Departments of El Salvador

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Country overview: 

ISO codeSV
LanguageSpanish (es)
Time zone-6
CapitalSan Salvador


El Salvador has been an independent country since 1841. There has been no change to the names, number, or capitals of its departments in the 20th century. The capital of La Libertad has had two names, but they have both been in use throughout the century.

Other names of country: 

  1. Danish: El Salvador
  2. Dutch: El Salvador, Republiek El Salvador (formal)
  3. English: Republic of El Salvador (formal), Salvador (obsolete)
  4. Finnish: El Salvador
  5. French: El Salvador m, Salvador m
  6. German: El Salvador n
  7. Italian: El Salvador m
  8. Norwegian: El Salvador, Republikken El Salvador (formal)
  9. Portuguese: El Salvador, Salvador, República f de El Salvador m (formal), República f do Salvador m (formal)
  10. Russian: Республика Эль-Сальвадор (formal), Сальвадор
  11. Spanish: El Salvador, República f de El Salvador m (formal)
  12. Swedish: El Salvador
  13. Turkish: El Salvador Cumhuriyeti (formal)

Origin of name: 

After the city of San Salvador, Spanish for Holy Savior, in honor of Christ

Primary subdivisions: 

El Salvador is divided into fourteen departamentos (departments).

Ahuachapán SV.AHES01319,503 1,240479Ahuachapán
Cabañas SV.CAES02149,326 1,104426Sensuntepeque
ChalatenangoSV.CHES03192,788 2,017779Chalatenango
Cuscatlán SV.CUES04231,480 756292Cojutepeque
La Libertad SV.LIES05660,652 1,653638Nueva San Salvador (Santa Tecla)
La Paz SV.PAES06308,087 1,224472Zacatecoluca
La Unión SV.UNES07238,217 2,074801La Unión
Morazán SV.MOES08174,406 1,447559San Francisco Gotera
San Miguel SV.SMES09434,003 2,077802San Miguel
San SalvadorSV.SSES101,567,156 886342San Salvador
Santa Ana SV.SAES11523,655 2,023781Santa Ana
San Vicente SV.SVES12161,645 1,184457San Vicente
Sonsonate SV.SOES13438,960 1,225473Sonsonate
Usulután SV.USES14344,235 2,130823Usulután
14 departments5,744,11321,0408,124

Postal codes: 

The Universal Postal Union's document states that El Salvador uses five-digit postal codes, in which the first two digits indicate the department. I have not been able to find actual examples of their use.

Further subdivisions:

See the Municipios of El Salvador page.

Territorial extent: 

There are long-standing boundary disputes between El Salvador and Honduras.

La Unión includes some islands in the Gulf of Fonseca, of which the largest are Isla Meanguera, Isla Conchagüita, and Isla Zacatillo.

The UN LOCODE page  for El Salvador lists locations in the country, some of them with their latitudes and longitudes, some with their ISO 3166-2 codes for their subdivisions. This information can be put together to approximate the territorial extent of subdivisions.

Origins of names: 

  1. Cabañas: Spanish for huts, cabins.
  2. La Libertad: Spanish for liberty.
  3. La Paz: Spanish for peace.
  4. La Unión: Spanish for union, unity.
  5. Morazán: Named for Francisco Morazán (1799-1842), Central American revolutionary.
  6. San Salvador: Spanish for Holy Savior.

Population history:

Ahuachapán 79,033 94,646130,710 183,682241,323260,563 319,503
Cabañas 59,081 77,62894,590 139,312179,909136,293 149,326
Chalatenango83,216 105,859129,897 186,003235,757180,627 192,788
Cuscatlán 83,363 90,099113,042 158,458203,978167,290 231,480
La Libertad 118,360 144,004203,480 293,076388,538522,071 660,652
La Paz 85,632 96,843130,659 194,196249,635246,147 308,087
La Unión 74,568 109,715148,108 230,103309,879251,143 238,217
Morazán 75,661 96,729119,381 170,706215,163166,772 174,406
San Miguel 126,582 171,234231,821 337,325434,047380,442 434,003
San Salvador191,125 296,452463,228 681,656979,6831,477,7661,567,156
Santa Ana 154,493 202,455259,155 375,186445,462451,620 523,655
San Vicente 77,724 87,577112,920 160,534206,959135,471 161,645
Sonsonate 100,217 120,327166,932 239,688321,989354,641 438,960
Usulután 125,306 162,349207,061 304,369399,912317,079 344,235
Totals 1,434,3611,855,9172,510,9843,654,2944,812,2345,047,9255,744,113


  1. [1] 1930 census data from Encyclopædia Britannica World Atlas, 1951 edition.
  2. [2] 1950 census data from Demographic Yearbook , 7th Ed. Statistical Office of the United Nations, New York, 1955 (retrieved 2011-08-20).
  3. [3] 1961 census data from Encyclopædia Britannica World Atlas, 1964 edition.
  4. [4] 1971 census data from The Statesman's Year-Book 1977-78, ed. John Paxton. St. Martin's Press, New York, 1977.
  5. [5] 1981 population estimates from The Statesman's Yearbook 1988-89, ed. John Paxton. St. Martin's Press, New York 1988. It notes that San Vicente's estimate is for 1980.
  6. [6] 1992 census data from The Statesman's Yearbook 1997-98, ed. Brian Hunter. St. Martin's Press, New York 1997.
  7. [7] 2007 census data fromón%20V%20de%20Vivienda%202007.pdf (dead link. retrieved 2008-06-05).

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