Form of Government: Federal republic
Area: 1 964 375 sq km
Population: 123 518 270 inhab. (estimate 2017)
Density: 62.88 inhab./sq km
Coordinates: lat. 33° - 15° N; long. 118° - 87° W
Capital: Mexico City=Ciudad de México (capital) 8 874 724 inhab. (2014); Città del Messico=Ciudad de México 21 580 827 inhab. (2018), urban agglomeration
Currency: Mexican peso (100 centavos)
Human development index: 0.774 (rank: 74)
President: Andrés Manuel López Obrador (MORENA), elected 1 July 2018, in office since 1 December 2018
Chamber of Deputies: seats based on the elections of 1 July 2018: MORENA (National Regeneration Movement), 191; PAN (National Action Party, conservative), 82; PT (Labor Party), 61; PES (Social Encounter Party), 55; PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party), 45; Citizens' Movement, 27; PRD (Party of the Democratic Revolution), 21; Ecologist Green Party, 16; PNA (New Alliance Party), 2
Internet: www.inegi.org.mx (Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía)
Member of APEC, Council of Europe observer, EBRD, NAFTA, OAS, OECD, UN, WTO
International license plate code MEX
International dialling code 0052
Travel vaccinations requirement none
Electricity (Voltage) 127
Driving side rigth
Internet code .mx
GMT Mexico City -6; Mazatlán -7; Mexicali (Baja California) -8
DST Mexico City -5; Mazatlán -6; Mexicali (Baja California) -7
DST duration (start-end) early April-late October
Annual average temperature (°C) Mexico 15.8; Acapulco 27.7; Chihuahua 18.5; Mérida 25.9
Average temperature in January/July (°C) Mexico 12.5/17; Acapulco 26.5/28.5; Chihuahua 10/25; Mérida 26.5/28.5
Daily sunshine hours in June/December (average) Mexico 7/7; Acapulco 7/9; Chihuahua 9/6; Mérida 6/5
Annual average precipitation (mm) Mexico 709; Acapulco 1411; Chihuahua 327; Mérida 942
Days of rainfall (annual average) Mexico 94; Acapulco 56; Chihuahua 36; Mérida 73
Politics and current affairs
A.M.L. Obrador became President on 1 December 2018. During his first months in office, he adopted a policy of reducing government costs, providing funds for social projects. Public approval remains high, but the prevailing climate of violence and the economic slowdown are starting to be felt. In foreign policy, Obrador has proved to be pragmatic with the USA, with whom he forged an agreement (7 June 2019) to more closely monitor the flow of migrants.
Mexico is bordered by the United States to the north, and by Belize and Guatemala to the south-east.
The Atlantic Ocean (the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea) lies off its east coast and the Pacific Ocean off its west coast. The central Mexican Plateau, enclosed to the south by peaks of over 5000 m (Mount Orizaba, 5610 m and Mount Popocatépetl, 5465 m), lies between the Sierra Madre Occidental and the Sierra Madre Oriental. In the south of the country, mountain ranges (Sierra Madre del Sur and Sierra Madre de Chiapas) alternate with vast plains (the plains of Veracruz and Tabasco). The peninsulas of Baja California and Yucatán are isolated from the main part of Mexico.
From the 16th century, Mexico was a Spanish colony. It became independent in 1821. At that time it was much larger than it is today and comprised territories which were subsequently ceded to the United States following the Mexican-American War (1846-48). Mexico is a presidential Federal Republic of 31 states and a Federal District (the capital, Mexico City), dominated for more than 70 years by the hegemonic party, PRI. Since 2006 the country, and especially the northern states, has been subjected to violent conflict between drug cartels and state forces. The death toll is estimated to be upwards of 200 000.
According to the Constitution of 5 February 1917, which has been revised several times, the President of the Republic is elected by direct suffrage for six years and may not be re-elected. The President is also head of the government and exercises executive power. Legislative power lies in the hands of National Congress (Congreso de la Unión), comprising the Chamber of Deputies (500 members elected for three years) and the Senate (128 members elected for six years term, two-thirds of whom are renewed every three years). Each state and the Federal District has its own elected Governor and Assembly.
