El Salvador Population, People, Languages and Religions

By | January 21, 2022

El Salvador Country Overview

Where is El Salvador located? El Salvador, translated from the Spanish name “the Savior”, is a country in Central America. It is both the smallest country in this part of America and the most densely populated. The time zone map, where you can see the world time zones and also the countries in which they apply, shows that the time zone in which El Salvador is located is called “Central Standard Time”. There is a time shift of 6 hours to the coordinated world time (UTC). This means that the clocks there are always 6 hours earlier than those of world time. In summer, a time change to daylight saving time is common.

El Salvador National Flag

Population Distribution

As of 2023, the latest population of El Salvador is 6,481,102, based on our calculation of the current data from UN (United Nations).

Total population 6,481,102
Population growth rate 0.83%
Birth rate 16.20 births per 1,000 people
Life expectancy
Overall 73.93 years
Men 70.66 years
Women 77.37 years
Age structure
0-14 years 25.30%
15-64 years 67.00%
65 years and above 7.69%
Median age 26.10 years
Gender ratio (Male to Female) 0.93
Population density 308.02 residents per km²
Urbanization 59.60%
90% of European indigenous descent, 10% indigenous people (above all Pipil); over 2 million Salvadorans live abroad
Catholics (Roman Catholic) 57.1% Protestants 21.2 Jehovah’s Witnesses 1.9% Mormons 0.7% Others 2.3% No religious affiliation 16.8%
Human Development Index (HDI) 0.667
HDI ranking 124th out of 194

People in El Salvador

The residents of El Salvador are called Salvadorans in German. The vast majority of the population (86.3 percent) are descendants of Europeans (mostly Spaniards) and indigenous peoples. Whites make up 12.7 percent of the population. Only 0.2 percent are indigenous.

These indigenous peoples represented in El Salvador are the Cacaopera (Kakawira), Pipil and Lenca. Cacaopera live mainly in the northeast, in the Morazán district. Their language died out when the last speaker died in 1974. The Pipil people belong to the Nahua people, whose groups have in common that they speak Nahuatl. The best known Nahua ethnic group were the Aztecs. The Pipil live mainly in the west of the country, the Lencain the East. There are even more Lenca living in neighboring Honduras than in El Salvador.

0.1 percent in the country are black. Compared to other countries, this group is so small in El Salvador because blacks were banned from immigration in the 1930s. 0.6 percent belong to other races.

Among the indigenous peoples, the Cacaopera are represented with 31.3 percent, the Pipil with 26.6 percent and the Lenca with 15.1 percent. 27 percent belong to other indigenous peoples, for example immigrated from Guatemala.


Many Salvadorans – it is assumed that there are 3 million, or half of the country’s population – live outside their country. They left their country during the civil war until 1992 or left in the 1990s and from 2000 because the economic situation deteriorated. Most Salvadorans abroad live in the United States. The money you send home makes a significant contribution to the country’s economic performance.

  • Children: Every woman in El Salvador has an average of 2 children. With us, every woman has an average of 1.4 children. So the families in El Salvador are a bit bigger than ours.
  • Urban and rural areas: More than half of El Salvador’s population, namely 73 percent, live in the city. About a third of all residents live in the region of the capital San Salvador.

Languages in El Salvador

Spanish is the official language in El Salvador. It is actually spoken by almost all residents. Of the indigenous languages, only the Nawat, the language of the Pipil, has survived so far. However, in 2007 only 97 people stated Nawat as their mother tongue. The language is threatened with extinction. The languages ​​of Lenca and Cacaopera have already died out.

If the nawat dies out, El Salvador would be the second country after Uruguay on the American mainland where an indigenous language is no longer spoken. The reason for this is that all indigenous languages ​​of El Salvador were suppressed and persecuted in the 1930s.

Spanish in El Salvador

However, Spanish in El Salvador differs from the Spanish (Castilian) spoken in Spain. The Salvadoran variant is called caliche. For example, for “her” one says ustedes (instead of vosotros). In addition, one often says instead of tú (du) vos. This peculiarity is called Voseo.

And while in Spain the c is usually pronounced like an English th, i.e. between the teeth (as in through), in El Salvador the c is pronounced like a sharp s (as in see).

Religions in El Salvador

The majority of 54 percent of El Salvador’s residents are Catholics. 31 percent are Protestants. In 2013, 10 percent said they did not belong to any church. The remaining 5 percent belong to other religions, for example Jehovah’s Witnesses, Muslims, Jews or Mormons.