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Mexico-Social Spending Social Indicators





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Mexico Index

Analysts have offered widely varied assessments of the magnitude of poverty in Mexico. The United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean estimated in 1989 that 39 percent of all Mexican households were in poverty, including 14 percent in extreme poverty (indigence). The National Solidarity Program (Programa Nacional de Solidaridad--Pronasol) reported that 51 percent of the population in 1987 fell below the poverty line, of which 21 percent were extremely poor. Mexican author Julieta Campos asserted that approximately 60 percent of all Mexicans in 1988 were poor, including 25 percent indigent.

Despite these numerical differences, analysts generally agree on basic trends and characteristics. First, poverty levels declined in the 1960s and 1970s but escalated in the wake of the economic crisis that began in 1982 and continued for most of that decade. For example, Pronasol estimated that poverty levels declined from 76 percent in 1960 to 54 percent in 1977 and to 45 percent in 1981 before substantially increasing over the next six years. Second, indigence has its roots in the rampant economic problems of the countryside. Economist Santiago Levy estimated that approximately three-quarters of all rural residents in the late 1980s were extremely poor. In addition, the urban poor often have migrated from the countryside in search of opportunities for themselves and their families. Third, the indigent often suffer from nutritional deficiencies and other health maladies that contribute to lower life expectancy than the population as a whole. Finally, those in extreme poverty have larger families; children are expected to work to help support the household.

Mexican governments over the years have introduced numerous antipoverty initiatives, with varying degrees of success. In 1977 the López Portillo administration established the General Coordination of the National Plan for Depressed Zones and Marginal Groups (Coordinación General del Plan Nacional de Zonas Deprimidas y Grupos Marginales--Coplamar). An umbrella organization, Coplamar developed linkages with numerous existing government agencies for improvements in health care, education, and other basic infrastructure. For example, approximately 2,000 rural health clinics were built under the auspices of IMSS-Coplamar. The National Company of Popular Subsistence (Compañía Nacional de Subsistencias Populares--Conasupo)-Coplamar established thousands of stores that sold basic products to low-income families at subsidized prices. Although many of its programs were reduced or eliminated after 1982, Coplamar contributed to a noteworthy, although temporary, reduction in poverty.

In his November 1993 State of the Nation address, President Salinas announced that government spending on social projects had risen 85 percent in real terms between 1989 and 1993. Spending for education rose 90 percent; for health, 79 percent; and for environment, urban development, and distribution of drinking water, 65 percent. Much of that social spending was channeled through Pronasol, an umbrella organization established by Salinas in December 1988 to promote improved health, education, nutrition, housing, employment, infrastructure, and other productive projects to benefit those living in extreme poverty.

Salinas claimed that Pronasol marked a departure from previous policies of broad subsidies, high levels of unfocused government spending, and heavy state intervention in the economy. According to Denise Dresser, it advanced President Salinas's goal of adapting the state's traditional social role to the straitened economic conditions of the late 1980s and early 1990s by replacing general subsidies with strategic, targeted intervention. Salinas designed Pronasol to achieve the dual objectives of making social spending more cost-effective and fostering greater community involvement and initiative in local development projects. The main themes of Pronasol included grassroots participation and minimum bureaucracy (both of which are essential for project success) and the promise of immediate results. The federal government provided financing and raw materials for improving basic community services, although community members were required to conceive the projects and perform the work.

Approximately 250,000 grassroots Pronasol committees designed projects in collaboration with government staff to address community needs. They mobilized and organized community members, evaluated proposed public works, and supervised implementation. The government disbursed funds to the committees to finance the public works projects or to complement regional development programs, which fell within three strategic areas: social services, production, and regional development. Committees obtained matching funds from state and municipal governments in order to qualify for Pronasol funds. This match served to multiply the economic scale and the potential positive impact of the program.

