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  Transnational Issues

In general, information available as of 1 January 2002
was used in the preparation of The World Factbook 2002.

This page was last updated on 19 March 2003

Map of Mexico

Legend: Definition Definition Field Listing Field Listing
   Introduction    Mexico
Definition Field Listing
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
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
23 00 N, 102 00 W
Map references:
Definition Field Listing
North America
Definition Field Listing
total: 1,972,550 sq km
land: 1,923,040 sq km
water: 49,510 sq km
Area - comparative:
Definition Field Listing
slightly less than three times the size of Texas
Land boundaries:
Definition Field Listing
total: 4,353 km
border countries: Belize 250 km, Guatemala 962 km, US 3,141 km
Definition Field Listing
9,330 km
Maritime claims:
Definition Field Listing
contiguous zone: 24 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
continental shelf: 200 NM or to the edge of the continental margin
Definition Field Listing
varies from tropical to desert
Definition Field Listing
high, rugged mountains; low coastal plains; high plateaus; desert
Elevation extremes:
Definition Field Listing
lowest point: Laguna Salada -10 m
highest point: Volcan Pico de Orizaba 5,700 m
Natural resources:
Definition Field Listing
petroleum, silver, copper, gold, lead, zinc, natural gas, timber
Land use:
Definition Field Listing
arable land: 13.2%
permanent crops: 1.1%
other: 85.7% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing
65,000 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
Definition Field Listing
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
Definition Field Listing
103,400,165 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
0-14 years: 32.8% (male 17,310,230; female 16,630,935)
15-64 years: 62.7% (male 31,552,877; female 33,246,668)
65 years and over: 4.5% (male 2,069,826; female 2,589,629) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
1.47% (2002 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing
22.36 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing
4.99 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing
-2.71 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio:
Definition Field Listing
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.95 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.8 male(s)/female
total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing
24.52 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing
total population: 72.03 years
female: 75.21 years (2002 est.)
male: 68.99 years
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing
2.57 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
Definition Field Listing
0.29% (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
Definition Field Listing
150,000 (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
Definition Field Listing
4,700 (1999 est.)
Definition Field Listing
noun: Mexican(s)
adjective: Mexican
Ethnic groups:
Definition Field Listing
mestizo (Amerindian-Spanish) 60%, Amerindian or predominantly Amerindian 30%, white 9%, other 1%
Definition Field Listing
nominally Roman Catholic 89%, Protestant 6%, other 5%
Definition Field Listing
Spanish, various Mayan, Nahuatl, and other regional indigenous languages
Definition Field Listing
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 89.6%
male: 91.8%
female: 87.4% (1995 est.)
   Government    Mexico
Country name:
Definition Field Listing
conventional long form: United Mexican States
conventional short form: Mexico
local short form: Mexico
local long form: Estados Unidos Mexicanos
Government type:
Definition Field Listing
federal republic
Definition Field Listing
Mexico (Distrito Federal)
Administrative divisions:
Definition Field Listing
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
Definition Field Listing
16 September 1810 (from Spain)
National holiday:
Definition Field Listing
Independence Day, 16 September (1810)
Definition Field Listing
5 February 1917
Legal system:
Definition Field Listing
mixture of US constitutional theory and civil law system; judicial review of legislative acts; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age; universal and compulsory (but not enforced)
Executive branch:
Definition Field Listing
chief of state: President Vicente FOX Quesada (since 1 December 2000); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
election results: Vicente FOX Quesada elected president; percent of vote - Vicente FOX Quesada (PAN) 42.52%, Francisco LABASTIDA Ochoa (PRI) 36.1%, Cuauhtemoc CARDENAS Solorzano (PRD) 16.64%, other 4.74%
elections: president elected by popular vote for a six-year term; election last held 2 July 2000 (next to be held NA July 2006)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president; note - appointment of attorney general requires consent of the Senate
head of government: President Vicente FOX Quesada (since 1 December 2000); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
Legislative branch:
Definition Field Listing
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)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - PRI 60, PAN 46, PRD 15, PVEM 5, PT 1, CD 1; Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - PRI 211, PAN 207, PRD 50, PVEM 16, PT 8, PSN 3, PAS 2, CD 1, independents 2
elections: Senate - last held 2 July 2000 for all of the seats (next to be held NA 2006); Chamber of Deputies - last held 2 July 2000 (next to be held NA 2003)
Judicial branch:
Definition Field Listing
Supreme Court of Justice or Corte Suprema de Justicia (judges are appointed by the president with consent of the Senate)
