macrohistory & world report

United Mexican States

Map of Mexico

Mexico (capital Mexico City) and neighboring states

World Factbook as of October 2014: Mexico's $1.3 trillion economy has become increasingly oriented toward manufacturing in the 20 years since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) entered into force. Per capita income is roughly one-third that of the US; income distribution remains highly unequal. Mexico has become the United States' second-largest export market and third-largest source of imports... Mexico has free trade agreements with over 50 countries including Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, the European Free Trade Area, and Japan – putting more than 90% of trade under free trade agreements."

Economic growth
2013: 1.2%
2012: 3.6%
2011: 3.8%
2010: 5.4%
2009:minus 6.2%

Labor force in agriculture
2011: 13.4%

Official unemployment rate
2011: 5.1%
2010: 5.4%

Manufactured goods, oil and oil products, silver, fruits, vegetables, coffee, cotton.

Income Distribution – GINI index
Ranks 24th among 141 countries (lower rank number is less equal).

Health expenditures
2009: 13.8% of GDP

Military expenditures as percentage of GDP
2006: 0.5 %


Births / deaths
2014: 19.02 / 5.24

Population growth rate:
2014: 1.21%, 98th among 233 countries

urban population: 78.1% of total population (2011)
rate of urbanization: 1.49% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Living in an urban area
2010: 78%

Mexico City, Wikipedia, November 2014: "The 2009 estimated population for the city proper was around 8.84 million people, with a land area of 1,485 square kilometres (573 sq mi). According to the most recent definition agreed upon by the federal and state governments, the Greater Mexico City population is 21.2 million people, making it the largest metropolitan area in the western hemisphere, the tenth largest agglomeration, and the largest Spanish-speaking city in the world... {In Mexico there has been a significant upswing [in crime] within the last two decades led by Mexico City. [needed] Since many crimes go unreported, the rates may be much higher than reported by the government. Assault and theft make up the vast majority of crimes. While urban areas tend to have higher crimes rates, as is typical in most countries, the United States–Mexico border has also been a problem area. As of 2003, increased awareness and resources led to the crime rate along the border declining faster than in the rest of the country.

Life expectancy at birth:
2014: 75.43 years

Ethnic groups
mestizo (Amerindian-Spanish) 60%, Amerindian or predominantly Amerindian 30%, white 9%, other 1%

2000 census: Roman Catholic 76.5%, Protestant 5.2% (Pentecostal 1.4%, other 3.8%), Jehovah's Witnesses 1.1%, other 0.3%, unspecified 13.8%, none 3.1%

Net migration rate
2012: A net loss of 3.11 persons per 1,000 population per year
2011: A net loss of 3.24 persons per 1,000 population


South of the United States, north of Guatemala. Almost three times as large as Texas.


Presidents are elected by popular vote for a single six-year term. The National Congress is bicameral: the Senate has 128 seats with 96 members elected by popular vote to serve six-year terms, and 32 seats allocated on the basis of each party's popular vote; the Chamber of Deputies has 500 seats, with 300 members elected by popular vote and 200 members allocated on the basis of each party's popular vote, members serving three-year terms.

A federal republic, with 31 states and a federal district: Mexico City, the capital.

Recent History

In July 2000, an opposition political party defeated the party in power in an election for the first time since 1910. That party, now in power, is the National Action Party (PAN) – the more conservative party. The other is the Institutional Revolutionary Party, the (PRI), now making a comeback in wake of perceived failures by the government Vicente Fox.

2004: Mexico City and its surrounding sprawl is home to 22 million people. It has vast areas of poverty and desperate people. Nearly every family has recent crime victims. Police and prosecutors have a reputation for corruption. Polls indicate that two-thirds of the victims of a crime do not bother to report the crime against them to the authorities. The city has had brown air – the worst air pollution of any city, described as such in 1998. Since then efforts have been made to do something about it. 

August 1, 2010: Mexico may be a model of future trouble in the world. Mexico has advanced in aspects of its economy. In per capita GDP it ranks 82nd among 227 countries and more than twice that of Guatemala, its neighbor to the south. It ranks second among Latin American countries, just behind Argentina. But socially things are not working out.

Youth are no longer following the poor farmer fathers in working on a small plots of land. Instead they are living in urban areas without gainful employment. Urban poverty differs from rural poverty: in cities the problems of poverty are compounded by violence, drugs and family breakdown.

Mexico's upper and middle classes wall themselves off from the poor, to keep the wild ones from invading their neighborhood. And, in looking for something to belong to along with some income, the wild ones have been joining gangs involved in the drug trade.

A lot of responsible Mexicans interested in honest work are migrating in order to support their family. Mexico is among the countries with more leaving than arriving. Mexico's net migrant rate is minus 3.8 persons for every 1,000 citizens – a migration ranking that is 151st in the world. (Samoa ranks 176th with more leaving than arriving at a rate of 11.52 persons per 1,000 population.) Those leaving Mexico have been of help to Mexico; but, rather than describe this as a safety valve, one has to ask "safety from what?"

The middle class is investing a lot of its money abroad rather than in Mexico. Mexico suffered from the economic crisis of 2008-09 more than did the United States. Mexico's economy declined 7.1 percent in 2009 compared to a decline of 2.4 percent in the United States. In the first half of 2010 there was a recovery in exports of manufactured items. Mexico remains 8th in the world in oil production and 20th in oil exports, and that helps. But its exports are not enough to pay for its imports. Mexico has the 13th largest economy in the world if one does not consider the size of its population. It has had economic growth for a year, with a 7 percent growth rate for the quarter that included April, May and June.

But these figures cannot be taken as reassurance that bliss in Mexico is on its way. For decades, Mexico's governmental leaders have promised an economy that satisfies the needs of the Mexican people. But, with a growing population and without growing employment in legal activities that pay a living wage, the future for Mexico looks bleak.

Mexico 50 years ago was a happier place than it was 30 years ago, and 30 years ago it was a happier place than it is today. Today, Mexico is immersed in war: war between gangs and war between government forces and gangs. Without some kind of radical reversal of recent trends, including population growth, a peaceful, happy Mexico might never be. As in the United States, it takes a 3 percent growth in job creation just to keep up with population growth, and Mexico's population growth rate is now around 15 percent faster than that of the United States. Births for 2010 in Mexico are estimated by the World Factbook at 19.39 per 1,000 and deaths 4.83 per 1,000, despite the violence. How and when will these figures balance between each other and the capacity of Mexico's economic resources to provide adequately for the Mexican people?

Copyright © 2009-2013 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.