Mexico (capital Mexico City) and neighboring states
Country Comparisons: chart
"Mexico has a free market economy in the trillion dollar class. It contains a mixture of modern and outmoded industry and agriculture, increasingly dominated by the private sector. Recent administrations have expanded competition in seaports, railroads, telecommunications, electricity generation, natural gas distribution, and airports. Per capita income is roughly one-third that of the US; income distribution remains highly unequal. Since the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994, Mexico's share of US imports has increased from 7% to 12%, and its share of Canadian imports has doubled to 5%. "
Roughly half of Mexico’s population works in the "underground" economy, leaving them without pensions. Discounts for these seniors, then, will be a matter of survival. But people older than sixty have access to discounts at supermarkets, pharmacies, restaurants and public transportation.
Labor force in agriculture
Official unemployment rate
1.511 million bbl per day (ranks 17th)
exports 99% of imports – slightly negative
Manufactured goods, oil and oil products, silver, fruits, vegetables, coffee, cotton.
Oil production and consumption:
Income Distribution – gini index
Ranks 19th among 140 countries (higher rank number is more equal, lower rank number is less equal). One of the least equal. Less equal than Britain, which ranks 94th, and the US, which ranks 45th.
2009: 13.8% of GDP
Military expenditures as percentage of GDP
2006: 0.5 %
Living in an urban area
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.
Felipe Calderón, chief of state and head of government (president) since December 1, 2006, National Action Party (center-right).
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.
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 © 2009-2011 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.