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Flag of Mexico
Map of Mexico
Introduction Mexico
The 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 continues to make an impressive recovery. 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. Elections held in July 2000 marked the first time since the 1910 Mexican Revolution that the opposition defeated the party in government, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). Vicente FOX of the National Action Party (PAN) was sworn in on 1 December 2000 as the first chief executive elected in free and fair elections.
Geography Mexico
Middle America, bordering the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, between Belize and the US and bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between Guatemala and the US
Geographic coordinates:
23 00 N, 102 00 W
Map references:
North America
total: 1,972,550 sq km
land: 1,923,040 sq km
water: 49,510 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly less than three times the size of Texas
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: 12.66%
permanent crops: 1.28%
other: 86.06% (2005)
Irrigated land:
63,200 sq km (2003)
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
Environment - current issues:
scarcity 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 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
People Mexico
107,449,525 (July 2006 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 30.6% (male 16,770,957/female 16,086,172)
15-64 years: 63.6% (male 33,071,809/female 35,316,281)
65 years and over: 5.8% (male 2,814,707/female 3,389,599) (2006 est.)
Median age:
total: 25.3 years
male: 24.3 years
female: 26.2 years (2006 est.)
Population growth rate:
1.16% (2006 est.)
Birth rate:
20.69 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Death rate:
4.74 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Net migration rate:
-4.32 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Sex ratio:
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: 0.83 male(s)/female
total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2006 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 20.26 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 22.19 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 18.24 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 75.41 years
male: 72.63 years
female: 78.33 years (2006 est.)
Total fertility rate:
2.42 children born/woman (2006 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.3% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
160,000 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
5,000 (2003 est.)
noun: Mexican(s)
adjective: Mexican
Ethnic groups:
mestizo (Amerindian-Spanish) 60%, Amerindian or predominantly Amerindian 30%, white 9%, other 1%
nominally Roman Catholic 89%, Protestant 6%, other 5%
Spanish, various Mayan, Nahuatl, and other regional indigenous languages
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 92.2%
male: 94%
female: 90.5% (2003 est.)
Government Mexico
Country name:
conventional long form: United Mexican States
conventional short form: Mexico
local long form: Estados Unidos Mexicanos
local short form: Mexico
Government type:
federal republic
name: Mexico (Distrito Federal)
geographic coordinates: 19 24 N, 99 09 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 four time zones
Administrative divisions:
31 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
16 September 1810 (from Spain)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 16 September (1810)
5 February 1917
Legal system:
mixture of US constitutional theory and civil law system; judicial review of legislative acts; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations
18 years of age; universal and compulsory (but not enforced)
Executive branch:
chief 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 2 July 2006 (next to be held 1 July 2012)
election results: Felipe CALDERON elected president; percent of vote - Felipe CALDERON (PAN) 35.89%, Andres Manuel Lopez OBRADOR (PRD) 35.31%, Roberto MADRAZO (PRI) 22.26%, other 6.54%
Legislative branch:
bicameral National Congress or Congreso de la Union consists of the Senate or Camara de Senadores (128 seats; 96 are elected by popular vote to serve six-year terms, and 32 are allocated on the basis of each party's popular vote) and the Federal Chamber of Deputies or Camara Federal de Diputados (500 seats; 300 members are directly elected by popular vote to serve three-year terms; remaining 200 members are allocated on the basis of each party's popular vote, also for 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 2 July 2006 (next to be held 5 July 2009)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - PAN 52, PRI 33, PRD 29, PVEM 6, CD 5, PT 2, PNA 1; Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - PAN 206, PRD 127, PRI 103, PVEM 18, CD 17, PT 16, other 13
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court of Justice or Suprema Corte de Justicia Nacional (justices or ministros are appointed by the president with consent of the Senate)
Political parties and leaders:
Convergence for Democracy or CD [Luis MALDONADO Venegas]; Institutional Revolutionary Party or PRI [Mariano PALACIOS Alcocer]; Labor Party or PT [Alberto ANAYA Gutierrez]; Mexican Green Ecological Party or PVEM [Jorge Emilio GONZALEZ Martinez]; National Action Party (Partido Accion Nacional) or PAN [Manuel ESPINO Barrientos]; New Alliance Party (Partido Nueva Alianza) or PNA [Miguel Angel JIMENEZ Godinez]; Party of the Democratic Revolution (Partido de la Revolucion Democratica) or PRD [Leonel COTA Montano]; Social Democratic and Peasant Alternative Party (Partido Alternativa Socialdemocrata y Campesina) or Alternativa [Alberto BEGNE Guerra]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Broad Progressive Front or FAP; Businessman'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 participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Carlos Alberto de ICAZA Gonzalez
chancery: 1911 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20006
telephone: [1] (202) 728-1600
FAX: [1] (202) 728-1698
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, El Paso, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Nogales (Arizona), Omaha, Orlando, Phoenix, Sacramento, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, San Juan (Puerto Rico)
consulate(s): Albuquerque, Brownsville (Texas), Calexico (California), Del Rio (Texas), Detroit, Douglas (Arizona), Eagle Pass (Texas), Fresno (California), Indianapolis (Indiana), Kansas City (Missouri), Laredo (Texas), Las Vegas, McAllen (Texas), Midland (Texas), Oxnard (California), Philadelphia, Portland (Oregon), Presidio (Texas), Raleigh, Saint Paul (Minnesota), Salt Lake City, San Bernardino, Santa Ana (California), Seattle, Tucson, Yuma (Arizona)
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Antonio O. GARZA, Jr.