Pronasol's social service aspect, Solidarity for Social Well-being (Solidaridad para el Bienestar Social), contained a wide range of programs that included education, health care, water, sewerage, and electrification projects; urbanization improvements; and low-income housing. Over a six-year span, Pronasol created some 80,000 new classrooms and workshops and renovated 120,000 schools; awarded scholarships to keep nearly 1.2 million indigent children in primary schools; established more than 300 hospitals, 4,000 health centers, and some 1,000 rural medical units; provided piped water access for approximately 16 million people; and provided materials to repair or reinforce 500,000 low-income homes and build nearly 200,000 new homes. Solidarity for Production (Solidaridad para la Producción) provided loans to approximately 1 million peasants who did not qualify for government or private credits, established 2,000 low-income credit unions, and supported some 250,000 low-income coffee producers (80 percent of them Indians) and nearly 400,000 agricultural day laborers (jornaleros ). Solidarity for Regional Development (Solidaridad para el Desarrollo Regional) funded the construction or renovation of 200,000 kilometers of roads and more than 100,000 municipal improvement projects.

Despite these achievements, critics contended that Pronasol was merely a politicized repackaging of traditional welfare and public works projects that ameliorated but did not address the root causes of poverty in Mexico. In the view of these critics, Pronasol's raison d'être was to enable Salinas and his supporters to build new political linkages with autonomous low-income interest groups, thereby revitalizing the Institutional Revolutionary Party (Partido Revolucionario Institucional--PRI) for future elections. Despite Pronasol's stated purpose, critics also maintained that resources often did not reach those in extreme poverty. In 1995 President Ernesto Zedillo restructured Pronasol as the Alliance for Well-being (Alianca para el Bienestar), strengthening the resource allocation roles of states and municipalities and reducing those of the presidency.

Data as of June 1996

In the early 1990s, Mexico reported substantial improvement in overall living conditions compared with the previous twenty years. The 1990 census demonstrated expanded access to basic public services such as running water and indoor plumbing. It also revealed, however, that Mexicans had not shared equally in these improvements, with southern Mexico consistently lagging behind the rest of the nation in quality-of-life indicators. In addition, rural living conditions countrywide paled in comparison to those found in urban areas.

According to the 1990 census, 79.4 percent of all Mexican households had access to running water, a notable improvement from the 61 percent and 70.3 percent rates recorded in 1970 and 1980, respectively. Significantly, however, access to running water did not necessarily mean indoor plumbing. Indeed, a household whose residents obtained water from a piped system elsewhere on the property or from a public faucet were considered to have access to running water. In addition, the census did not measure the quality or quantity of piped water. Many lower-class communities had access only to untreated running water, and even that for only a portion of each day.

Even using the broad definition of access to running water, wide variations emerged. Four states in southern Mexico--Chiapas, Oaxaca, Guerrero, and Tabasco--reported access levels below the 1970 national average. Access to running water was especially low in rural communities. Only 48.1 percent of all communal farming communities or ejidos (see Glossary) nationwide reported access in 1988, with levels below 30 percent for ejidos in Veracruz and Yucatán, and below 40 percent for ejidos in Chiapas, San Luis Potosí, Tabasco, and Tamaulipas (see Rural Society, this ch.).

Similar variations also were evident in a number of other social indicators. Nationally, 63.6 percent of all households had indoor plumbing in 1990, as compared with 41.4 percent and 50.7 percent in 1970 and 1980, respectively. However, indoor plumbing rates ranged from more than 90 percent in Mexico City to less than 40 percent in Oaxaca and Chiapas. National household access to electricity climbed from 58.9 percent in 1970 to 74.4 percent in 1980 and to 87.5 percent in 1990. Yet although Aguascalientes, Nuevo León, and Mexico City reported rates exceeding 95 percent in 1990, less than 70 percent of all Chiapas households had electricity. Only 68.3 percent of all ejido communities had electricity in 1988, with rates below 60 percent for ejidos in Chiapas, San Luis Potosí, Veracruz, and Yucatán, and below 50 percent for ejidos in Chihuahua.

