Economic Overview & Demographics
According to the U.S. CIA: El Salvador is a struggling Central American economy, which has been suffering from a weak tax collection system, factory closings, the aftermaths of Hurricane Mitch of 1998 and the devastating earthquakes of early 2001, and weak world coffee prices.
On the bright side, in recent years inflation has fallen to single digit levels, and total exports have grown substantially. The trade deficit has been offset by remittances (an estimated $1.6 billion in 2000) from Salvadorans living abroad and by external aid. As of 1 January 2001, the US dollar was made legal tender alongside the colon.
According to the United Nations Statistics Division, there are roughly 6.1 million people living in El Salvador, with the population growing at roughly 2.04% per year. There is a significantly higher percentage of the population under the age of 15 when compared to the United States. This suggests an area of potential need for pediatric-related services.
On average, every woman in El Salvador will give birth to 3.17 children, compared to a fertility rate of 1.99 per women in the U.S.
Life expectancy at birth for both men and women in El Salvador is much lower than their counterparts in the United States. Men in El Salvador will live 6.9 years less then men in the U.S., and women in El Salvador will live 7.6 years less than women in the U.S.
The urban versus rural population distribution in El Salvador is much different than here in the U.S. This more rural composition sets a significantly different social and economic landscape than what we are accustomed to here at home. Roughly 55% of El Salvadoran live in rural areas, compared to 24% in the U.S.
The population in El Salvador is growing significantly faster than the U.S. in both urban and rural settings. The rural population in El Salvador is growing at 1.45% per year compared to a declining rural population in the U.S.