The site of several advanced Amerindian civilizations – including the Olmec, Toltec, Teotihuacan, Zapotec, Maya, and Aztec – Mexico was conquered and colonized by Spain in the early 16th century. Administered as the Viceroyalty of New Spain for three centuries, it achieved its independence early in the 19th century. The global financial crisis beginning in late 2008 caused a massive economic downturn the following year, although growth returned quickly in 2010. Ongoing economic and social concerns include real¬†low wages, underemployment for a large segment of the population, inequitable income distribution, and few advancement opportunities for the largely indigenous 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, but Enrique PENA NIETO regained the presidency for the PRI in 2012. Since 2007, Mexico’s powerful drug-trafficking organizations have engaged in bloody feuding, resulting in tens of thousands of drug-related homicides.


North 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

Geographic coordinates:
23 00 N, 102 00 W

Map references:
North America

total: 1,964,375 sq km
country comparison to the world: 14
land: 1,943,945 sq km
water: 20,430 sq km

Land boundaries:
total: 4,353 km
border countries: Belize 250 km, Guatemala 962 km, US 3,141 km

9,330 km

Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin

varies from tropical to desert

high, rugged mountains; low coastal plains; high plateaus; desert

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Laguna Salada -10 m
highest point: Volcan Pico de Orizaba 5,700 m

Natural resources:
petroleum, silver, copper, gold, lead, zinc, natural gas, timber

Land use:
arable land: 12.98%
permanent crops: 1.36%
other: 85.66% (2011)

Irrigated land:
64,600 sq km (2009)

Total renewable water resources:
457.2 cu km (2011)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 80.4 cu km/yr (14%/9%/77%)
per capita: 700.4 cu m/yr (2009)

Natural hazards:
tsunamis along the Pacific coast, volcanoes and destructive earthquakes in the center and south, and hurricanes on the Pacific, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean coasts
volcanism: volcanic activity in the central-southern part of the country; the volcanoes in Baja California are mostly dormant; Colima (elev. 3,850 m), which erupted in 2010, is Mexico’s most active volcano and is responsible for causing periodic evacuations of nearby villagers; it has been deemed a Decade Volcano by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth’s Interior, worthy of study due to its explosive history and close proximity to human populations; Popocatepetl (elev. 5,426 m) poses a threat to Mexico City; other historically active volcanoes include Barcena, Ceboruco, El Chichon, Michoacan-Guanajuato, Pico de Orizaba, San Martin, Socorro, and Tacana

Environment – current issues:
scarcity of hazardous waste disposal facilities; rural to urban migration; natural freshwater 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 agreements:
party 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 – note:
strategic location on southern border of US; corn (maize), one of the world’s major grain crops, is thought to have originated in Mexico


noun: Mexican(s)
adjective: Mexican

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

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)

Roman Catholic 82.7%, Pentecostal 1.6%, Jehovah’s Witnesses 1.4%, other Evangelical Churches 5%, other 1.9%, none 4.7%, unspecified 2.7% (2010 est.)

120,286,655 (July 2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 12

Age structure:
0-14 years: 27.9% (male 17,188,577/female 16,423,421)
15-24 years: 18.1% (male 10,999,445/female 10,741,999)
25-54 years: 40.4% (male 23,385,321/female 25,200,511)
55-64 years: 7% (male 3,850,792/female 4,527,074)
65 years and over: 6.9% (male 3,594,675/female 4,374,840) (2014 est.)
population pyramid:

Dependency ratios:
total dependency ratio: 52.7 %
youth dependency ratio: 42.7 %
elderly dependency ratio: 10.1 %
potential support ratio: 9.9 (2014 est.)

Median age:
total: 27.3 years
male: 26.3 years
female: 28.4 years (2014 est.)

Population growth rate:
1.21% (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 98

Birth rate:
19.02 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 91

Death rate:
5.24 deaths/1,000 population (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 182

Net migration rate:
-1.64 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 158

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

Major urban areas – population:
MEXICO CITY (capital) 20.446 million; Guadalajara 4.525 million; Monterrey 4.213 million; Puebla 2.335 million; Tijuana 1.82 million; Toluca de Lerdo 1.748 million (2011)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.93 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.81 male(s)/female
total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2014 est.)

Mother’s mean age at first birth:
note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2006 est.)

Maternal mortality rate:
50 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)
country comparison to the world: 108

Infant mortality rate:
total: 12.58 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 123
male: 14 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 11.08 deaths/1,000 live births (2014 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 75.43 years
country comparison to the world: 94
male: 72.67 years
female: 78.32 years (2014 est.)

Total fertility rate:
2.29 children born/woman (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 95

Contraceptive prevalence rate:
70.9% (2006)

Health expenditures:
6.4% of GDP (2009)
country comparison to the world: 97

Physicians density:
1.96 physicians/1,000 population (2009)

Hospital bed density:
1.7 beds/1,000 population (2010)

Drinking water source:
urban: 95.9% of population
rural: 90.8% of population
total: 94.9% of population
urban: 3.9% of population
rural: 9.2% of population
total: 5.1% of population (2012 est.)

Sanitation facility access:
urban: 87% of population
rural: 79% of population
total: 85.3% of population
urban: 13% of population
rural: 21% of population
total: 14.7% of population (2012 est.)

HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate:
0.2% (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 115

HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS:
174,300 (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 32

HIV/AIDS – deaths:

Major infectious diseases:
degree of risk: intermediate
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea and hepatitis A
vectorborne disease: dengue fever (2013)

Obesity – adult prevalence rate:
32.1% (2008)
country comparison to the world: 23

Children under the age of 5 years underweight:
2.8% (2012)
country comparison to the world: 115

Education expenditures:
5.1% of GDP (2009)
country comparison to the world: 72

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 93.5%
male: 94.8%
female: 92.3% (2011 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 13 years
male: 13 years
female: 13 years (2011)

Child labor – children ages 5-14:
total number: 1,105,617
percentage: 5 % (2009 est.)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24:
total: 9.4%
country comparison to the world: 113
male: 9.1%
female: 9.9% (2012)