Finally, 19.5 percent of all households had dirt flooring in 1990, a notable improvement from the 41.1 percent average in 1970 and the 25.8 percent average in 1980. Again, however, jurisdictions reported enormous disparities. Although Mexico City and five northern states--Aguascalientes, Baja California, Coahuila, Chihuahua, and Nuevo León--had levels below 10 percent, more than 40 percent of all households in the southern states of Chiapas and Guerrero and more than 50 percent of all households in Oaxaca had dirt floors.

Social Spending

Analysts have offered widely varied assessments of the magnitude of poverty in Mexico. The United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean estimated in 1989 that 39 percent of all Mexican households were in poverty, including 14 percent in extreme poverty (indigence). The National Solidarity Program (Programa Nacional de Solidaridad--Pronasol) reported that 51 percent of the population in 1987 fell below the poverty line, of which 21 percent were extremely poor. Mexican author Julieta Campos asserted that approximately 60 percent of all Mexicans in 1988 were poor, including 25 percent indigent.

Despite these numerical differences, analysts generally agree on basic trends and characteristics. First, poverty levels declined in the 1960s and 1970s but escalated in the wake of the economic crisis that began in 1982 and continued for most of that decade. For example, Pronasol estimated that poverty levels declined from 76 percent in 1960 to 54 percent in 1977 and to 45 percent in 1981 before substantially increasing over the next six years. Second, indigence has its roots in the rampant economic problems of the countryside. Economist Santiago Levy estimated that approximately three-quarters of all rural residents in the late 1980s were extremely poor. In addition, the urban poor often have migrated from the countryside in search of opportunities for themselves and their families. Third, the indigent often suffer from nutritional deficiencies and other health maladies that contribute to lower life expectancy than the population as a whole. Finally, those in extreme poverty have larger families; children are expected to work to help support the household.

Mexican governments over the years have introduced numerous antipoverty initiatives, with varying degrees of success. In 1977 the López Portillo administration established the General Coordination of the National Plan for Depressed Zones and Marginal Groups (Coordinación General del Plan Nacional de Zonas Deprimidas y Grupos Marginales--Coplamar). An umbrella organization, Coplamar developed linkages with numerous existing government agencies for improvements in health care, education, and other basic infrastructure. For example, approximately 2,000 rural health clinics were built under the auspices of IMSS-Coplamar. The National Company of Popular Subsistence (Compañía Nacional de Subsistencias Populares--Conasupo)-Coplamar established thousands of stores that sold basic products to low-income families at subsidized prices. Although many of its programs were reduced or eliminated after 1982, Coplamar contributed to a noteworthy, although temporary, reduction in poverty.

In his November 1993 State of the Nation address, President Salinas announced that government spending on social projects had risen 85 percent in real terms between 1989 and 1993. Spending for education rose 90 percent; for health, 79 percent; and for environment, urban development, and distribution of drinking water, 65 percent. Much of that social spending was channeled through Pronasol, an umbrella organization established by Salinas in December 1988 to promote improved health, education, nutrition, housing, employment, infrastructure, and other productive projects to benefit those living in extreme poverty.

Salinas claimed that Pronasol marked a departure from previous policies of broad subsidies, high levels of unfocused government spending, and heavy state intervention in the economy. According to Denise Dresser, it advanced President Salinas's goal of adapting the state's traditional social role to the straitened economic conditions of the late 1980s and early 1990s by replacing general subsidies with strategic, targeted intervention. Salinas designed Pronasol to achieve the dual objectives of making social spending more cost-effective and fostering greater community involvement and initiative in local development projects. The main themes of Pronasol included grassroots participation and minimum bureaucracy (both of which are essential for project success) and the promise of immediate results. The federal government provided financing and raw materials for improving basic community services, although community members were required to conceive the projects and perform the work.

