El Salvador


About country profiles

The country profiles are intended to provide some background and context for the descriptions of the churches. These profiles should be read in conjunction with those of the churches in the country.

Click here for the sources of the statistical data

Surface area:21040 km2
Capital:San Salvador
GNI per capita:2340 US$
Classification:Developing economy




Christian: 97.00%


Catholics: 6031000

Protestants: 806730

Independent: 932700

(double affiliation)
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El Salvador is part of the Central American region, where indigenous societies existed long before the area was conquered by Spain in the 16th century. Colonization disrupted these communities and killed hundreds of thousands of people. When the population was almost exterminated, the Spanish brought in slaves from Africa. Today El Salvador has a very mixed population. It achieved independence from Spain in 1821. Throughout its history, El Salvador was ruled by a small oligarchy that oppressed the poor. The growing disparity, and the call for land reform, led to the guerilla war of the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN), from 1980-1992. The population suffered massive killings and human rights abuses, mostly at the hands of government and paramilitary forces, supported by the USA. The UN brokered an end to the armed conflict, and since then the FMNL acts as a political party. Within the Catholic Church in El Salvador and the Protestant churches, Christians have stood up for justice and solidarity with the poor. Many have paid with their lives, among them Archbishop Romero who was shot dead while celebrating the mass, in 1980. The people of El Salvador continue to struggle with poverty. The country's economy is agricultural, with some processing industry. Main export products are coffee, cotton and sugar. About 25 percent of the population belong to non-Catholic churches, of which at least 50 percent are Pentecostal. There is an Evangelical Fellowship, affiliated with the WEA.


Ecumenical Organizations and Councils

    WCC member churches based in El Salvador

    WCC member churches present in El Salvador

      Note: The list of churches present in countries is still in development.

      Last updated: 01/01/06