North America :: Mexico

Introduction ::Mexico

    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 low real 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 the PRI regained the presidency in 2012. Since 2007, Mexico's powerful drug-trafficking organizations have engaged in bloody feuding, resulting in tens of thousands of drug-related homicides.

Geography ::Mexico

    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
    23 00 N, 102 00 W
    total: 1,964,375 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 14
    land: 1,943,945 sq km
    water: 20,430 sq km
    slightly less than three times the size of Texas
    total: 4,353 km
    border countries: Belize 250 km, Guatemala 962 km, US 3,141 km
    9,330 km
    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
    lowest point: Laguna Salada -10 m
    highest point: Volcan Pico de Orizaba 5,700 m
    petroleum, silver, copper, gold, lead, zinc, natural gas, timber
    arable land: 12.98%
    permanent crops: 1.36%
    other: 85.66% (2011)
    64,600 sq km (2009)
    457.2 cu km (2011)
    total: 80.4 cu km/yr (14%/9%/77%)
    per capita: 700.4 cu m/yr (2009)
    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
    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
    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
    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 and Society ::Mexico

Government ::Mexico

    conventional long form: United Mexican States
    conventional short form: Mexico
    local long form: Estados Unidos Mexicanos
    local short form: Mexico
    federal republic
    name: 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
    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 de Ignacio de la Llave (Veracruz), Yucatan, Zacatecas
    16 September 1810 (declared); 27 September 1821 (recognized by Spain)
    Independence Day, 16 September (1810)
    5 February 1917
    civil law system with US constitutional law theory influence; judicial review of legislative acts
    accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
    18 years of age; universal and compulsory (but not enforced)
    chief of state: President Enrique PENA NIETO (since 1 December 2012); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
    head of government: President Enrique PENA NIETO (since 1 December 2012)
    cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president; note - appointment of attorney general, the head of the Bank of Mexico, and senior treasury officials require consent of the Senate
    (For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
    elections: president elected by popular vote for a single six-year term; election last held on 1 July 2012 (next to be held July 2018)
    election results: Enrique PENA NIETO elected president; percent of vote - Enrique PENA NIETO (PRI) 38.21%, Andres Manuel LOPEZ OBRADOR (PRD) 31.59%, Josefina Eugenia VAZQUEZ Mota (PAN) 25.41%, other 4.79%
    bicameral National Congress or Congreso de la Union consists of the Senate or Camara de Senadores (128 seats; 96 members elected by popular vote to serve six-year terms, and 32 seats 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; members to serve three-year terms)
    elections: Senate - last held on 1 July 2012 for all of the seats (next to be held on 1 July 2018); Chamber of Deputies - last held on 1 July 2012 (next to be held on 5 July 2015)
    election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PRI 52, PAN 38, PRD 22, PVEM 9, PT 4, Movimiento Ciudadano 2, PANAL 1; Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PRI 208, PAN 114, PRD 100, PVEM 33, PT 19, Movimiento Ciudadano 16, PANAL 10
    highest court(s): Supreme Court of Justice or Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nacion (consists of 21 ministers or judges and 5 supernumerary judges)
    judge selection and term of office: judges nominated by the president and approved by the Senate; judges serve for life
    subordinate courts: federal level includes Electoral Tribunal, circuit, collegiate, and unitary courts; state level and district level courts
    Citizen's Movement (Movimiento Ciudadano) [Luis WALTON Aburto]
    Institutional Revolutionary Party (Partido Revolucionario Institucional) or PRI [Cesar CAMACHO Quiroz]
    Labor Party (Partido del Trabajo) or PT [Alberto ANAYA Gutierrez]
    Mexican Green Ecological Party (Partido Verde Ecologista de Mexico) or PVEM [vacant]
    National Action Party (Partido Accion Nacional) or PAN [Gustavo MADERO Munoz]
    New Alliance Party (Partido Nueva Alianza) or PNA/PANAL [Luis CASTRO Obregon]
    Party of the Democratic Revolution (Partido de la Revolucion Democratica) or PRD [Jesus ZAMBRANO Grijalva]
    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
    APEC, BCIE, BIS, CAN (observer), Caricom (observer), CD, CDB, CE (observer), CELAC, CSN (observer), EBRD, FAO, FATF, G-20, G-3, G-15, G-24, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LAES, LAIA, MIGA, NAFTA, NAM (observer), NEA, OAS, OECD, OPANAL, OPCW, Paris Club (associate), PCA, SICA (observer), UN, UNASUR (observer), UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, Union Latina (observer), UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
    chief of mission: Ambassador Eduardo MEDINA MORA Icaza
    chancery: 1911 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20006
    telephone: [1] (202) 728-1600
    FAX: [1] (202) 728-1698
    consulate(s) general: Anchorage, Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, El Paso (TX), Houston, Laredo (TX), Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Nogales (AZ), Phoenix, Sacramento (CA), San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose (CA), San Juan (Puerto Rico), Saint Paul (MN)
    consulate(s): Albuquerque, Anchorage (AK), Boise (ID), Brownsville (TX), Calexico (CA), Del Rio (TX), Detroit, Douglas (AZ), Eagle Pass (TX), Fresno (CA), Indianapolis (IN), Kansas City (MO), Las Vegas (NV), Little Rock (AR), McAllen (TX), Midland (TX), New Orleans, Omaha (NE), Orlando (FL), Oxnard (CA), Philadelphia, Portland (OR), Presidio (TX), Raleigh (NC), Salt Lake City, San Bernardino (CA), Santa Ana (CA), Seattle, Tucson (AZ), Yuma (AZ); note - Washington DC Consular Section located in a separate building from the Mexican Embassy and has jurisdiction over DC, parts of Virginia, Maryland, and West Virginia
    chief of mission: Ambassador Earl Anthony WAYNE
    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) 5080-2834
    consulate(s) general: Ciudad Juarez, Guadalajara, Hermosillo, Matamoros, Merida, Monterrey, Nogales, Nuevo Laredo, Tijuana
    three equal vertical bands of green (hoist side), white, and red; Mexico's coat of arms (an eagle with a snake in its beak perched on a cactus) is centered in the white band; green signifies hope, joy, and love; white represents peace and honesty; red stands for hardiness, bravery, strength, and valor; the coat of arms is derived from a legend that the wandering Aztec people were to settle at a location where they would see an eagle on a cactus eating a snake; the city they founded, Tenochtitlan, is now Mexico City
    note: similar to the flag of Italy, which is shorter, uses lighter shades of red and green, and does not have anything in its white band
    golden eagle
    name: "Himno Nacional Mexicano" (National Anthem of Mexico)