Approximately 250,000 grassroots Pronasol committees designed projects in collaboration with government staff to address community needs. They mobilized and organized community members, evaluated proposed public works, and supervised implementation. The government disbursed funds to the committees to finance the public works projects or to complement regional development programs, which fell within three strategic areas: social services, production, and regional development. Committees obtained matching funds from state and municipal governments in order to qualify for Pronasol funds. This match served to multiply the economic scale and the potential positive impact of the program.

Pronasol's social service aspect, Solidarity for Social Well-being (Solidaridad para el Bienestar Social), contained a wide range of programs that included education, health care, water, sewerage, and electrification projects; urbanization improvements; and low-income housing. Over a six-year span, Pronasol created some 80,000 new classrooms and workshops and renovated 120,000 schools; awarded scholarships to keep nearly 1.2 million indigent children in primary schools; established more than 300 hospitals, 4,000 health centers, and some 1,000 rural medical units; provided piped water access for approximately 16 million people; and provided materials to repair or reinforce 500,000 low-income homes and build nearly 200,000 new homes. Solidarity for Production (Solidaridad para la Producción) provided loans to approximately 1 million peasants who did not qualify for government or private credits, established 2,000 low-income credit unions, and supported some 250,000 low-income coffee producers (80 percent of them Indians) and nearly 400,000 agricultural day laborers (jornaleros ). Solidarity for Regional Development (Solidaridad para el Desarrollo Regional) funded the construction or renovation of 200,000 kilometers of roads and more than 100,000 municipal improvement projects.

Despite these achievements, critics contended that Pronasol was merely a politicized repackaging of traditional welfare and public works projects that ameliorated but did not address the root causes of poverty in Mexico. In the view of these critics, Pronasol's raison d'être was to enable Salinas and his supporters to build new political linkages with autonomous low-income interest groups, thereby revitalizing the Institutional Revolutionary Party (Partido Revolucionario Institucional--PRI) for future elections. Despite Pronasol's stated purpose, critics also maintained that resources often did not reach those in extreme poverty. In 1995 President Ernesto Zedillo restructured Pronasol as the Alliance for Well-being (Alianca para el Bienestar), strengthening the resource allocation roles of states and municipalities and reducing those of the presidency.

Data as of June 1996



BackgroundThe site of advanced Amerindian civilizations, Mexico came under Spanish rule for three centuries before achieving independence early in the 19th century. A devaluation of the peso in late 1994 threw Mexico into economic turmoil, triggering the worst recession in over half a century. The nation had been making an impressive recovery until the global financial crisis hit in late 2008. Ongoing economic and social concerns include low real wages, underemployment for a large segment of the population, inequitable income distribution, and few advancement opportunities for the largely Amerindian population in the impoverished southern states. The elections held in 2000 marked the first time since the 1910 Mexican Revolution that an opposition candidate - Vicente FOX of the National Action Party (PAN) - defeated the party in government, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). He was succeeded in 2006 by another PAN candidate Felipe CALDERON. In January 2009, Mexico assumed a nonpermanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2009-10 term.
LocationMiddle America, bordering the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, between Belize and the United States and bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between Guatemala and the United States
Area(sq km)total: 1,964,375 sq km
land: 1,943,945 sq km
water: 20,430 sq km
Geographic coordinates23 00 N, 102 00 W
Land boundaries(km)total: 4,353 km
border countries: Belize 250 km, Guatemala 962 km, US 3,141 km

Coastline(km)9,330 km

Climatevaries from tropical to desert

Elevation extremes(m)lowest point: Laguna Salada -10 m
highest point: Volcan Pico de Orizaba 5,700 m
Natural resourcespetroleum, silver, copper, gold, lead, zinc, natural gas, timber
Land use(%)arable land: 12.66%
permanent crops: 1.28%
other: 86.06% (2005)