Political parties and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
Convergence for Democracy or CD [Dante DELGADO Ranauro]; Institutional Revolutionary Party or PRI [Dulce Maria SAURI Riancho]; Mexican Green Ecological Party or PVEM [Jorge Emilio GONZALEZ Martinez]; National Action Party or PAN [Luis Felipe BRAVO Mena]; Party of the Democratic Revolution or PRD [Amalia GARCIA Medina]; Party of the Nationalist Society or PSN [Gustavo RIOJAS Santana]; Social Alliance Party or PAS [Guillermo CALDERON Dominguez]; Workers Party or PT [Alberto ANAYA Gutierrez]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
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 Union of Workers or UNT; Regional Confederation of Mexican Workers or CROM; Revolutionary Confederation of Workers and Peasants or CROC; Roman Catholic Church
International organization participation:
Definition Field Listing
APEC, BCIE, BIS, Caricom (observer), CCC, CDB, CE (observer), EBRD, ECLAC, FAO, G-3, G-6, G-15, G-19, G-24, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IEA (observer), IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO, ITU, LAES, LAIA, NAM (observer), NEA, OAS, OECD, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, RG, UN, UN Security Council (temporary), UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNITAR, UNU, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Juan Jose BREMER Martino
FAX: [1] (202) 728-1698
consulate(s): Albuquerque, Brownsville (Texas), Calexico (California), Corpus Christi, Del Rio (Texas), Detroit, Douglas (Arizona), Eagle Pass (Texas), Fresno (California), Indianapolis (Indiana), Las Vegas, McAllen (Texas), Midland (Texas), Omaha, Orlando, Oxnard (California), Philadelphia, Portland (Oregon), Presidio (Texas), Raleigh, St. Louis, Salt Lake City, San Bernardino, Santa Ana (California), Seattle, Tucson, Yuma (Arizona)
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, El Paso, Houston, Laredo (Texas), Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Nogales (Arizona), Phoenix, Sacramento, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, San Juan (Puerto Rico)
chancery: 1911 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20006
telephone: [1] (202) 728-1600
Diplomatic representation from the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Antonio O. GARZA
embassy: Paseo de la Reforma 305, Colonia Cuauhtemoc, 06500 Mexico, Distrito Federal
mailing address: P. O. Box 9000, Brownsville, TX 520-9000
telephone: [52] 55 5080-2000
FAX: [52] 55 5511-9980
consulate(s) general: Ciudad Juarez, Guadalajara, Monterrey, Tijuana
consulate(s): Hermosillo, Matamoros, Merida, Nuevo Laredo, Nogales
Flag description:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
Mexico has a free market economy with 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, natural gas distribution, and airports. Income distribution remains highly unequal. Trade with the US and Canada has tripled since the implementation of NAFTA in 1994. Following 6.9% growth in 2000, real GDP fell 0.3% in 2001, with the US slowdown the principal cause. Positive developments in 2001 included a drop in inflation to 6.5%, a sharp fall in interest rates, and a strong peso that appreciated 5% against the dollar. Mexico City implemented free trade agreements with Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and the European Free Trade Area in 2001, putting more than 90% of trade under free trade agreements. Foreign direct investment reached $25 billion in 2001, of which $12.5 billion came from the purchase of Mexico's second largest bank, Banamex, by Citigroup.
Definition Field Listing
purchasing power parity - $920 billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
-0.3% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita:
Definition Field Listing
purchasing power parity - $9,000 (2001 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 5%
industry: 26%
services: 69% (2001 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Definition Field Listing
40% (2001 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Definition Field Listing
lowest 10%: 2%
highest 10%: 41% (2001) (2001)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
Definition Field Listing
52 (1996)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Definition Field Listing
6.5% (2001 est.)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing
39.8 million (2000) (2000)
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture 20%, industry 24%, services 56% (1998) (1998)
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing
urban - 3% plus considerable underemployment (2001)
Definition Field Listing
revenues: $136 billion
expenditures: $140 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (2001 est.) (2001 est.)
Definition Field Listing
food and beverages, tobacco, chemicals, iron and steel, petroleum, mining, textiles, clothing, motor vehicles, consumer durables, tourism
Industrial production growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
-3.4% (2001 est.)
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing
194.37 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source:
Definition Field Listing
fossil fuel: 76%
hydro: 17%
other: 3% (2000)
nuclear: 4%
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing
182.83 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing
77 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing
2.145 billion kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing
corn, wheat, soybeans, rice, beans, cotton, coffee, fruit, tomatoes; beef, poultry, dairy products; wood products
