, onion, lettuce, mayonnaise, and mustard.

One of El Salvador's typical breakfasts is fried plantain, usually served with cream. It is common in Salvadorian restaurants and homes, including those of immigrants to the United States.

"Maria Luisa" is a dessert commonly found in El Salvador. It is a layered cake that is soaked in orange marmalade and sprinkled with powdered sugar.

A popular drink that Salvadorians enjoy is Horchata, a drink native to the Valencian Community in Spain. Horchata is most commonly made of the morro seed ground into a powder and added to milk or water, and sugar. Horchata is drunk year round, and can be drunk anytime of day. It mostly is accompanied by a plate of pupusas or fried yuca. Horchata from El Salvador has a very distinct taste and is not to be confused with Mexican horchata, which is rice-based. Coffee is also a common morning beverage.[66]

Other popular drinks in El Salvador include Ensalada, a drink made of chopped fruit swimming in fruit juice, and Kolachampan, a sugar cane-flavored carbonated beverage.

One of the most popular desserts is the cake Pastel de tres leches (Cake of three milks), consisting of three types of milk; evaporated milk, condensed milk, and cream.

Taken from wikipedia

Doing business in El SALVADOR

According to the IMF and CIA World Factbook, El Salvador has the third largest economy in the region (behind Costa Rica and Panama) when comparing nominal Gross Domestic Product and purchasing power GDP.[20] El Salvador's GDP per capita stands at US $4,365.[21]

El Salvador's economy has been hampered at times by natural disasters such as earthquakes and hurricanes, but it is currently growing steadily. Antiguo Cuscatlán has the highest per capita income of all the cities in the country and is a center of international investment.

GDP in purchasing power parity (PPP) in 2008 was estimated at $ 25.895 billion USD. The service sector is the largest component of GDP at 64.1%, followed by the industrial sector at 24.7% (2008 est.). Agriculture represents only 11.2% of GDP (2010 est.).

The GDP has been growing since 1996 at an annual rate that averages 3.2% real growth. The government has recently committed to free market initiatives, and the 2007 GDP's real growth rate was 4.7%.[22]

In December 1999, net international reserves equaled US $1.8 billion or roughly five months of imports. Having this hard currency buffer to work with, the Salvadoran government undertook a monetary integration plan beginning January 1, 2001 by which the U.S. dollar became legal tender alongside the Salvadoran colón and all formal accounting was done in U.S. dollars. Thus the government has formally limited the implementing of open market monetary policies to influence short term variables in the economy. As of September 2007, net international reserves stood at $2.42 billion.[23][24]

It has long been a challenge in El Salvador to develop new growth sectors for a more diversified economy. In the past the country produced gold and silver.[25] As with other former colonies, El Salvador was considered a mono-export economy (an economy that depended heavily on one type of export) for many years. During colonial times, the Spanish decided that El Salvador would produce and export indigo, but after the invention of synthetic dyes in the 19th century, the newly created modern state turned to coffee as the main export.

There are a total of 15 free trade zones in El Salvador. El Salvador signed the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) — negotiated by the five countries of Central America and the Dominican Republic — with the United States in 2004. CAFTA requires that the Salvadoran government adopt policies that foster free trade. El Salvador has signed free trade agreements with Mexico, Chile, the Dominican Republic, and Panama and increased its trade with those countries. El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua also are negotiating a free trade agreement with Canada. In October 2007, these four countries and Costa Rica began free trade agreement negotiations with the European Union. Negotiations started in 2006 for a free trade agreement with Colombia.

The government has focused on improving the collection of its current revenues with a focus on indirect taxes. A 10% value-added tax (IVA in Spanish), implemented in September 1992, was raised to 13% in July 1995.

Inflation has been steady and among the lowest in the region. Since 1997 inflation has averaged 3%, with recent years increasing to nearly 5%. As a result of the free trade agreements from 2000 to 2006 total exports have grown 19% from $2.94 billion to $3.51 billion, and total imports have risen 54% from $4.95 billion to $7.63 billion. This has resulted in a 102% increase in the trade deficit from $2.01 billion to $4.12 billion.[26]

Remittances from Salvadorans living and working in the United States, sent to family in El Salvador, are a major source of foreign income and offset the substantial trade deficit of $4.12 billion. Remittances have increased steadily in the last decade and reached an all-time high of $3.32 billion in 2006 (an increase of 17% over the previous year).[27] approximately 16.2% of gross domestic product(GDP).

Remittances have had positive and negative effects on El Salvador. In 2005 the number of people living in extreme poverty in El Salvador was 20%,[28] according to a United Nations Development Program report, without remittances the number of Salvadorans living in extreme poverty would rise to 37%. While Salvadoran education levels have gone up, wage expectations have risen faster than either skills or productivity. For example, some Salvadorans are no longer willing to take jobs that pay them less than what they receive monthly from family members abroad. This has led to an influx of Hondurans and Nicaraguans who are willing to work for the prevailing wage. Also, the local propensity for consumption over investment has increased.

Money from remittances has also increased prices for certain commodities such as real estate. Many Salvadorans abroad earning much higher wages can afford higher prices for houses in El Salvador than local Salvadorans and thus push up the prices that all Salvadorans must pay.[29]

Despite being the smallest country geographically in Central America, El Salvador has the third largest economy with a per capita income that is roughly two-thirds that of Costa Rica and Panama, but more than double that of Nicaragua. Growth has been modest in recent years and the economy contracted nearly 3% in 2009. Due to a growing and dollarized economy In recent years, El Salvador is seeing an increase of Central American, South American, and Caribbean immigrants from Guatemalans, Hondurans, Nicaraguans, Dominicans, Colombians, Venezuelan, Peruvians and Cubans searching for better living opportunities.

El Salvadorleads the region in remittances per capita with inflows equivalent to nearly all export income and about a third of all households receive these financial inflows. In 2006 El Salvador was the first country to ratify the Central America-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement. CAFTA has bolstered exports of processed foods, sugar, and ethanol, and supported investment in the apparel sector, which faced Asian competition with the expiration of the Multi-Fiber Agreement in 2005. In anticipation of the declines in the apparel sector's competitiveness, the previous administration sought to diversify the economy by promoting the country as a regional distribution and logistics hub, and by promoting tourism investment through tax incentives.

El Salvadorhas promoted an open trade and investment environment, and has embarked on a wave of privatizations extending to telecom, electricity distribution, banking, and pension funds. In late 2006, the government and the Millennium Challenge Corporation signed a five-year, $461 million compact to stimulate economic growth and reduce poverty in the country's northern region, the primary conflict zone during the civil war, through investments in education, public services, enterprise development, and transportation infrastructure. With the adoption of the US dollar as its currency in 2001, El Salvador lost control over monetary policy. Any counter-cyclical policy response to the downturn must be through fiscal policy, which is constrained by legislative requirements for a two-thirds majority to approve any international financing.

Taken from wikipedia

El SALVADOR: useful links

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