Irrigated land(sq km)63,200 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources(cu km)457.2 cu km (2000)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)total: 78.22 cu km/yr (17%/5%/77%)
per capita: 731 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazardstsunamis along the Pacific coast, volcanoes and destructive earthquakes in the center and south, and hurricanes on the Pacific, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean coasts
Environment - current issuesscarcity of hazardous waste disposal facilities; rural to urban migration; natural fresh water resources scarce and polluted in north, inaccessible and poor quality in center and extreme southeast; raw sewage and industrial effluents polluting rivers in urban areas; deforestation; widespread erosion; desertification; deteriorating agricultural lands; serious air and water pollution in the national capital and urban centers along US-Mexico border; land subsidence in Valley of Mexico caused by groundwater depletion
note: the government considers the lack of clean water and deforestation national security issues
Environment - international agreementsparty to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - notestrategic location on southern border of US; corn (maize), one of the world's major grain crops, is thought to have originated in Mexico
Population111,211,789 (July 2009 est.)
Age structure(%)0-14 years: 29.1% (male 16,544,223/female 15,861,141)
15-64 years: 64.6% (male 34,734,571/female 37,129,793)
65 years and over: 6.2% (male 3,130,518/female 3,811,543) (2009 est.)
Median age(years)total: 26.3 years
male: 25.3 years
female: 27.3 years (2009 est.)
Population growth rate(%)1.13% (2009 est.)
Birth rate(births/1,000 population)19.71 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Death rate(deaths/1,000 population)4.8 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)

Net migration rate(migrant(s)/1,000 population)-3.61 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Urbanization(%)urban population: 77% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 1.5% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
Sex ratio(male(s)/female)at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.94 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.82 male(s)/female
total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
Infant mortality rate(deaths/1,000 live births)total: 18.42 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 20.3 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 16.44 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)

Life expectancy at birth(years)total population: 76.06 years
male: 73.25 years
female: 79 years (2009 est.)

Total fertility rate(children born/woman)2.34 children born/woman (2009 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Mexican(s)
adjective: Mexican
Ethnic groups(%)mestizo (Amerindian-Spanish) 60%, Amerindian or predominantly Amerindian 30%, white 9%, other 1%

Religions(%)Roman Catholic 76.5%, Protestant 6.3% (Pentecostal 1.4%, Jehovah's Witnesses 1.1%, other 3.8%), other 0.3%, unspecified 13.8%, none 3.1% (2000 census)
Languages(%)Spanish only 92.7%, Spanish and indigenous languages 5.7%, indigenous only 0.8%, unspecified 0.8%; note - indigenous languages include various Mayan, Nahuatl, and other regional languages (2005)

Country nameconventional long form: United Mexican States
conventional short form: Mexico
local long form: Estados Unidos Mexicanos
local short form: Mexico
Government typefederal republic
Capitalname: Mexico City (Distrito Federal)
geographic coordinates: 19 26 N, 99 08 W
time difference: UTC-6 (1 hour behind Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins first Sunday in April; ends last Sunday in October
note: Mexico is divided into three time zones
Administrative divisions31 states (estados, singular - estado) and 1 federal district* (distrito federal); Aguascalientes, Baja California, Baja California Sur, Campeche, Chiapas, Chihuahua, Coahuila de Zaragoza, Colima, Distrito Federal*, Durango, Guanajuato, Guerrero, Hidalgo, Jalisco, Mexico, Michoacan de Ocampo, Morelos, Nayarit, Nuevo Leon, Oaxaca, Puebla, Queretaro de Arteaga, Quintana Roo, San Luis Potosi, Sinaloa, Sonora, Tabasco, Tamaulipas, Tlaxcala, Veracruz-Llave, Yucatan, Zacatecas
Constitution5-Feb-17

Legal systemmixture of US constitutional theory and civil law system; judicial review of legislative acts; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations

