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Mexico, and also referred to as the United States of Mexico (Spanish: Estados Unidos de México), is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of Mexico. Covering almost two million square kilometres (over 760,000 sq mi), Mexico is the fifth largest country in the Americas by total area and the 13th largest independent nation in the world. With an estimated population of over 113 million, it is the eleventh most populous and the most populous Spanish-speaking country in the world and the second most populous country in Latin America. Mexico is a federation comprising thirty-one states and a Federal District, the capital city.

  • Geographical data

    • Mexico is located between latitudes 14° and 33°N, and longitudes 86° and 119°W in the southern portion of North America. Almost all of Mexico lies in the North American Plate, with small parts of the Baja California peninsula on the Pacific and Cocos Plates. Geophysically, some geographers include the territory east of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec (around 12% of the total) within Central America. Geopolitically, however, Mexico is entirely considered part of North America, along with Canada and the United States.

      Mexico's total area is 1,972,550 km2 (761,606 sq mi), making it the world's 14th largest country by total area, and includes approximately 6,000 km2 (2,317 sq mi) of islands in the Pacific Ocean (including the remote Guadalupe Island and the Revillagigedo Islands), Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean, and Gulf of California. From its farthest land points, Mexico is a little over 2,000 mi (3,219 km) in length.

      On its north, Mexico shares a 3,141 km (1,952 mi) border with the United States. The meandering Río Bravo del Norte (known as the Rio Grande in the United States) defines the border from Ciudad Juárez east to the Gulf of Mexico. A series of natural and artificial markers delineate the United States-Mexican border west from Ciudad Juárez to the Pacific Ocean. On its south, Mexico shares an 871 km (541 mi) border with Guatemala and a 251 km (156 mi) border with Belize.

      Mexico is crossed from north to south by two mountain ranges known as Sierra Madre Oriental and Sierra Madre Occidental, which are the extension of the Rocky Mountains from northern North America. From east to west at the center, the country is crossed by the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt also known as the Sierra Nevada. A fourth mountain range, the Sierra Madre del Sur, runs from Michoacán to Oaxaca.

      As such, the majority of the Mexican central and northern territories are located at high altitudes, and the highest elevations are found at the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt: Pico de Orizaba (5,700 m or 18,701 ft), Popocatepetl (5,462 m or 17,920 ft) and Iztaccihuatl (5,286 m or 17,343 ft) and the Nevado de Toluca (4,577 m or 15,016 ft). Three major urban agglomerations are located in the valleys between these four elevations: Toluca, Greater Mexico City and Puebla.

  • Demographics

    • The recently conducted 2010 Census showed a population of 112,336,538, making it the most populous Spanish-speaking country in the world. Between 2005 and 2010, the Mexican population grew at an average of 1.70% per year, up from 1.16% per year between 2000 and 2005.

      Mexico is ethnically diverse; the various indigenous peoples and European immigrants are united under a single national identity. The core part of Mexican national identity is formed on the basis of a synthesis of European culture with Indigenous cultures in a process known as mestizaje, alluding to the mixed biological origins of the majority of Mexicans. Mexican politicians and reformers such as José Vasconcelos and Manuel Gamio were instrumental in building a Mexican national identity on the concept of mestizaje. The term mestizo, often used in literature about Mexican social identities, carries a variety of socio-cultural, economic, racial and biological meanings. For this reason it has been deemed too imprecise to be used for ethnic classification and has been abandoned in Mexican censuses.

      The category of indígena (indigenous) can be defined narrowly according to linguistic criteria including only speakers of one of Mexico's 62 indigenous languages or people who self-identify as having an indigenous cultural background. According to the National Commission for the Development of Indigenous Peoples, in 2005 there were 10.1 million Mexicans who spoke an indigenous language and claimed indigenous heritage, representing 9.8% of the total population.

      While the term mestizo is sometimes used in English with the meaning of a person with mixed indigenous and European blood, this usage does not conform to the Mexican social reality where a person of pure indigenous genetic heritage would be considered Mestizo either by rejecting his indigenous culture or by not speaking an indigenous language, and a person with a very low percentage of indigenous genetic heritage would be considered fully indigenous either by speaking an indigenous language or by identifying with a particular indigenous cultural heritage.

      Mexico represents the largest source of immigration to the United States. About 9% of the population born in Mexico is now living in the United States. 28.3 million Americans listed their ancestry as Mexican in 2006. Per the 2000 U.S. Census, a plurality of 47.3% of Mexican Americans self identify as White, closely followed by Mexican Americans who self identify as "Some other race", usually Mestizo (European/Indian) with 45.5%.

      Mexico is home to the largest number of U.S. citizens abroad (estimated at one million in 1999). The Argentine community is considered to be the second-largest foreign community in the country (estimated somewhere between 30,000 and 150,000). Mexico also has a large Lebanese community, now numbering around 400,000. In October 2008, Mexico agreed to deport Cubans using the country as an entry point to the US. Large numbers of Central American migrants who have crossed Guatemala's western border into Mexico are deported every year. Small numbers of illegal immigrants come from Ecuador, Cuba, China, South Africa, and Pakistan.

  • Administrative divisions

    • The United Mexican States are a federation of 31 free and sovereign states, which form a union that exercises a degree of jurisdiction over the Federal District and other territories.

      Each state has its own constitution, congress, and a judiciary, and its citizens elect by direct voting a governor for a six-year term, and representatives to their respective unicameral state congresses for three-year terms.

