By the late 1990s, El Salvador was financially stable and had recovered from the economic crisis of the 1980s. However, there are many challenges to be met in the future. For example, for the vast majority of rural residents, unemployment, under-employment, and extremely low wages combine to keep the standard of living low and the quality of life barely tolerable. The educational system has emphasized elementary and secondary education in urban areas. Even the ministers of education have recognized the inequality between rural and urban education, but none have succeeded in bringing rural education up to the urban level. The earthquakes of January 13 and February 13, 2001 destroyed many rural schools. It is imperative that the government builds more schools and improves the lack of adequate facilities, equipment, and personnel in rural areas. According to the Opicina de Referencia de Población (PRB), the population in El Salvador is estimated to reach twelve million by the year 2030. The departments with the most population are: San Salvador with 2,240 people per square kilometer, La Libertad with 413 people per square kilometer, and Sonsonate with 367 people per square kilometer; compared with 97 people per square kilometer in Chalatenango. El Salvador needs to create a politically aware population in order to reorganize. High levels of poverty, agricultural stagnation, environmental damage, and increasing social crime and violence are all issues that the country urgently needs to confront.
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—Marta A. Umanzor
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