Suffrage18 years of age; universal and compulsory (but not enforced)
Executive branchchief of state: President Felipe de Jesus CALDERON Hinojosa (since 1 December 2006); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Felipe de Jesus CALDERON Hinojosa (since 1 December 2006)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president; note - appointment of attorney general requires consent of the Senate
elections: president elected by popular vote for a single six-year term; election last held on 2 July 2006 (next to be held 1 July 2012)
election results: Felipe CALDERON elected president; percent of vote - Felipe CALDERON 35.89%, Andres Manuel LOPEZ OBRADOR 35.31%, Roberto MADRAZO 22.26%, other 6.54%

Legislative branchbicameral National Congress or Congreso de la Union consists of the Senate or Camara de Senadores (128 seats; 96 members are elected by popular vote to serve six-year terms, and 32 seats are allocated on the basis of each party's popular vote) and the Chamber of Deputies or Camara de Diputados (500 seats; 300 members are elected by popular vote; remaining 200 members are allocated on the basis of each party's popular vote; to serve three-year terms)
elections: Senate - last held 2 July 2006 for all of the seats (next to be held 1 July 2012); Chamber of Deputies - last held 5 July 2009 (next to be held 1 July 2012)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PAN 52, PRI 33, PRD 26, PVEM 6, CD 5, PT 5, independent 1; Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PRI 237, PAN 143, PRD 72, PVEM 21, PT 13, CD 6, other 8

Judicial branchSupreme Court of Justice or Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nacion (justices or ministros are appointed by the president with consent of the Senate)

Political pressure groups and leadersBroad Progressive Front or FAP; Businessmen's Coordinating Council or CCE; Confederation of Employers of the Mexican Republic or COPARMEX; Confederation of Industrial Chambers or CONCAMIN; Confederation of Mexican Workers or CTM; Confederation of National Chambers of Commerce or CONCANACO; Coordinator for Foreign Trade Business Organizations or COECE; Federation of Unions Providing Goods and Services or FESEBES; National Chamber of Transformation Industries or CANACINTRA; National Peasant Confederation or CNC; National Small Business Chamber or CANACOPE; National Syndicate of Education Workers or SNTE; National Union of Workers or UNT; Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca or APPO; Roman Catholic Church
International organization participationAPEC, BCIE, BIS, CAN (observer), Caricom (observer), CDB, CE (observer), CSN (observer), EBRD, FAO, G-20, G-3, G-15, G-24, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, LAES, LAIA, MIGA, NAFTA, NAM (observer), NEA, OAS, OECD, OPANAL, OPCW, Paris Club (associate), PCA, RG, SICA (observer), UN, UN Security Council (temporary), UNASUR (observer), UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Flag descriptionthree equal vertical bands of green (hoist side), white, and red; the coat of arms (an eagle with a snake in its beak perched on a cactus) is centered in the white band

Economy - overviewMexico 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. Trade with the US and Canada has nearly tripled since the implementation of NAFTA in 1994. Mexico has 12 free trade agreements with over 40 countries including, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, the European Free Trade Area, and Japan, putting more than 90% of trade under free trade agreements. In 2007, during its first year in office, the Felipe CALDERON administration was able to garner support from the opposition to successfully pass a pension and a fiscal reform. The administration continues to face many economic challenges including the need to upgrade infrastructure, modernize labor laws, and allow private investment in the energy sector. CALDERON has stated that his top economic priorities remain reducing poverty and creating jobs.
GDP (purchasing power parity)$1.567 trillion (2008 est.)
$1.547 trillion (2007 est.)
$1.498 trillion (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
GDP (official exchange rate)$1.088 trillion (2008 est.)
GDP - real growth rate(%)1.3% (2008 est.)
3.3% (2007 est.)
5.1% (2006 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$14,300 (2008 est.)
$14,200 (2007 est.)
$13,900 (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
GDP - composition by sector(%)agriculture: 3.8%
industry: 35.2%
services: 61% (2008 est.)
Labor force45.32 million (2008 est.)