Definition Field Listing
$159 billion f.o.b. (2001)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
manufactured goods, oil and oil products, silver, fruits, vegetables, coffee, cotton
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
US 88.4%, Canada 2%, Germany 0.9%, Spain 0.8%, Netherlands Antilles 0.6%, Japan 0.4%, UK 0.4%, Venezuela 0.4%, (2001 est.)
Definition Field Listing
$168 billion f.o.b. (2001)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
metalworking machines, steel mill products, agricultural machinery, electrical equipment, car parts for assembly, repair parts for motor vehicles, aircraft, and aircraft parts
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
US 68.4%, Japan 4.7%, Germany 3.6%, Canada 2.5%, China 2.2%, South Korea 2.1%, Taiwan 1.6%, Italy 1.3%, Brazil 1.1% (2001 est.)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing
$191 billion (2001) (2001)
Economic aid - recipient:
Definition Field Listing
$1.166 billion (1995) (1995)
Definition Field Listing
Mexican peso (MXN)
Currency code:
Definition Field Listing
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing
Mexican pesos per US dollar - 9.1614 (January 2002), 9.3423 (2001), 9.4556 (2000), 9.5604 (1999), 9.1360 (1998), 7.9185 (1997)
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing
calendar year
   Communications    Mexico
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing
12.332 million (2000)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing
2.02 million (1998)
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing
general assessment: low telephone density with about 12 main lines per 100 persons; privatized in December 1990; the opening to competition in January 1997 improved prospects for development
domestic: adequate telephone service for business and government, but the population is poorly served; domestic satellite system with 120 earth stations; extensive microwave radio relay network; considerable use of fiber-optic cable, coaxial cable, and mobile cellular service
international: 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), 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 (1997)
Radio broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
AM 851, FM 598, shortwave 16 (2000)
Definition Field Listing
31 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
236 (plus repeaters) (1997)
Definition Field Listing
25.6 million (1997)
Internet country code:
Definition Field Listing
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
Definition Field Listing
51 (2000)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing
3.5 million (2002)
   Transportation    Mexico
Definition Field Listing
total: 18,000 km
standard gauge: 18,000 km 1.435-m gauge (2001)
Definition Field Listing
total: 323,977 km
paved: 96,221 km (including 6,335 km of expressways)
unpaved: 227,756 km (1997)
Definition Field Listing
2,900 km
note: navigable rivers and coastal canals
Definition Field Listing
crude oil 28,200 km; petroleum products 10,150 km; natural gas 13,254 km; petrochemical 1,400 km
Ports and harbors:
Definition Field Listing
Acapulco, Altamira, Coatzacoalcos, Ensenada, Guaymas, La Paz, Lazaro Cardenas, Manzanillo, Mazatlan, Progreso, Salina Cruz, Tampico, Topolobampo, Tuxpan, Veracruz
Merchant marine:
Definition Field Listing
total: 44 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 656,594 GRT/987,822 DWT
ships by type: bulk 3, cargo 1, chemical tanker 4, liquefied gas 3, petroleum tanker 27, roll on/roll off 3, short-sea passenger 3
note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of convenience: Canada 2, Denmark 1 (2002 est.)
Definition Field Listing
1,852 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 231
over 3,047 m: 11
2,438 to 3,047 m: 28
914 to 1,523 m: 82
under 914 m: 27 (2002)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 83
Airports - with unpaved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 1,592 1,617
under 914 m: 1,067 1,085 (2002)
over 3,047 m: 1 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 1
914 to 1,523 m: 454 461
1,524 to 2,437 m: 69 69
Definition Field Listing
2 (2002)
   Military    Mexico
Military branches:
Definition Field Listing
National Defense Secretariat (SEDENA) (including Army and Air Force), Navy Secretariat (including Naval Air and Marines)
Military manpower - military age:
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age
note: starting in 2000, females were allowed to volunteer for military service (2002 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
Definition Field Listing
males age 15-49: 27,229,581 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 15-49: 19,761,440 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
Definition Field Listing
males: 1,077,536 (2002 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
Definition Field Listing
$4 billion (FY99)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Definition Field Listing
1% (FY99)
   Transnational Issues    Mexico
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing
Illicit drugs:
Definition Field Listing
illicit cultivation of opium poppy (cultivation in 2001 - 4,400 hectares; potential heroin production - 7 metric tons) and cannabis cultivation in 2001 - 4,100 hectares; government eradication efforts have been key in keeping illicit crop levels low; 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; major drug syndicates control majority of drug trafficking throughout the country; growing producer and distributor of ecstasy; significant money-laundering center

This page was last updated on 19 March 2003

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