embassy: Paseo de la Reforma 305, Colonia Cuauhtemoc, 06500 Mexico, Distrito Federal
mailing address: P. O. Box 9000, Brownsville, TX 78520-9000
telephone: [52] (55) 5080-2000
FAX: [52] (55) 5511-9980
consulate(s) general: Ciudad Juarez, Guadalajara, Monterrey, Tijuana
consulate(s): Hermosillo, Matamoros, Merida, Nogales, Nuevo Laredo
Flag description:
three equal vertical bands of green (hoist side), white, and red; the coat of arms (an eagle perched on a cactus with a snake in its beak) is centered in the white band
Economy Mexico
Economy - overview:
Mexico has a free market economy that recently entered 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 one-fourth that of the US; income distribution remains highly unequal. Trade with the US and Canada has 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. The new Felipe CALDERON administration that took office in December 2006 faces many of the same challenges that former President FOX tried to tackle, including the need to upgrade infrastructure, modernize the tax system and labor laws, and allow private investment in the energy sector. CALDERON has stated that his top priorities include reducing poverty and creating jobs. The success of his economic agenda will depend on his ability to garner support from the opposition.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$1.134 trillion (2006 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
$741.5 billion (2006 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
4.5% (2006 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$10,600 (2006 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 3.9%
industry: 25.7%
services: 70.5% (2006 est.)
Labor force:
38.09 million (2006 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 18%
industry: 24%
services: 58% (2003)
Unemployment rate:
3.2% plus underemployment of perhaps 25% (2006 est.)
Population below poverty line:
40% (2003 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 1.6%
highest 10%: 35.6% (2002)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
54.6 (2000)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
3.4% (2006 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
20% of GDP (2006 est.)
revenues: $196.5 billion
expenditures: $196.2 billion; including capital expenditures of $NA (2006 est.)
Public debt:
20.7% of GDP (2006 est.)
Agriculture - products:
corn, wheat, soybeans, rice, beans, cotton, coffee, fruit, tomatoes; beef, poultry, dairy products; wood products
food and beverages, tobacco, chemicals, iron and steel, petroleum, mining, textiles, clothing, motor vehicles, consumer durables, tourism
Industrial production growth rate:
3.6% (2006 est.)
Electricity - production:
242.4 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 78.7%
hydro: 14.2%
nuclear: 4.2%
other: 2.9% (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
224.6 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - exports:
1.203 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - imports:
416 million kWh (2004)
Oil - production:
3.42 million bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - consumption:
1.97 million bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - exports:
1.863 million bbl/day (2004)
Oil - imports:
205,000 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - proved reserves:
12.49 billion bbl (2006 est.)
Natural gas - production:
41.47 billion cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
50.45 billion cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
9.831 billion cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
420.5 billion cu m (1 January 2005 est.)
Current account balance:
$-400.1 million (2006 est.)
$248.8 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Exports - commodities:
manufactured goods, oil and oil products, silver, fruits, vegetables, coffee, cotton
Exports - partners:
US 85.7%, Canada 2%, Spain 1.4% (2005)
$253.1 billion f.o.b. (2006 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 53.4%, China 8%, Japan 5.9% (2005)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$85.01 billion (2006 est.)
