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Mexico



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Introduction

Background: 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.

Geography

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; 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 of Mexico 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: Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol

Geography - note: strategic location on southern border of US

People

Population: 100,349,766 (July 2000 est.)

Age structure
  0-14 years: 34% (male 17,306,548; female 16,632,827)
  15-64 years: 62% (male 30,223,317; female 31,868,213)
  65 years and over: 4% (male 1,927,850; female 2,391,011) (2000 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.53% (2000 est.)

Birth rate: 23.15 births/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Death rate: 5.05 deaths/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Net migration rate: -2.84 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2000 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
  total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2000 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 26.19 deaths/1,000 live births (2000 est.)

Life expectancy at birth
  total population: 71.49 years
  male: 68.47 years
  female: 74.66 years (2000 est.)

Total fertility rate: 2.67 children born/woman (2000 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%, other 5%

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

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

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 2 July 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 6.05%

Legislative branch: bicameral National Congress or Congreso de la Union consists of the Senate or Camara de Senadores (128 seats; half are elected by popular vote to serve six-year terms, and half 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 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 2 July 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 October 1999 is as follows - PRI 75, PAN 31, PRD 16, PT 1, independents 5; 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 October 1999 is as follows - PRI 237, PRD 125, PAN 120, PT 7, PVEM 6, independents 5

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

Political parties and leaders: Convergence for Democracy or CD [Dante DELGADO Ranauro]; Institutional Revolutionary Party or PRI [Dulce Maria SAURI Riancho]; Mexican Green Ecological Party or PVEM [Jorge GONZALEZ Torres]; National Action Party or PAN [Luis Felipe BRAVO Mena]; Party of the Democratic Center or PCD [Manuel CAMACHO Solis]; Party of the Democratic Revolution or PRD [Amalia GARCIA Medina]; Party of the Mexican Revolution or PARM [leader NA]; Party of the Nationalist Society or PSN [Gustavo RIOJAIS Santana]; Social Alliance Party or PAS [Jose Antonio CALDERON Cardoso]; Social Democratic Party or PDS [Gilberto RINCON Gallardo]; Workers Party or PT [Alberto ANAYA Gutierrez]

Political pressure groups and leaders: 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; Revolutionary Workers Party or PRT; Roman Catholic Church

International organization participation: APEC, BCIE, BIS, Caricom (observer), CCC, CDB, EBRD, ECLAC, FAO, G-3, G-6, G-11, G-15, G-19, G-24, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IEA (observer), IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO, ITU, LAES, LAIA, NAM (observer), NEA, OAS, OECD, OPANAL, OPCW, 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
  FAX: [1] (202) 728-1698
  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 Juan (Puerto Rico)
  consulate(s): Albuquerque, Brownsville (Texas), Calexico (California), Corpus Christi, Del Rio (Texas), Detroit, Douglas (Arizona), Eagle Pass (Texas), Fresno (California), McAllen (Texas), Midland (Texas), Orlando, Oxnard (California), Philadelphia, Portland (Oregon), St. Louis, Salt Lake City, San Bernardino, San Jose, Santa Ana (California), Seattle, Tucson

Diplomatic representation from the US
  chief of mission: Ambassador Jeffery DAVIDOW
  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) 209-9100
  FAX: [52] (5) 208-3373, 511-9980
  consulate(s) general: Ciudad Juarez, Guadalajara, Monterrey, Tijuana
  consulate(s): Hermosillo, Matamoros, Merida, Nuevo Laredo, Nogales

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

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 1999. The ZEDILLO administration is privatizing and expanding competition in sea ports, railroads, telecommunications, electricity, natural gas distribution, and airports. A strong export sector helped to cushion the economy's decline in 1995 and led the recovery in 1996-99. Private consumption became the leading driver of growth, accompanied by increased employment and higher wages. 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. Trade with the US and Canada has nearly doubled since NAFTA was implemented in 1994. Mexico is pursuing additional trade agreements with most countries in Latin America and has signed a free trade deal with the EU to lessen its dependence on the US. The government is pursuing conservative economic policies in 2000 to avoid another end-of-term economic crisis, but it still projects an economic growth rate of 4.5% because of the strong US economy and high oil prices.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $865.5 billion (1999 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: 3.7% (1999 est.)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $8,500 (1999 est.)

