The violence was worse in mid-1990's

It has been common to say that 2015 was the bloodiest year in El Salvador since the end of the civil war.   But was it?

The  October 1997 edition of ECA, no. 588, a publication of the University of Central America looked at the magnitude of homicides occurring at that time in the country.    Taking a look at the various sources of data on homicides, the study estimated the following numbers of homicides:

Number of intentional homicides
Homicide rate
138.2 per 100,000
138.9 per 100,000
117.4 per 100,000

In comparison, 2015 homicides totaled 6,640 for a homicide rate of 104.2 per 100,000 with a higher population twenty years later.    Thus it is incorrect to state that 2015 was the bloodiest year for civilians since the end of the civil war.   It was just the bloodiest year of this century.

Another article in the same edition of ECA looked at the causes of the violence in the mid-1990s..    Although the data did not permit a tally of murders by cause, the factors included a culture of violence produced by the years of civil war, the abundance of weaponry in Salvadorans hands, death squads, and gang violence among other factors.


If you remember, however, the government has since changed how it measures the size of the population, thus increasing the divisor. The the rates are not completely comparable.