Music in El Salvador features religious songs, which are mostly Roman Catholic. These were used during the Christmas time as well as other holidays, especially during the feast days celebrated by the saints. The modern music includes cumbia, hip hop, salsa and reggaeton.
U.S. policy toward El Salvador promotes the strengthening of El Salvador's democratic institutions, rule of law, judicial reform, national reconciliation and reconstruction, and economic opportunity and growth. El Salvador was a committed member of the coalition of nations fighting against terrorism and sent 11 rotations of troops to Iraq to support Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2003 through 2008.
Soccer is the national sport. Izalco is a natural volcano referred to as the Lighthouse because its smoke and flames are a guide to ships.There are more than 100 pyramid sites in El Salvador, many still unexcavated.
The military service age and obligation is 18 for selective compulsory military service; 16-22 years of age for voluntary male or female service. Service obligation lasts 12 months, with 11 months for officers and NCOs (2009).
In 1930, 72% of Salvadorans over 10 years of age were illiterate; by the year 2000, the figure had been reduced to about 21.3% (males, 18.4%; females, 23.9%). As of 1999, public expenditure on education was estimated at 2.5% of GDP. Primary education is free and compulsory through elementary school, and the public school system is government controlled.
The average life expectancy in 1998 was 69.6 years. The crude death rate was 7 per 1000 population in 1995, down from 23 in 1930. The fertility rate has dropped from 5.3 in 1980 to 3.2 in 1997.
Farmland and pasture account for approximately 60% of land use. Its reliance on the crop caused economic structural imbalance. Fishing is important, but manufacturing is on a small scale.
Spanish is the official language of El Salvador. During the precolonial epoch various Indian dialects were spoken, the most important of these being Nahuatl, spoken in the central region of the country, and Poton, spoken in the east. After the initial conquest, Spanish became the official language, and the Indian dialects slowly fell into disuse.
El Salvador is 75 percent Roman Catholic but has a growing Protestant movement. The Catholic Church returned to its traditional conservative stance after the end of the civil war. Among Protestant denominations, Pentecostal and fundamentalist sects—called evangelical churches—have had the largest growth.
El Salvador lies within the Tropics; the climate, however, is moderated in many regions by high elevation. The climate of the coastal strip is tropical, while that of the plateau and highlands is semitropical and temperate. The mountain regions have a temperate climate.