Labor force - by occupation(%)agriculture: 15.1%
industry: 25.7%
services: 59% (2005)
Unemployment rate(%)4% (2008 est.)
3.7% (2007 est.)
note: underemployment is perhaps 25%
Population below poverty line(%)13.8% using food-based definition of poverty; asset based poverty amounted to more than 40% (2006)
Household income or consumption by percentage share(%)lowest 10%: 1.8%
highest 10%: 37.9% (2006)
Distribution of family income - Gini index47.9 (2006)
53.1 (1998)
Investment (gross fixed)(% of GDP)22.1% of GDP (2008 est.)
Budgetrevenues: $257.1 billion
expenditures: $258.1 billion (2008 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)(%)5.1% (2008 est.)
4% (2007 est.)

Stock of money$92.34 billion (31 December 2008)
$103.5 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of quasi money$147.4 billion (31 December 2008)
$168.4 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of domestic credit$287 billion (31 December 2008)
$349.1 billion (31 December 2007)
Market value of publicly traded shares$232.6 billion (31 December 2008)
$397.7 billion (31 December 2007)
$348.3 billion (31 December 2006)
Economic aid - recipient$189.4 million (2005)

Public debt(% of GDP)35.8% of GDP (2008 est.)
23.5% of GDP (2004 est.)
Agriculture - productscorn, wheat, soybeans, rice, beans, cotton, coffee, fruit, tomatoes; beef, poultry, dairy products; wood products
Industriesfood and beverages, tobacco, chemicals, iron and steel, petroleum, mining, textiles, clothing, motor vehicles, consumer durables, tourism

Industrial production growth rate(%)-0.7% (2008 est.)

Current account balance-$15.81 billion (2008 est.)
-$8.331 billion (2007 est.)
Exports$291.3 billion (2008 est.)
$271.9 billion (2007 est.)

Exports - commodities(%)manufactured goods, oil and oil products, silver, fruits, vegetables, coffee, cotton
Exports - partners(%)US 80.2%, Canada 2.4%, Germany 1.7% (2008)
Imports$308.6 billion (2008 est.)
$281.9 billion (2007 est.)

Imports - commodities(%)metalworking machines, steel mill products, agricultural machinery, electrical equipment, car parts for assembly, repair parts for motor vehicles, aircraft, and aircraft parts
Imports - partners(%)US 49%, China 11.2%, Japan 5.3%, South Korea 4.4%, Germany 4.1% (2008)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$95.3 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
$87.19 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Debt - external$200.4 billion (31 December 2008)
$193.1 billion (31 December 2007)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home$289.8 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
$267.8 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad$45.39 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
$44.7 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Exchange ratesMexican pesos (MXN) per US dollar - 11.016 (2008 est.), 10.8 (2007), 10.899 (2006), 10.898 (2005), 11.286 (2004)

Currency (code)Mexican peso (MXN)

Telephones - main lines in use20.539 million (2008)
Telephones - mobile cellular75.304 million (2008)
Telephone systemgeneral assessment: adequate telephone service for business and government, but the population is poorly served; mobile subscribers far outnumber fixed-line subscribers; domestic satellite system with 120 earth stations; extensive microwave radio relay network; considerable use of fiber-optic cable and coaxial cable
domestic: low telephone density with about 19 fixed lines per 100 persons; privatized in December 1990; despite the opening to competition in January 1997, Telmex remains dominant; legal challenges to Telmex's alleged anti-competitive behavior in the mobile and fixed-line markets culminated in a World Trade Organization ruling in 2004 against Mexico prompting some strengthening of the powers granted Mexico's telecom regulator; mobile cellular teledensity approaching 70 per 100 persons
international: country code - 52; Columbus-2 fiber-optic submarine cable with access to the US, Virgin Islands, Canary Islands, Spain, and Italy; the Americas Region Caribbean Ring System (ARCOS-1) and the MAYA-1 submarine cable system together provide access to Central America, parts of South America and the Caribbean, and the US; satellite earth stations - 120 (32 Intelsat, 2 Solidaridad (giving Mexico improved access to South America, Central America, and much of the US as well as enhancing domestic communications), 1 Panamsat, numerous Inmarsat mobile earth stations); linked to Central American Microwave System of trunk connections (2008)
Internet country code.mx
Internet users23.26 million (2008)
Airports1,744 (2009)
Pipelines(km)gas 22,705 km; liquid petroleum gas 1,875 km; oil 8,688 km; oil/gas/water 228 km; refined products 6,520 km (2006)
Roadways(km)total: 356,945 km
paved: 178,473 km (includes 6,279 km of expressways)
unpaved: 178,472 km (2006)

