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 Mexico [Country Flag of Mexico]
Geography
People
Government
Economy
Communications
Transportation
Military
Transnational Issues
[Country map of Mexico]

Mexico

Geography

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Location: 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

Area:
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: 4,538 km
border countries: Belize 250 km, Guatemala 962 km, US 3,326 km

Coastline: 9,330 km

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

Climate: varies from tropical to desert

Terrain: high, rugged mountains, low coastal plains, high plateaus, and 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%
permanent crops: 1%
permanent pastures: 39%
forests and woodland: 26%
other: 22% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 61,000 sq km (1993 est.)

Natural hazards: tsunamis along the Pacific coast, volcanoes and destructive earthquakes in the center and south, and hurricanes on the Gulf and Caribbean coasts

Environment—current issues: 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; serious air pollution in the national capital and urban centers along US-Mexico border

Environment—international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, 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: strategic location on southern border of US

People

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Population: 98,552,776 (July 1998 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 36% (male 17,883,007; female 17,193,082)
15-64 years: 60% (male 28,932,074; female 30,511,443)
65 years and over: 4% (male 1,808,581; female 2,224,589) (July 1998 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.77% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: 25.49 births/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate: 4.91 deaths/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Net migration rate: -2.89 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Sex ratio:
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: 0.81 male(s)/female (1998 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 25.82 deaths/1,000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 71.63 years
male: 68.62 years
female: 74.79 years (1998 est.)

Total fertility rate: 2.91 children born/woman (1998 est.)

Nationality:
noun: Mexican(s)
adjective: Mexican

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

Religions: nominally Roman Catholic 89%, Protestant 6%

Languages: Spanish, various Mayan, Nahuatl, and other regional indigenous languages

Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 89.6%
male: 91.8%
female: 87.4% (1995 est.)

Government

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Country name:
conventional long form: United Mexican States
conventional short form: Mexico
local long form: Estados Unidos Mexicanos
local short form: Mexico

Data code: MX

Government type: federal republic operating under a centralized government

National capital: Mexico

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

Independence: 16 September 1810 (from Spain)

National holiday: Independence Day, 16 September (1810)

Constitution: 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

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal and compulsory (but not enforced)

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Ernesto ZEDILLO Ponce de Leon (since 1 December 1994); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Ernesto ZEDILLO Ponce de Leon (since 1 December 1994); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president with consent of the Senate
elections: president elected by popular vote for a six-year term; election last held 21 August 1994 (next to be held in July or August 2000)
election results: Ernesto ZEDILLO Ponce de Leon elected president; percent of vote—Ernesto ZEDILLO Ponce de Leon (PRI) 50.18%, Cuauhtemoc CARDENAS Solorzano (PRD) 17.08%, Diego FERNANDEZ DE CEVALLOS (PAN) 26.69%, other 6.049%

Legislative branch: bicameral National Congress or Congreso de la Union consists of the Senate or Camara de Senadores (128 seats, expanded from 64 seats at the last election; half are elected by popular vote to serve six-year terms, and half are allocated or on basis of each party's popular vote) and the Chamber of Deputies or Camara de Diputados (500 seats; 300 members are directly elected by popular vote to serve three-year terms; remaining 200 seats are allocated on the basis of each party's popular vote, also for a three-year term)
elections: Senate—last held 6 July 1997 for one-quarter of the seats; Chamber of Deputies—last held 6 July 1997 (the next legislative elections will coincide with the presidential election in July or August 2000)
election results: Senate—percent of vote by party—NA; seats by party—PRI 77, PAN 33, PRD 16, PVEM 1, PT 1; note—the distribution of seats as of May 1998 is as follows—PRI 77, PAN 31, PRD 15, PT 1, independents 4; Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party—PRI 39%, PAN 27%, PRD 26%; seats by party—PRI 239, PRD 125, PAN 121, PVEM 8, PT 7; note—the distribution of seats as of May 1998 is as follows—PRI 237, PRD 127, PAN 120, PT 7, PVEM 6, independents 3

Judicial branch: Supreme Court of Justice (Corte Suprema de Justicia), judges are appointed by the president with consent of the Senate

Political parties and leaders: (recognized parties) Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), Mariano PALACIOS Alocer; National Action Party (PAN), Felipe CALDERON Hinojosa; Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), Andres Manuel LOPEZ Obrador; Cardenist Front for the National Reconstruction Party (PFCRN), Rafael AGUILAR Talamantes; Democratic Forum Party (PFD), Rosalia RAMIREZ; Mexican Green Ecologist Party (PVEM), Jorge GONZALEZ Torres; Workers Party (PT), Alberto ANAYA Gutierrez