    lyrics/music: Francisco Gonzalez BOCANEGRA/Jaime Nuno ROCA
    note: adopted 1943, in use since 1854; the anthem is also known as "Mexicanos, al grito de Guerra" (Mexicans, to the War Cry); according to tradition, Francisco Gonzalez BOCANEGRA, an accomplished poet, was uninterested in submitting lyrics to a national anthem contest; his fiancee locked him in a room and refused to release him until the lyrics were completed

Economy ::Mexico

    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 5.5%. Mexico has free trade agreements with over 50 countries including Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, the European Free Trade Area, and Japan - putting more than 90% of trade under free trade agreements. In 2012 Mexico formally joined the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations and in July it formed the Pacific Alliance with Peru, Colombia and Chile. In 2007, during its first year in office, the Felipe CALDERON administration was able to garner support from the opposition to successfully pass pension and fiscal reforms. The administration passed an energy reform measure in 2008 and another fiscal reform in 2009. Mexico's GDP plunged 6.2% in 2009 as world demand for exports dropped, asset prices tumbled, and remittances and investment declined. GDP posted positive growth of 5.6% in 2010 with exports - particularly to the United States - leading the way. Growth slowed to 3.9% in 2011 and slightly recovered to 4% in 2012. In November 2012, Mexico's legislature passed a comprehensive labor reform which was signed into law by former President Felipe CALDERON. Mexico's new PRI government, led by President Enrique PENA NIETO, has said it will prioritize structural economic reforms and competitiveness. The new president signed the Pact for Mexico, an agreement that lists 95 priority commitments, along with the leaders of the country's three main political parties: the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), the National Action Party (PAN) and the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD).
    $1.788 trillion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 12
    $1.72 trillion (2011 est.)
    $1.655 trillion (2010 est.)
    note: data are in 2012 US dollars
    $1.177 trillion (2012 est.)
    3.9% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 86
    3.9% (2011 est.)
    5.3% (2010 est.)
    $15,600 (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 88
    $15,100 (2011 est.)
    $14,700 (2010 est.)
    note: data are in 2012 US dollars
    23.9% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 52
    24.3% of GDP (2011 est.)
    23.7% of GDP (2010 est.)
    household consumption: 64.8%
    government consumption: 11.6%
    investment in fixed capital: 20.7%
    investment in inventories: 4%
    exports of goods and services: 32.9%
    imports of goods and services: -34%
    (2012 est.)
    agriculture: 4.1%
    industry: 34.2%
    services: 61.8% (2012 est.)
    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
    3.6% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 77
    50.64 million (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 12
    agriculture: 13.7%
    industry: 23.4%
    services: 62.9% (2005)
    5% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 45
    5.2% (2011 est.)
    note: underemployment may be as high as 25%
    note: based on food-based definition of poverty; asset based poverty amounted to more than 47% (2010 est.)
    lowest 10%: 1.5%
    highest 10%: 41.4% (2008)
    48.3 (2008)
    country comparison to the world: 25
    53.1 (1998)
    revenues: $266.9 billion
    expenditures: $297.7 billion (2012 est.)
    22.7% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 144
    -2.6% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 102
    35.9% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 101
    35.3% of GDP (2011 est.)
    calendar year
    4.1% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 130
    3.4% (2011 est.)
    4.5% (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 81
    4.5% (31 December 2011 est.)
    4.73% (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 159
    4.92% (31 December 2011 est.)
    $175.2 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 22
    $148.9 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $738 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 20
    $684.1 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $404.6 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 30
    $359.5 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $408.7 billion (31 December 2011)
    country comparison to the world: 22
    $454.3 billion (31 December 2010)
    $340.6 billion (31 December 2009)
    -$11 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 176
    -$11.07 billion (2011 est.)
    $370.9 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 16
    $349.4 billion (2011 est.)
    manufactured goods, oil and oil products, silver, fruits, vegetables, coffee, cotton
    US 78% (2012)
    $370.8 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 15
    $350.8 billion (2011 est.)
    metalworking machines, steel mill products, agricultural machinery, electrical equipment, car parts for assembly, repair parts for motor vehicles, aircraft, and aircraft parts
    US 50.5%, China 15.5%, Japan 4.8% (2012)
    $167.1 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 18
    $149.3 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $352.9 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 31
    $286.6 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $315 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 18
    $302.3 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $137.7 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 26
    $112.1 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    Mexican pesos (MXN) per US dollar -
    13.17 (2012 est.)
    12.423 (2011 est.)
    12.636 (2010 est.)
    13.514 (2009)
    11.016 (2008)