Military service, which is part-time (four hours a week) lasts for 12 months. A National Guard with police functions was established in 2019.
The legal system is based on European Continental Civil Law, with influences from the American Constitution. The legal system comprises jurisdiction at federal level and at state level. At the federal level, the highest court is the Supreme Court.
|Mexico City=Ciudad de México||8 874 724||inhab.||2014|
|Ecatepec de Morelos||1 743 268||inhab.||2014|
|Città del Messico=Ciudad de México||21 580 827||inhab.||2018|
|Guadalajara||4 796 603||inhab.||2015|
|Population by age and gender (% - 2018)|
The 2001 Ley indigena recognised the culture and fundamental rights of indigenous peoples and granted a large amount of administrative autonomy to the regions in which they live. Migratory flows towards the USA, where there are more than 30 million Mexican residents, are very significant.
|Amerindian languages (Nahuatl, Maya, Mixtec)|
The drop in investments and exports owing to unfavourable international circumstances related to the uncertainties regarding the revision of the free trade agreement with the USA led to a slowdown in economic growth in 2018-19. The inflation rate, which rose rapidly in 2017, steadied in 2018-19. The new executive announced a revision to the previous laissez-faire policies; spending for the state machinery was reduced and social spending was increased (increase in pensions, employment incentives). On 1 January 2019, the minimum salary was raised. The government’s policy for economic support through a program of investments in infrastructure appears to be insufficient, however. In the last decade, low wages and increases in transportation costs at a world level have encouraged foreign business to set up shop in Mexico, mostly from the US. Officially, unemployment is low, but illegal activities (involving about one quarter of the working population) are very common, especially drug-dealing. The latter, along with rampant corruption, constitutes a factor of instability that discourages the development of new businesses.
|Agricultural prod. index (2004-06=100)||125.72||index||2016|
|Balance of trade||-25 996.4||M US$||2018|
|Active population||55 554 910||units||2018|
|Active population, Females||38.3||%||2018|
|Unemployment rate, Females||40||%||2018|
|Expenses||4 126 916.9||M LCU||2018|
|Revenues||3 770 176.6||M LCU||2018|
|Currency in circulation||1 673.2||BN LCU||2018|
|International reserves||176 390.3||M US$||2018|
Arable land is mainly used for cultivating cereal crops, especially maize (Sinaloa and Jalisco States), which (along with dried beans) constitutes the staple food of the local diet. Wheat and barley are grown on the central plateau, whereas rice is common on the humid coastal lowlands. Among plants grown on an industrial scale, sugar cane (States of Veracruz and Jalisco) and textiles are prevalent: typical of Mexico are agave and sisal, from which are obtained istle fibres and henequén (a traditional alcoholic drink). Cotton is grown in the states of Chihuahua, Baja California, Coahuila, Sonora and Durango. Important export crops are tomatoes, maize, chillies and peppers, cucurbits, avocados and coffee, which is commonly grown in the humid lands of the tierras templadas (the “temperate lands” of Chiapas, Veracruz, Oaxaca and Guerrero), whereas cocoa is common in the tierras calientes (the “hot lands” of Chiapas and Tabasco). Sugar cane is grown on the slopes of the Sierras and in the lowlands. Fruit from the large banana plantations in the states of Colima, Nayarit, Veracruz, Guerrero and Tabasco is bound for export.
The forests of the lowlands are important for timber (mahogany, ebony, cedar, sandalwood and rosewood). They also yield substances used for tanning and dyeing. Mexico is an important producer of chicle gum, a variety of natural rubber.
Livestock and fishing.
The dairy and beef cattle are reared on large estates in the north of the country are particularly important, but pigs are also farmed on a large scale. Fishing (sardines, tuna fish, shellfish and sole) is based at Guaymas, Mazatlán and Topolobampo, in the Gulf of California, at Manzanillo, on the Pacific coast, at Tampico, Veracruz and Campeche, in the Gulf of Mexico, and at Puerto Morelos and Progreso, on the Caribbean Sea. Aquaculture produces mainly shrimp, tilapia and oysters.