      The Federal District is a special political division that belongs to the federation as a whole and not to a particular state, and as such, has more limited local rule than the nation's states.

      The states are divided into municipalities, the smallest administrative political entity in the country, governed by a mayor or municipal president (presidente municipal), elected by its residents by plurality.

  • Economy

    • Mexico has the 14th largest nominal GDP and the 10th largest by purchasing power parity. GDP annual average growth for the period of 1995–2002 was 5.1%. Mexico's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in purchasing power parity (PPP) was estimated at US $1,748.908 billion in 2012, and $1,231.642 billion in nominal exchange rates. As such, its standard of living, as measured in GDP in PPP per capita was US $15,782.897. The World Bank reported in 2009 that the country's Gross National Income in market exchange rates was the second highest in Latin America, after Brazil at US $1,830.392 billion, which lead to the highest income per capita in the region at $14,400. As such, Mexico is now firmly established as an upper middle-income country. After the slowdown of 2001 the country has recovered and has grown 4.2, 3.0 and 4.8 percent in 2004, 2005 and 2006, even though it is considered to be well below Mexico's potential growth.

      From the late 1990s onwards, the majority of the population has been part of the growing middle class. But from 2004 to 2008 the portion of the population who received less than half of the median income has risen from 17% to 21% and the absolute levels of poverty have risen considerably from 2006 to 2010, with a rise in persons living in extreme or moderate poverty rising from 35 to 46% (52 million persons). This is also reflected by the fact that infant mortality in Mexico is three times higher than the average among OECD nations, and the literacy levels are in the median range of OECD nations. According to Goldman Sachs, by 2050 Mexico will have the 5th largest economy in the world.

      Among the OECD countries, Mexico has the second highest degree of economic disparity between the extremely poor and extremely rich, after Chile – although it has been falling over the last decade. The bottom ten percent in the income hierarchy disposes of 1.36% of the country's resources, whereas the upper ten percent dispose of almost 36%. OECD also notes that Mexico's budgeted expenses for poverty alleviation and social development is only about a third of the OECD average – both in absolute and relative numbers.

      According to a 2008 UN report the average income in a typical urbanized area of Mexico was $26,654, while the average income in rural areas just miles away was only $8,403. Daily minimum wages are set annually by law and determined by zone; $57.46 Mexican pesos ($5.75 USD) in Zone A (Baja California, Federal District, State of Mexico, and large cities), $55.84 Mexican pesos ($5.59 USD) in Zone B (Sonora, Nuevo León, Tamaulipas, Veracruz, and Jalisco), and $54.47 Mexican pesos ($5.45 USD) in Zone C (all other states)

      The electronics industry of Mexico has grown enormously within the last decade. Mexico has the sixth largest electronics industry in the world after China, United States, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. Mexico is the second largest exporter of electronics to the United States where it exported $71.4 billion worth of electronics in 2011. The Mexican electronics industry is dominated by the manufacture and OEM design of televisions, displays, computers, mobile phones, circuit boards, semiconductors, electronic appliances, communications equipment and LCD modules. The Mexican electronics industry grew 20% between 2010 and 2011, up from its constant growth rate of 17% between 2003 and 2009. Currently electronics represent 30% of Mexico's exports.

      Mexico produces the most automobiles of any North American nation. The industry produces technologically complex components and engages in some research and development activities. The "Big Three" (General Motors, Ford and Chrysler) have been operating in Mexico since the 1930s, while Volkswagen and Nissan built their plants in the 1960s. In Puebla alone, 70 industrial part-makers cluster around Volkswagen. The relatively small domestic car industry is represented by DINA S.A., which has built buses and trucks since 1962, and the new Mastretta company that builds the high-performance Mastretta MXT sports car. In 2006, trade with the United States and Canada accounted for almost 50% of Mexico's exports and 45% of its imports. During the first three quarters of 2010, the United States had a $46.0 billion trade deficit with Mexico. In August 2010 Mexico surpassed France to became the 9th largest holder of US debt. The commercial and financial dependence on the US is a cause for concern.

      The remittances from Mexican citizens working in the United States account for 0.2% of Mexico's GDP which was equal to US$20 billion per year in 2004 and is the tenth largest source of foreign income after oil, industrial exports, manufactured goods, electronics, heavy industry, automobiles, construction, food, banking and financial services. According to Mexico's central bank, remittances in 2008 amounted to $25bn.

      Major players in the broadcasting industry are Televisa, the largest Spanish media company in the Spanish-speaking world, and TV Azteca.
  • Culture

    • Mexican culture reflects the complexity of the country's history through the blending of indigenous cultures and the culture of Spain, imparted during Spain's 300-year colonization of Mexico. Exogenous cultural elements have been incorporated into Mexican culture as time have passed.

      The Porfirian era (el Porfiriato), in the last quarter of the 19th century and the first decade of the 20th century, was marked by economic progress and peace. After four decades of civil unrest and war, Mexico saw the development of philosophy and the arts, promoted by President Díaz himself. Since that time, as accentuated during the Mexican Revolution, cultural identity has had its foundation in the mestizaje, of which the indigenous (i.e. Amerindian) element is the core. In light of the various ethnicities that formed the Mexican people, José Vasconcelos in his publication La Raza Cósmica (The Cosmic Race) (1925) defined Mexico to be the melting pot of all races (thus extending the definition of the mestizo) not only biologically but culturally as well.


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