For El Salvador and its neighbors, achieving the Millennium Development Goals to reduce poverty and improve the lives of its citizens may depend, in part, on the availability of family planning services to women who need them. A recent USAID publication made this point:
In El Salvador and other Latin American countries, one major factor contributing to the challenge [in meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)] is the continued rapid growth of the population. The number of people in need of health, education, economic, and other services is large and increasing, which, in turn, means that the amount of resources, personnel, and infrastructure required to meet the MDGs is also increasing. In light of this fact, development efforts in support of the MDGs should not overlook the importance and benefits of slowing population growth....
High rates of population growth are largely the result of frequent childbearing or high fertility—often corresponding with a large unmet need for family planning (FP). In El Salvador, women still have, on average, about 3 children each, and surveys show
that the unmet need for FP services is high (about 8.9 percent of married women of reproductive age want to space or limit births but are not currently using any method of family planning). If access to family planning services was increased, this unmet need could be met, therefore slowing population growth and reducing the costs of meeting the Millennium Development Goals.