According to Countryaah data, El Salvador had an average population density of 305 residents per km 2 in 2019. However, the majority of the population lives in the fertile areas between the mountain ranges. The civil war of 1979-92 contributed to many people fleeing abroad or within the country. About 1 million Salvadorans went to the United States during the war, and most of them lived 2 million abroad. Of these, many have now moved back. The population increase has been very strong, and the country has a comparatively young population.
About 70 percent of the population lives in cities, of which San Salvador (561,400 residents, 2012) is the largest.
According to thesciencetutor, during the pre-Hispanic era, El Salvador was the meeting place for macro-chibi countries, Central American indigenous peoples and Mayan-born traders such as potatoes, kekchí and chortí from the northwest. More recently, Nahuatl speaking people came from the north, such as Pipil, who formed cultural and linguistic enclaves. With the conquest, the Native people became increasingly displaced, and today the approximately 200,000 Pipil Indians are integrated into the national community and have lost their language, while Kekchí (about 12,000), like the Lenca (approximately 37,000), a Central American Native American people, have better resisted integration. Despite these remnants of pre-Hispanic civilization, the Native American culture of El Salvador today is felt only in crafts and celebrations.
Nowadays, El Salvador has one of Latin America’s most homogeneous populations with about 93 percent mastics and nearly 100 percent Spanish speakers. The remaining part of the population consists of about 5 percent acculturated Native Americans and 1 percent white. The basic industry in the countryside is still agriculture. The socio-economic organization is characterized by the patron-client relationship between the wealthy landowners and the landless workers.
Practically the entire population has the official language Spanish as their mother tongue. Only a fraction of the population still speak the Mayan language q’eqchi ‘(kekchí), while other native languages such as lenca and the Aztec language-related pipil are practically extinct.
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Catholicism has been the dominant religion ever since the colonial church came to El Salvador in the 16th century. After independence in the 1820s came Methodists and Baptists. About 90% of the population is Catholic; a Catholic church renewal began under the influence of Latin American bishops’ conferences. During the military dictatorship, the Lutheran Church was persecuted, and in 1980, Archbishop Óscar Romero and six Jesuits were assassinated. Ecumenical cooperation between Protestants and Catholics exists, but in tension with the rapidly growing evangelical groups.