Tuesday, July 10, 2007

El Salvador smaller, more violent, than thought

Figures from the census conducted in El Salvador show a population much smaller than the prior official estimates. The census indicates there are 5.7 million people living in El Salvador, compared to the prior estimate of 7 million. That population is divided up 3 million women and 2.7 million men.

Why were the official estimates 25% too high? Officials are giving several reasons. First, the last census was in 1992 at the conclusion of the civil war and may not have been a very accurate count. Using an inaccurate base can lead to inaccurate estimates. Second, the birth rate may have declined more than was assumed. Third, the impact of the hundreds of thousands of Salvadorans who have left the country looking for work and a better life.

Having a much smaller population impacts some frequently cited statistics. For example, per capita income (total national income divided by population) increases. The murder rate (total murders divided by population) also increases. Rather than a murder rate of 55 per 100,000, the rate is 67 murders per 100,000 inhabitants. Unfortunately that easily makes El Salvador that country in Latin America with the highest murder rate.


Anonymous said...

And keep leaving. 700 Salvadorans a day try to make it up north!

Something that bothers me about your Per capita income statement is that you have to remember that this country is quite disparate that what is it 10% of the population control more than 50% of the countries wealth, about a handful of business groups controling the means of production of the country and the ones that receive the bulk of the income? The only reason some folks are much better than they were is because someone left the country and go up north to send remittances, but that implies that "someone could not sustain himself in his own country so they had to leave to have someone leave out of their backs or else they'd be worse ". Even so, even when folks receive remittances, more than 47% of the population are discontent with the current state of things and would consider leaving if they could.

But your assertion of El Salvador being the most violent country of the hemisphere is totally right.hu

Anonymous said...

Having the highest murder rate, 700 leaving daily, and those left must rely on remittance. Well President Saca, you've done one Hell of a job! Oh, by the way; What happens when the remittances stop? Those born in the USA will not likely send money to a people they've never met and don't know. I guess, with the current lack of positive action by the Arena government, more people will turn to crime.

Solavá said...

A couple of weeks ago I calculated the murder rate based on the new census and came out with 57 per 100,000 inhabitants. I could be wrong, of course, but remember that the number of murders per day has gone down, according to the Police, from 13 to 9 per day. Thus the irony. The Government announced one day that the murder rate is going down, and a couple of days later the floor bellow them was shaken: since the total population was critically underestimated the murder rate has actually gone up, from 52 per 100,000 inhabitants at last count, to 57 (my count).

Tim said...

Anonymous#1 -- believe me, I don't think per capita income is a very good measure of the well-being of a country's citizens. When there is a wide disparity of income, as in El Salvador, an average is not very meaningful. Median income (the income figure that half the population falls below) is a better measure, for example.

Solava -- my math and El Faro's math was the same -- the new number is a tragic 67 per 100,000 not 57. I have no problem with the country's officials tracking the number of murders per day -- whether it be 9, 10, 11 or 12 -- but it is highly misleading when they compare El Salvador's daily murder total to a country with a much larger population like Guatemala or Honduras and say that El Salvador looks good when it has 9 daily murders and Guatemala with twice the population has 12.

That's why everyone should read a little book called "How to Lie With Statistics" -- you can find it on Amazon.com.

Tim said...

One more comment about the figure of 700 Salvadorans a day leaving the country -- I know that is the most widely quoted and believed number -- but does anyone know how that number was developed? That equals 250,000 Salvadorans a year, and I am fairly certain that the US immigration authorities don't believe that many Salvadorans are arriving in the US. Is this number being repeated time and again just because it makes a point?

SalvaAlchemist said...

I agree with Tim, where is this number coming from? Even with this high of number I think it's ludicrous to beleive that many are coming up North at such a rate. Most immigration statisics Ive seen have shown that immigration has caught more Guatamalans and Hondurans than Salvadorans in the past five years at the border.

Caesar said...

that's cause 90% of statistics found on the internet are made up.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure how the number took form, I just know that various places site that approx. 600-700 Salvadoran's leave a day and know that 2 million salvadoran's leave outside, and about half of the remaining population would like to leave.

Here for example:
Says that even the UN cites 700 migrating Salvadorans, would be interesting to know how they come up with those numbers.

I wonder, USA used to have this policy of catch and release Salvadoran's due to the civil war that until recently was overruled. So I wonder, could that influence the number immigration plays of how many Salvadoran's have been caught?

Anonymous said...

Another thing to notice is that deportations from USA to ES have increased. According to a BBC article I just stumbled upon this are the numbers they manage:

95% en el número de personas deportadas sin antecedentes penales de 5.412 en 2005 a 10.543 en 2006.


Solavá said...

The widely used figure of "700 Salvadorans a day leaving the country", as far as I know, was first used publicly by the ex ambassador of the US in El Salvador, Douglas Barclay. He is still using it in interviews and declarations made regarding immigration reform in the US.

The funny thing is that this wild estimate does not have a scientific basis. It comes from an organization of salvadoran inmigrants in the US: Carecen. But there is absolutely no basis for this.

Now, one could argue that if this trend were true, 20% of the salvadoran population would have left the country since 2000. And that would justify the huge gap in the census estimate.

Here is a quote from an article published in El Diario de Hoy on february 14 2006, which is the oldest reference I found: "Según Carecen internacional, un organismo no gubernamental que ayuda a los migrantes, todos los días más de 700 salvadoreños dejan su país y emprenden viaje hacia Estados Unidos." This comes from an article on the deportation of gang members.

Anonymous said...

You goes need to find a job, STOP talking about El Salvador here and there, Look at the US, spending the money they don't have, instead of helping the homeless or should I said the Veteran from Vietnam, Afhanistan, and Irak, before posting anything about another country look at yours first, idiotic choice....