GDP - composition by sector
  agriculture: 5%
  industry: 29%
  services: 66% (1999)

Population below poverty line: 27% (1998 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share
  lowest 10%: 1.8%
  highest 10%: 36.6% (1996)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 15% (1999 est.)

Labor force: 38.6 million (1999)

Labor force - by occupation: agriculture 24%, industry 21%, services 55% (1997)

Unemployment rate: 2.5% urban (1998); plus considerable underemployment

Budget
  revenues: $117 billion
  expenditures: $123 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (1998 est.)

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

Industrial production growth rate: 4% (1999 est.)

Electricity - production: 176.055 billion kWh (1998)

Electricity - production by source
  fossil fuel: 78.12%
  hydro: 13.82%
  nuclear: 5%
  other: 3.06% (1998)

Electricity - consumption: 164.767 billion kWh (1998)

Electricity - exports: 11 million kWh (1998)

Electricity - imports: 1.047 billion kWh (1998)

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

Exports: $136.8 billion (f.o.b., 1999), includes in-bond industries (assembly plant operations with links to US companies)

Exports - commodities: manufactured goods, oil and oil products, silver, coffee, cotton

Exports - partners: US 89.3%, Canada 1.7%, Spain 0.6%, Japan 0.5%, Venezuela 0.3%, Chile 0.3%, Brazil 0.3% (1999 est.)

Imports: $142.1 billion (f.o.b., 1999), includes in-bond industries (assembly plant operations with links to US companies)

Imports - commodities: metal-working machines, steel mill products, agricultural machinery, electrical equipment, car parts for assembly, repair parts for motor vehicles, aircraft, and aircraft parts

Imports - partners: US 74.8%, Germany 3.8%, Japan 3.5%, Canada 1.9%, South Korea 2%, Italy 1.3%, France 1% (1999 est.)

Debt - external: $155.8 billion (1999)

Economic aid - recipient: $1.166 billion (1995)

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

Exchange rates: Mexican pesos (Mex$) per US$1 - 9.4793 (January 2000), 9.5604 (1999), 9.1360 (1998), 7.9185 (1997), 7.5994(1996), 6.4194 (1995)

Fiscal year: calendar year

Communications

Telephones - main lines in use: 9.6 million (1998)

Telephones - mobile cellular: 2.02 million (1998)

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; 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: AM 865, FM about 500, shortwave 13 (1999)

Radios: 31 million (1997)

Television broadcast stations: 236 (plus repeaters) (1997)

Televisions: 25.6 million (1997)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 167 (1999)

Transportation

Railways
  total: 31,048 km
  standard gauge: 30,958 km 1.435-m gauge (246 km electrified)
  narrow gauge: 90 km 0.914-m gauge (1998 est.)

Highways
  total: 323,977 km
  paved: 96,221 km (including 6,335 km of expressways)
  unpaved: 227,756 km (1997 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: 46 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 633,219 GRT/970,947 DWT
  ships by type: bulk 2, cargo 1, chemical tanker 4, liquified gas 4, petroleum tanker 29, roll-on/roll-off 3, short-sea passenger 3 (1999 est.)

Airports: 1,806 (1999 est.)

Airports - with paved runways
  total: 233
  over 3,047 m: 10
  2,438 to 3,047 m: 28
  1,524 to 2,437 m: 87
  914 to 1,523 m: 81
  under 914 m: 27 (1999 est.)

Airports - with unpaved runways
  total: 1,573
  over 3,047 m: 1
  2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
  1,524 to 2,437 m: 63
  914 to 1,523 m: 473
  under 914 m: 1,035 (1999 est.)

Heliports: 2 (1999 est.)

Military

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 (Note: starting in 2000, females will be allowed to volunteer for military service)

Military manpower - availability
  males age 15-49: 26,171,141 (2000 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service
  males age 15-49: 19,022,012 (2000 est.)

Military manpower - reaching military age annually
  males: 1,073,809 (2000 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure: $4 billion (FY99)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 1% (FY99)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international: none

Illicit drugs: illicit cultivation of opium poppy (cultivation in 1998 - 5,500 hectares; potential production - 60 metric tons) and cannabis cultivation in 1998 - 4,600 hectares; government eradication efforts have been key in keeping illicit crop levels low; major supplier of heroin and marijuana to the US market; continues as the primary transshipment country for US-bound cocaine from South America; involved in the production and distribution of methamphetamines; upsurge in drug-related violence and official corruption; major drug syndicates growing more powerful

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