Energy ::Mexico

Communications ::Mexico

    19.684 million (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 15
    94.565 million (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 13
    general assessment: adequate telephone service for business and government; improving quality and increasing mobile cellular availability, with mobile subscribers far outnumbering 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: despite the opening to competition in January 1997, Telmex remains dominant; Fixed-line teledensity is less than 20 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular teledensity is about 80 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 (2011)
    many TV stations and more than 1,400 radio stations with most privately owned; the Televisa group once had a virtual monopoly in TV broadcasting, but new broadcasting groups and foreign satellite and cable operators are now available (2012)
    16.233 million (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 9
    31.02 million (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 12

Transportation ::Mexico

    1,714 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 3
    total: 243
    over 3,047 m: 12
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 32
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 80
    914 to 1,523 m: 86
    under 914 m: 33 (2013)
    total: 1,471
    over 3,047 m: 1
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 42
    914 to 1,523 m: 281
    under 914 m:
    1,146 (2013)
    1 (2013)
    gas 18,074 km; liquid petroleum 2,102 km; oil 8,775 km; oil/gas/water 369 km; refined products 7,565 km; water 123 km (2013)
    total: 17,166 km
    country comparison to the world: 16
    standard gauge: 17,166 km 1.435-m gauge (22 km electrified) (2008)
    total: 366,095 km
    country comparison to the world: 17
    paved: 132,289 km (includes 6,279 km of expressways)
    unpaved: 233,806 km (2008)
    2,900 km (navigable rivers and coastal canals mostly connected with ports on the country's east coast) (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 34
    total: 52
    country comparison to the world: 70
    by type: bulk carrier 5, cargo 3, chemical tanker 11, liquefied gas 3, passenger/cargo 10, petroleum tanker 17, roll on/roll off 3
    foreign-owned: 5 (France 1, Greece 2, South Africa 1, UAE 1)
    registered in other countries: 12 (Antigua and Barbuda 1, Marshall Islands 2, Panama 5, Portugal 1, Spain 1, Venezuela 1, unknown 1) (2010)
    Altamira, Coatzacoalcos, Lazaro Cardenas, Manzanillo, Salina Cruz, Veracruz
    oil terminals: Cayo Arcas terminal, Dos Bocas terminal

Military ::Mexico

    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), Mexican Naval Infantry Corps (Cuerpo de Infanteria de Marina, Mexmar or CIM)) (2013)
    18 years of age for compulsory military service, conscript service obligation is 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; cadets enrolled in military schools from the age of 15 are considered members of the armed forces (2012)
    males age 16-49: 28,815,506
    females age 16-49: 30,363,558 (2010 est.)
    males age 16-49: 23,239,866
    females age 16-49: 25,642,549 (2010 est.)
    male: 1,105,371
    female: 1,067,007 (2010 est.)
    0.5% of GDP (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 162

Transnational Issues ::Mexico

    abundant 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; Belize and Mexico are working to solve minor border demarcation discrepancies arising from inaccuracies in the 1898 border treaty
    IDPs: 160,000 (government's quashing of Zapatista uprising in 1994 in eastern Chiapas Region; drug cartel violence and government's military response since 2007; violence between and within indigenous groups) (2011)
    stateless persons: 7 (2012)
    major drug-producing and transit nation; world's second largest opium poppy cultivator; opium poppy cultivation in 2009 rose 31% over 2008 to 19,500 hectares yielding a potential production of 50 metric tons of pure heroin, or 125 metric tons of "black tar" heroin, the dominant form of Mexican heroin in the western United States; marijuana cultivation increased 45% to 17,500 hectares in 2009; government conducts the largest independent illicit-crop eradication program in the world; continues as the primary transshipment country for US-bound cocaine from South America, with an estimated 95% of annual cocaine movements toward the US stopping in Mexico; major drug syndicates control the majority of drug trafficking throughout the country; producer and distributor of ecstasy; significant money-laundering center; major supplier of heroin and largest foreign supplier of marijuana and methamphetamine to the US market (2007)