Despite the many changes the Spanish introduced, the way of life in the region remained
tied to agriculture and the lands. At first this farming was focused on foods that
allowed the indigenous people to survive, but this shifted with the arrival of the
Spanish when trade became more important. Agriculture shifted to focusing on indigo,
but today the crop of choice has again shifted, this time to coffee. This farming
lifestyle still dominates the culture today, but the exporting process and recent
technological changes have altered the culture rapidly in recent years. Being so
focused on exported goods, trading centers and cities have risen as urbanization
has occurred and job diversity and lifestyle differences have grown.
As the economy, lifestyle, and culture have changed so have the people. This has
been magnified with the division of the people in geographic terms as well. Technology
has also arrived, but is more accessible to some, vastly changing the lifestyle
and wealth of individuals, creating a widening social, economic, and political gap
among the people.
Today the people in El Salvador are divided by social class and where an individual
falls helps determine a person's way of life. The indigenous people, who tend
to be poor, generally live in rural areas and are often times agricultural workers
who have a lifestyle tied to the land as many ancient traditions persist. The middle
class of mestizos work in all areas, but feel suppressed by the rich, who generally
live in the cities and own much of the country's lands and industries, although
others work these lands.