|barley||1 008.158||1000 t||2017|
|cereals, total||37 487.113||1000 t||2017|
|potatoes||1 715.499||1000 t||2017|
|beans, dry||1 183.868||1000 t||2017|
|beans, green||98.572||1000 t||2017|
|castor oil seed||3.478||1000 t||2017|
|oil palm fruits||873.518||1000 t||2017|
|coconuts||1 158.978||1000 t||2017|
|sugar beet||0.859||1000 t||2017|
|sugar cane||56 954.993||1000 t||2017|
|seed cotton||1 009.103||1000 t||2017|
|cashew nuts||3.767||1000 t||2017|
|citrus fruits||8 273.673||1000 t||2017|
|citrus fruits, nes||181.373||1000 t||2017|
|avocados||2 029.886||1000 t||2017|
|bananas||2 229.519||1000 t||2017|
|maize||7 327.501||1000 ha||2017|
|beans, dry||1 625.213||1000 ha||2017|
|beans, green||10.243||1000 ha||2017|
|castor oil seed||1.768||1000 ha||2017|
|oil palm fruit||65.805||1000 ha||2017|
|sugar beet||0.045||1000 ha||2017|
|sugar cane||772.003||1000 ha||2017|
|seed cotton||211.917||1000 ha||2017|
|cashew nuts||1.419||1000 ha||2017|
|citrus fruits||582.514||1000 ha||2017|
|citrus fruits, nes||37.829||1000 ha||2017|
|natural rubber||68 765||t||2017|
|timber||46 643 813||m³||2017|
|cattle||31 771.736||1000 heads||2017|
|cattle and buffaloes||31 771.736||1000 heads||2017|
|pigs||17 210.269||1000 heads||2017|
|sheep||8 902.451||1000 heads||2017|
|goats||8 725.172||1000 heads||2017|
|asses||3 283.017||1000 heads||2017|
|asses and mules||6 569.827||1000 heads||2017|
|birds||568 286||1000 heads||2017|
|crustaceans and molluscs||479 512.412||t||2017|
Around three quarters of oil production comes from off-shore deposits in the Bay of Campeche, particularly in the north-eastern sector; the most productive pits on the mainland are in the state of Tabasco. Substantial deposits of shale oil can be found in the state of Tamaulipas. The oil sector is controlled by a monopolist public company (Pemex); in 2014 legislation was revised in order to allow the flow of private capital. Natural gas is produced at many of the oil wells. There are modest coal reserves. The subsoil possesses vast metalliferous mineral resources. Silver extraction is mainly concentrated in the states of Zacatecas, Durango, Sonora, Chihuahua and México. Lead and zinc mines in Charcas (San Luis Potosí), Naica and Santa Bárbara (Chihuahua), La Encantada (Coahuila), Fresnillo and Peñasquito (Zacatecas). The gold mines in El Sauzal and Ocampo (Chihuahua), La Herradura and Mulatos (Sonora), San Dimas and La Cienega (Durango), Pachuca (Hidalgo) and Peñasquito (Zacatecas) all play an important role. There are copper ore deposits in Cananea and La Caridad (Sonora), Boleo-Santa Rosalía (Baja California), Mazapil, Nacozari, La Colorada (Coahuila) and iron ore deposits in Cerro de Mercado (Durango) and Peña Colorada-El Mamey (Colima). There are also significant lithium reserves.
Energy and industry.
More than three-quarters of the electricity produced is of thermal origin (mainly from coal-fired power plants). There are two nuclear reactors operating at Laguna Verde (in Veracruz) which produce about 5% of the country’s electricity requirement. Oil refineries operate at Cadereyta Jiménez, Ciudad Madero, Tula, Minatitlán, Salamanca and Salina Cruz. The metal-working sector is based in Mexico City and in the triangle of Monterrey, Saltillo and Monclova. The chemical industry is quite highly developed. The car-making industry is based in Aguascalientes, Mexico City, Cuernavaca, Puebla (components), Saltillo, Monterrey, Lerma and Guadalajara. Other important segments of the engineering sector are textile machinery and railway rolling stock. The textile industry is based at Torreón, Monterrey and Durango. Other important segments include glass, paper, wood pulp and cellulose, ceramics, leather goods and footwear, cement, beer and tobacco. Close to the US border (in the towns of Tijuana, Ensenada, Nogales, Ciudad Juárez, Ciudad Acuña, Piedras Negras, Nuevo Laredo, Reynosa and Matamoros) there are thousands of maquiladoras, factories run with US or mixed US-Mexican capital, operating in sectors such as textiles, electrical goods, electronics and vehicle assembly based on imported components.