Political pressure groups and leaders: Roman Catholic Church; Confederation of Mexican Workers (CTM); Confederation of Industrial Chambers (CONCAMIN); Confederation of National Chambers of Commerce (CONCANACO); National Peasant Confederation (CNC); Revolutionary Workers Party (PRT); Revolutionary Confederation of Workers and Peasants (CROC); Regional Confederation of Mexican Workers (CROM); Confederation of Employers of the Mexican Republic (COPARMEX); National Chamber of Transformation Industries (CANACINTRA); Coordinator for Foreign Trade Business Organizations (COECE); Federation of Unions Providing Goods and Services (FESEBES)

International organization participation: AG (observer), APEC, BCIE, BIS (pending member), Caricom (observer), CCC, CDB, EBRD, ECLAC, FAO, G- 6, G-11, G-15, G-19, G-24, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO, ITU, LAES, LAIA, NAM (observer), OAS, OECD, OPANAL, PCA, RG, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNU, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Jesus REYES HEROLES Gonzalez Garza
chancery: 1911 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20006
telephone: [1] (202) 728-1600
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Austin, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, El Paso, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Phoenix, Sacramento, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, San Juan (Puerto Rico)
consulate(s): Albuquerque, Boston, Brownsville (Texas), Calexico (California), Corpus Christi, Del Rio (Texas), Detroit, Douglas (Arizona), Eagle Pass (Texas), Fresno (California), Laredo, McAllen (Texas), Midland (Texas), Nogales (Arizona), Orlando, Oxnard (California), Philadelphia, Portland (Oregon), St. Louis, Salt Lake City, San Bernardino, San Jose, Santa Ana (California), Seattle

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge Charles BRAYSHAW
embassy: Paseo de la Reforma 305, Colonia Cuauhtemoc, 06500 Mexico, Distrito Federal
mailing address: P. O. Box 3087, Laredo, TX 78044-3087
telephone: [52] (5) 211-0042
FAX: [52] (5) 511-9980, 208-3373
consulate(s) general: Ciudad Juarez, Guadalajara, Monterrey, Tijuana
consulate(s): Hermosillo, Matamoros, Merida, 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

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Economy—overview: Mexico has a free market economy with a mixture of modern and outmoded industry and agriculture, increasingly dominated by the private sector. The number of state-owned enterprises in Mexico has fallen from more than 1,000 in 1982 to fewer than 200 in 1998. The ZEDILLO administration is privatizing and expanding competition in sea ports, railroads, telecommunications, electricity, natural gas distribution, and airports. The Mexican economy is in its third year of recovery from the recession of 1995, which was touched off by a financial crisis. After declining 6.2% in 1995, real GDP grew 5.1% in 1996 and 7.3% in 1997 and is expected to rise by 5% in 1998. A strong export sector helped to cushion the economy's decline in 1995 and led the recovery in 1996 and 1997. Private consumption spending in 1998 probably will rise by at least 4% on the strength of increased employment and rising real wages, and the troubled banking sector is likely to increase lending for the first time in three years. Despite the spillover from the Asian crisis, the medium-term outlook for Mexico remains positive, with government and private sector economists projecting average annual growth of 4% to 5% through the year 2000. Mexico still needs to overcome many structural problems as it strives to modernize its economy and raise living standards. Income distribution is very unequal with the top 20% of income earners accounting for 55% of income. The inefficient agricultural sector employs 20% to 25% of the labor force but produces only 8% of GDP. Trade with the United States and Canada has nearly doubled since NAFTA was implemented in 1994. Mexico is pursuing additional trade agreements with most countries in Latin America and with the European Union to lessen its dependence on the United States, which accounts for 80% of Mexico's total trade.

GDP: purchasing power parity—$694.3 billion (1997 est.)

GDP—real growth rate: 7.3% (1997 est.)

GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$7,700 (1997 est.)

GDP—composition by sector:
agriculture: 8%
industry: 33%
services: 59% (1997 est.)

Inflation rate—consumer price index: 15.7% (1997 est.)

Labor force:
total: 36.6 million (1996)
by occupation: services 28.8%, agriculture, forestry, hunting, and fishing 21.8%, commerce 17.1%, manufacturing 16.1%, construction 5.2%, public administration and national defense 4.4%, transportation and communications 4.1%

Unemployment rate: 3.7% (1997 est.) urban; plus considerable underemployment

Budget:
revenues: $92 billion
expenditures: $94 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (1997 est.)

Industries: food and beverages, tobacco, chemicals, iron and steel, petroleum, mining, textiles, clothing, motor vehicles, consumer durables, tourism

Industrial production growth rate: 9.3% (1997 est.)

