The authors propose to estimate nonlinear small area population parameters by using the empirical Bayes (best) method, based on a nested error model. They focus on poverty indicators as particular nonlinear parameters of interest, but the proposed methodology is applicable to general nonlinear parameters. They use a parametric bootstrap method to estimate the mean squared error of the empirical best estimators. They also study small sample properties of these estimators by model-based and design-based simulation studies. Results show large reductions in mean squared error relative to direct area-specific estimators and other estimators obtained by "simulated" censuses. The authors also apply the proposed method to estimate poverty incidences and poverty gaps in Spanish provinces by gender with mean squared errors estimated by the mentioned parametric bootstrap method. For the Spanish data, results show a significant reduction in coefficient of variation of the proposed empirical best estimators over direct estimators for practically all domains.