The capital city of San Salvador has about 2.1 million people; an estimated 42% of El Salvador's population live in rural areas. Urbanization expanded at a phenomenal rate in El Salvador since the 1960s, driving millions to the cities and creating growth problems for cities around the country.
In the first half of 2007 La Policía Nacional Civil of El Salvador statistics showed lower numbers in homicide and extortions as well as robbery and theft of vehicles. In 2007 homicides in El Salvador had reduced 22%, extortions reduced 7%, and robbery and theft of vehicles had gone down 18%, all in comparison with the same period in 2006. However in 2009, there has been an increase in homicides and extortions of about 30% more than in 2008 according to some statistics.
As of 2004, there were approximately 3.2 million Salvadorans living outside El Salvador, with the U.S. traditionally being the destination of choice for Salvadorans looking for greater economic opportunity. By 2009, there were about 1.6 million Salvadoran immigrants and Americans of Salvadoran descent in the United States. Salvadorans are the country's sixth largest immigrant group. Salvadorans also live in nearby Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. The majority of expatriates emigrated during the civil war of the 1980s for political reasons and later because of adverse economic and social conditions. Other countries with notable Salvadoran communities include Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom (including the Cayman Islands), Sweden, Brazil, Italy, Colombia, and Australia. There is also a large community of Nicaraguans, 100,000 according to some figures; many of them are seasonal immigrants.
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