Population of El Salvador 2017


Current population of El Salvador is 6,172,011 people (July 2017 est.).


noun: Salvadoran(s)
adjective: Salvadoran

Ethnic Groups

mestizo 86.3%, white 12.7%, Amerindian 0.2% (includes Lenca, Kakawira, Nahua-Pipil), black 0.1%, other 0.6% (2007 est.)


Spanish (official), Nawat (among some Amerindians)


Roman Catholic 50%, Protestant 36%, other 2%, none 12% (2014 est.)

Demographic Profile

El Salvador is the smallest and most densely populated country in Central America. It is well into its demographic transition, experiencing slower population growth, a decline in its number of youths, and the gradual aging of its population. The increased use of family planning has substantially lowered El Salvador’s fertility rate, from approximately 6 children per woman in the 1970s to replacement level today. A 2008 national family planning survey showed that female sterilization remained the most common contraception method in El Salvador – its sterilization rate is among the highest in Latin America and the Caribbean – but that the use of injectable contraceptives is growing. Fertility differences between rich and poor and urban and rural women are narrowing.

Salvadorans fled during the 1979 to 1992 civil war mainly to the United States but also to Canada and to neighboring Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica. Emigration to the United States increased again in the 1990s and 2000s as a result of deteriorating economic conditions, natural disasters (Hurricane Mitch in 1998 and earthquakes in 2001), and family reunification. At least 20% of El Salvador’s population lives abroad. The remittances they send home account for close to 20% of GDP, are the second largest source of external income after exports, and have helped reduce poverty.

Age Structure

0-14 years: 25.92% (male 820,255/female 779,306)
15-24 years: 20.23% (male 628,535/female 620,230)
25-54 years: 39.23% (male 1,120,705/female 1,300,771)
55-64 years: 7.14% (male 194,360/female 246,164)
65 years and over: 7.48% (male 203,320/female 258,365) (2017 est.)

Dependency Ratios

total dependency ratio: 56.8
youth dependency ratio: 44.4
elderly dependency ratio: 12.4
potential support ratio: 8 (2015 est.)

Median Age

total: 26.6 years
male: 25.1 years
female: 28.1 years (2016 est.)

Population Growth Rate

0.3% (2017 est.)

Birth Rate

16.2 births/1,000 population (2017 est.)

Death Rate

5.8 deaths/1,000 population (2017 est.)

Net Migration Rate

-8 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2017 est.)

Population Distribution

athough it is the smallest country in land area in Central America, El Salvador has a population that is 18 times larger than Belize; at least 20% of the population lives abroad; high population density country-wide, with particular concentration around the capital of San Salvador


urban population: 67.6% of total population (2017)
rate of urbanization: 1.23% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)

Major Urban Areas – Population:

SAN SALVADOR (capital) 1.098 million (2015)

Sex Ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.86 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.8 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.8 male(s)/female
total population: 0.93 male(s)/female (2016 est.)

Mother’s Mean Age at First Birth

20.8 years

note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2008 est.)

Maternal Mortality Rate

54 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)

Infant Mortality Rate

total: 17.3 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 19.4 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 15.1 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)

Life Expectancy at Birth

total population: 74.7 years
male: 71.4 years
female: 78.1 years (2016 est.)

Total Fertility Rate

1.87 children born/woman (2017 est.)

Contraceptive Prevalence Rate

72% (2014)

Health Expenditures

6.8% of GDP (2014)

Physicians Density

1.92 physicians/1,000 population (2008)

Hospital Bed Density

1.1 beds/1,000 population (2012)

Drinking Water Source

urban: 97.5% of population
rural: 86.5% of population
total: 93.8% of population

urban: 2.5% of population
rural: 13.5% of population
total: 6.2% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation Facility Access

urban: 82.4% of population
rural: 60% of population
total: 75% of population

urban: 17.6% of population
rural: 40% of population
total: 25% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS – Adult Prevalence Rate

0.6% (2016 est.)

HIV/AIDS – People Living with HIV/AIDS

24,000 (2016 est.)

HIV/AIDS – Deaths

<1000 (2016 est.)

Major Infectious Disease

degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever

note: active local transmission of Zika virus by Aedes species mosquitoes has been identified in this country (as of August 2016); it poses an important risk (a large number of cases possible) among US citizens if bitten by an infective mosquito; other less common ways to get Zika are through sex, via blood transfusion, or during pregnancy, in which the pregnant woman passes Zika virus to her fetus (2016)

Obesity – Adult Prevalence Rate

20.1% (2014)

Children Under the Age of 5 Years Underweight

5% (2014)

Education Expenditures

3.4% of GDP (2014)


definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 88%
male: 90%
female: 86.2% (2015 est.)

School Life Expectancy (Primary to Tertiary Education)

total: 13 years
male: 13 years
female: 13 years (2014)

Child Labor – Children Ages 5-14

total number: 179,303
percentage: 4%

note: data represent children ages 5-17 (2007 est.)

Unemployment, Youth Ages 15-24

total: 12.4%
male: 11.8%
female: 13.6% (2013 est.)