|coal||11 356||1000 t||2017|
|coal, total||13 539.2||1000 t||2018|
|dolomite||7 814.7||1000 t||2015|
|silver||6 100 000||kg||2018|
|- thermal||245 129.44||M kWh||2016|
|- hydro||29 744||M kWh||2016|
|- thermal||52 044||1000 kW||2016|
|- hydro||12 580||1000 kW||2016|
|total net generation||302 678.44||M kWh||2016|
|total installed capacity||72 556||1000 kW||2016|
|cars||1 575 808||no.||2018|
|air conditioners||723 500||no.||2016|
|petrol||22 933.2||1000 t||2014|
|ammonia||1 100||1000 t||2017|
|artificial tow||122.4||1000 t||2010|
|carpets||9 077||1000 m²||2008|
|cotton fabrics - t||132||1000 t||2016|
|footwear||79 965 100||pairs||2016|
|beer of barley||8 588.2||1000 t||2014|
|coconut oil||126.6||1000 t||2014|
|cigarettes||52 485.9||M units||2016|
|cigars and cigarettes||52 485.9||M units||2016|
|chemical pulp||125||1000 t||2017|
|chemi-mechanical pulp||125||1000 t||2017|
|cement||40 000||1000 t||2016|
|chemicals production||16 516.4||M US$||2016|
|food, beverages and tobacco production||41 428.7||M US$||2016|
A member of the NAFTA since 1 January 1994, Mexico has considerably increased its volume of trade with the USA and Canada. Mexico has also established free-trade agreements with the EU, Japan and other countries.
(M US$ - 2017)
vehicles and parts thereof 60 050, electrical and electronic equipment 48 829, cars 41 689, machinery 34 252, computers and accessories 23 297, crude oil 19 930, telecommunications equipment 19 560, technical and electro-medical appliances 17 475, fruit and vegetables 13 298, television receivers 13 252
Finance and banking.
The Banco de México acts as the central bank. There is an active stock exchange in Mexico City.
|manufactures||81.255||% of goods exports||2018|
|food products||7.615||% of goods exports||2018|
|United States||344 602||M US$||2018|
|Canada||14 065||M US$||2018|
|United States||216 282||M US$||2018|
|China||83 505||M US$||2018|
Tourism. Tourism is a key economic sector and an important source of foreign currency. Its many attractions include seaside resorts (such as those at Cancún, Acapulco and Zihuatanejo), pre-Colombian archaeological sites and Spanish colonial sites.
|Expenditures||13 648||M US$||2017|
|Number of arrivals||39 291 000||units||2017|
Media and telecommunication.
Televisa is the world’s largest Spanish-speaking media group.
|Civil aviation, km flown||271 500 000||km flown||2009|
|Civil aviation, passengers carried||58 536.9||1000 units||2017|
|Broadband subscribers||132.636||per 1000 pop.||2017|
|Computers||144||per 1000 pop.||2008|
Social and welfare
Education, culture & research.
Primary education is free and compulsory (in state schools) and lasts for six years. Secondary education, which is not compulsory, lasts for another six years (between the ages of 12 and 18).
Social security and health.
The social security system provides retirement pensions, healthcare and various kinds of protection for workers. A solidarity programme is in place to finance education, agriculture, and food and water distribution.
|Expected years of schooling||14.3||years||2017|
|Teachers, primary level||534 127||units||2017|
|Teachers, secondary level||832 536||units||2017|
|Social protection spending||20.1||% of total expenses||2000|
|Social protection spending||7.5||% of GDP||2016|
|Hospital beds||1.5||per 1000 pop.||2016|
|Physicians||2.4||per 1000 pop.||2016|
|HIV||0.3||% of adults||2017|
|Research and development spending||0.5||% of GDP||2016|
|Access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking||85.35||%||2016|
|Access to electricity||100||%||2017|