Ports and terminalsAltamira, Coatzacoalcos, Manzanillo, Morro Redondo, Salina Cruz, Tampico, Veracruz
Military branchesSecretariat of National Defense (Secretaria de Defensa Nacional, Sedena): Army (Ejercito, includes Mexican Air Force (Fuerza Aerea Mexicana, FAM)); Secretariat of the Navy (Secretaria de Marina, Semar): Mexican Navy (Armada de Mexico, ARM, includes Naval Air Force (FAN) and naval infantry) (2009)
Military service age and obligation(years of age)18 years of age for compulsory military service, conscript service obligation - 12 months; 16 years of age with consent for voluntary enlistment; conscripts serve only in the Army; Navy and Air Force service is all voluntary; women are eligible for voluntary military service (2007)
Manpower available for military servicemales age 16-49: 27,774,688
females age 16-49: 29,376,791 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military servicemales age 16-49: 22,541,654
females age 16-49: 25,149,027 (2009 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annuallymale: 1,109,981
female: 1,072,094 (2009 est.)
Military expenditures(% of GDP)0.5% of GDP (2006 est.)
Disputes - internationalabundant rainfall in recent years along much of the Mexico-US border region has ameliorated periodically strained water-sharing arrangements; the US has intensified security measures to monitor and control legal and illegal personnel, transport, and commodities across its border with Mexico; Mexico must deal with thousands of impoverished Guatemalans and other Central Americans who cross the porous border looking for work in Mexico and the United States

Refugees and internally displaced personsIDPs: 5,500-10,000 (government's quashing of Zapatista uprising in 1994 in eastern Chiapas Region) (2007)
Electricity - production(kWh)245 billion kWh (2008 est.)
Electricity - production by source(%)fossil fuel: 78.7%
hydro: 14.2%
nuclear: 4.2%
other: 2.9% (2001)
Electricity - consumption(kWh)200.9 billion kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - exports(kWh)1.288 billion kWh (2008 est.)
Electricity - imports(kWh)584 million kWh (2008 est.)
Oil - production(bbl/day)3.186 million bbl/day (2008 est.)
Oil - consumption(bbl/day)2.128 million bbl/day (2008 est.)
Oil - exports(bbl/day)1.986 million bbl/day (2008 est.)
Oil - imports(bbl/day)479,600 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Oil - proved reserves(bbl)10.5 billion bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
Natural gas - production(cu m)52.15 billion cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - consumption(cu m)66.88 billion cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - exports(cu m)1.136 billion cu m (2008)
Natural gas - proved reserves(cu m)372.7 billion cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate(%)0.3% (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS200,000 (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths11,000 (2007 est.)
Major infectious diseasesdegree of risk: intermediate
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne disease: dengue fever
water contact disease: leptospirosis (2009)
Literacy(%)definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 91%
male: 92.4%
female: 89.6% (2004 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)(years)total: 13 years
male: 14 years
female: 13 years (2006)
Education expenditures(% of GDP)5.5% of GDP (2005)








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