Electricity—capacity: 35.466 million kW (1995)

Electricity—production: 145.199 billion kWh (1995)

Electricity—consumption per capita: 1,533 kWh (1995)

Agriculture—products: corn, wheat, soybeans, rice, beans, cotton, coffee, fruit, tomatoes; beef, poultry, dairy products; wood products

Exports:
total value: $110.4 billion (f.o.b., 1997 est.), includes in-bond industries
commodities: crude oil, oil products, coffee, silver, engines, motor vehicles, cotton, consumer electronics
partners: US 85%, Canada 2.1%, Japan 1%, Spain 1%, Chile 1%, Brazil 1% (1997 est.)

Imports:
total value: $109.8 billion (f.o.b., 1997 est.), includes in-bond industries
commodities: metal-working machines, steel mill products, agricultural machinery, electrical equipment, car parts for assembly, repair parts for motor vehicles, aircraft, and aircraft parts
partners: US 74.8%, Japan 4.1%, Germany 3.5%, Canada 1.8%, South Korea 1.4%, Italy 1.2%, France 1.1% (1997 est.)

Debt—external: $162 billion (1997 est.)

Economic aid:
recipient: ODA, $85 million (1993)

Currency: 1 New Mexican peso (Mex$) = 100 centavos

Exchange rates: market rate of Mexican pesos (Mex$) per US$1—8.1798 (January 1998), 7.9141 (1997), 7.5994(1996), 6.4194 (1995), 3.3751 (1994), 3.1156 (1993)

Fiscal year: calendar year

Communications

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Telephones: 11,890,868 (1993 est.)

Telephone system: highly developed system with extensive microwave radio relay links; privatized in December 1990; opened to competition January 1997
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
international: satellite earth stations—5 Intelsat (4 Atlantic Ocean and 1 Pacific Ocean); launched Solidaridad I satellite in November 1993 and Solidaridad II in October 1994, giving Mexico improved access to South America, Central America and much of the US as well as enhancing domestic communications; linked to Central American Microwave System of trunk connections

Radio broadcast stations: AM 800, FM 500, shortwave 17

Radios: 22.5 million (1992 est.)

Television broadcast stations: 238

Televisions: 13.1 million (1992 est.)

Transportation

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Railways:
total: 20,567 km
standard gauge: 20,477 km 1.435-m gauge (246 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 90 km 0.914-m gauge (1994)

Highways:
total: 252,000 km
paved: 94,248 km (including 6,740 km of expressways)
unpaved: 157,752 km (1996 est.)

Waterways: 2,900 km navigable rivers and coastal canals

Pipelines: crude oil 28,200 km; petroleum products 10,150 km; natural gas 13,254 km; petrochemical 1,400 km

Ports and harbors: Acapulco, Altamira, Coatzacoalcos, Ensenada, Guaymas, La Paz, Lazaro Cardenas, Manzanillo, Mazatlan, Progreso, Salina Cruz, Tampico, Topolobampo, Tuxpan, Veracruz

Merchant marine:
total: 53 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 899,224 GRT/1,312,505 DWT
ships by type: bulk 2, cargo 1, chemical tanker 4, combination bulk 1, container 4, liquefied gas tanker 7, oil tanker 29, roll-on/roll-off cargo 2, short-sea passenger 3 (1997 est.)

Airports: 1,810 (1997 est.)

Airports—with paved runways:
total: 231
over 3,047 m: 9
2,438 to 3,047 m: 25
1,524 to 2,437 m: 94
914 to 1,523 m: 78
under 914 m: 25 (1997 est.)

Airports—with unpaved runways:
total: 1,579
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 65
914 to 1,523 m: 472
under 914 m: 1,040 (1997 est.)

Heliports: 1 (1997 est.)

Military

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Military branches: National Defense Secretariat (includes Army and Air Force), Navy Secretariat (includes Naval Air and Marines)

Military manpower—military age: 18 years of age

Military manpower—availability:
males age 15-49: 25,114,890 (1998 est.)

Military manpower—fit for military service:
males: 18,280,523 (1998 est.)

Military manpower—reaching military age annually:
males: 1,077,800 (1998 est.)

Military expenditures—dollar figure: $2.2 billion (1997)

Military expenditures—percent of GDP: 0.3% (1997)

Transnational Issues

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Disputes—international: none

Illicit drugs: illicit cultivation of opium poppy (cultivation in 1997—4,000 hectares, a 22% decrease from 1996; potential production—46 metric tons, about a 15% decrease from 1996) and cannabis continues in spite of increased government eradication; major supplier of heroin and marijuana to the US market; continues as the primary transshipment country for US-bound cocaine from South America; increasingly involved in the production and distribution of methamphetamines