Debt - external:
$178.3 billion (30 June 2006 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
$1.166 billion (1995)
Currency (code):
Mexican peso (MXN)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
Mexican pesos per US dollar - 11.024 (2006), 10.898 (2005), 11.286 (2004), 10.789 (2003), 9.656 (2002)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Mexico
Telephones - main lines in use:
19.512 million (2005)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
47.462 million (2005)
Telephone system:
general assessment: low telephone density with about 18 main lines per 100 persons; privatized in December 1990; the opening to competition in January 1997 improved prospects for development, but Telmex remains dominant
domestic: 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
international: country code - 52; satellite earth stations - 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; high capacity Columbus-2 fiber-optic submarine cable with access to the US, Virgin Islands, Canary Islands, Morocco, Spain, and Italy (2005)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 850, FM 545, shortwave 15 (2003)
31 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
236 (plus repeaters) (1997)
25.6 million (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet hosts:
3,426,680 (2006)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
51 (2000)
Internet users:
18,622,500 (2005)
Transportation Mexico
1,839 (2006)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 228
over 3,047 m: 12
2,438 to 3,047 m: 28
1,524 to 2,437 m: 82
914 to 1,523 m: 77
under 914 m: 29 (2006)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 1,611
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 68
914 to 1,523 m: 460
under 914 m: 1,081 (2006)
1 (2006)
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)
total: 17,562 km
standard gauge: 17,562 km 1.435-m gauge (2005)
total: 235,670 km
paved: 116,751 km (including 6,144 km of expressways)
unpaved: 118,919 km (2004)
2,900 km (navigable rivers and coastal canals) (2005)
Merchant marine:
total: 56 ships (1000 GRT or over) 751,607 GRT/1,129,234 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 2, cargo 6, chemical tanker 6, liquefied gas 4, passenger/cargo 9, petroleum tanker 25, roll on/roll off 4
foreign-owned: 5 (Denmark 2, France 1, Norway 1, UAE 1)
registered in other countries: 15 (Belize 1, Honduras 1, Liberia 1, Panama 5, Portugal 1, Spain 3, Venezuela 3) (2006)
Ports and terminals:
Altamira, Manzanillo, Morro Redondo, Salina Cruz, Tampico, Topolobampo, Veracruz
Military Mexico
Military branches:
Secretariat of National Defense (Secretaria de Defensa Nacional, Sedena): Army (Ejercito), 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 Marines) (2006)
Military service age and obligation:
18 years of age for compulsory military service, conscript service obligation - 12 months; 16 years of age with consent for voluntary enlistment (2004)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 18-49: 24,488,008
females age 18-49: 26,128,046 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 18-49: 19,058,337
females age 18-49: 21,966,796 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:
males age 18-49: 1,063,233
females age 18-49: 1,043,816 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$6.07 billion (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
0.8% (2005 est.)
Transnational Issues Mexico
Disputes - international:
prolonged drought, population growth, and outmoded practices and infrastructure in the border region have strained water-sharing arrangements with the US; the US has stepped up efforts to stem nationals from Mexico, Central America, and other parts of the world from illegally crossing the border with Mexico
Refugees and internally displaced persons:
IDPs: 12,000 (government's quashing of Zapatista uprising in 1994 in eastern Chiapas Region) (2005)
Trafficking in persons:
current situation: Mexico is a source, transit, and destination country for persons trafficked for sexual exploitation and labor; while the vast majority of victims are Central Americans trafficked along Mexico's southern border, other source regions include South America, the Caribbean, Eastern Europe, Africa, and Asia; women and children are trafficked from rural regions to urban centers and tourist areas for sexual exploitation, often through fraudulent offers of employment or through threats of physical violence; the Mexican trafficking problem is often conflated with alien smuggling, and frequently the same criminal networks are involved; pervasive corruption among state and local law enforcement often impedes investigations
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - Mexico remains on the Tier 2 Watch List for the third consecutive year based on future commitments to undertake additional efforts in prosecution, protection, and prevention of trafficking in persons, and the failure of the government to provide critical law enforcement data
Illicit drugs:
major drug-producing nation; cultivation of opium poppy in 2004 amounted to 3,500 hectares, but opium cultivation stayed within the range - between 3,500 and 5,500 hectares - observed in nine of the last 12 years; potential production of 9 metric tons of pure heroin, or 23 metric tons of "black tar" heroin, the dominant form of Mexican heroin in the western United States; marijuana cultivation decreased 23% to 5,800 hectares in 2004 after decade-high cultivation peak in 2003; potential production of 10,400 metric tons of marijuana in 2004; government conducts the largest independent illicit-crop eradication program in the world; major supplier of heroin and largest foreign supplier of marijuana and methamphetamine to the US market; continues as the primary transshipment country for US-bound cocaine from South America, accounting for about 90% of estimated annual cocaine movement to the US; major drug syndicates control majority of drug trafficking throughout the country; producer and distributor of ecstasy; significant money-laundering center

This page was last updated on 18 January, 2007