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  • [Country flag of Mexico]

    Mexico

    [Country map of Mexico]

    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, 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

    Population: 97,563,374 (July 1997 est.)

    Age structure:
    0-14 years : 36% (male 17,849,251; female 17,236,639)
    15-64 years: 60% (male 28,241,361; female 29,883,766)
    65 years and over: 4% (male 1,982,329; female 2,370,028) (July 1997 est.)

    Population growth rate: 1.84% (1997 est.)

    Birth rate: 25.8 births/1,000 population (1997 est.)

    Death rate: 4.52 deaths/1,000 population (1997 est.)

    Net migration rate: -2.92 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1997 est.)

    Sex ratio:
    at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
    under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
    15-64 years: 0.94 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.84 male(s)/female
    total population : 0.97 male(s)/female (1997 est.)

    Infant mortality rate: 23.9 deaths/1,000 live births (1997 est.)

    Life expectancy at birth:
    total population: 74 years
    male: 70.39 years
    female: 77.78 years (1997 est.)

    Total fertility rate: 2.97 children born/woman (1997 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 dialects

    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 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
    elections: president elected by popular vote for a six-year term; election last held 21 August 1994 (next to be held NA 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; members are elected by popular vote to serve six-year terms) and the Chamber of Deputies or Camara de Diputados (500 seats; members are directly elected by popular vote to serve three-year terms)
    elections: Senate - last held 21 August 1994 (next to be held 6 July 1997 for one-quarter of the seats); Chamber of Deputies - last held 24 August 1994 (next to be held 6 July 1997)
    election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party in expanded Senate - PRI 93, PRD 25, PAN 10; Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PRI 300, PAN 119, PRD 71, PT 10

    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), Humberto ROQUE Villanueva; National Action Party (PAN), Felipe CALDERON Hinojosa; Popular Socialist Party (PPS), Indalecio SAYAGO Herrera; Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), Andres Manuel LOPEZ Obrador; Cardenist Front for the National Reconstruction Party (PFCRN), Rafael AGUILAR Talamantes; Democratic Forum Party (PFD), Pablo Emilio MADERO; Mexican Green Ecologist Party (PVEM), Jorge GONZALEZ Torres; Workers Party (PT), Alberto ANYA 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 SILVA Herzog Flores
    chancery: 1911 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20006
    telephone: [1] (202) 728-1600
    consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, El Paso, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Phoenix, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, San Juan (Puerto Rico)
    consulate(s): Albuquerque, Austin, Boston, Brownsville (Texas), Calexico (California), Corpus Christi, Del Rio (Texas), Detroit, Eagle Pass (Texas), Fresno (California), Laredo, McAllen (Texas), Midland (Texas), Nogales (Arizona), Oxnard (California), Philadelphia, Sacramento, St. Louis, Salt Lake City, San Bernardino, San Jose, Santa Ana, Seattle

    Diplomatic representation from the US:
    chief of mission: Ambassador James R. JONES
    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

    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 Mexican economy enters 1997 in the midst of an economic recovery that began to pick up steam in mid-1996. After plummeting more than 6% in 1995 in the aftermath of the peso crisis, economic activity in Mexico grew by an estimated 5.1% in 1996. Many private forecasters who had scoffed at the ZEDILLO administration's 3% growth target for 1996 are now projecting economic expansion of 4-5% for 1997. Strong export growth continues to drive the economy; total exports were up roughly 16% in 1996 compared to 1995. By the end of 1996, however, Mexican government statistics showed that increased domestic consumption and investment spending were also beginning to contribute to the recovery. Despite these positive economic trends, structural problems and vulnerabilities remain. Low savings rates will keep Mexico dependent on foreign capital; national savings as a share of GDP plunged from a peak of 25% in 1983 to less than 14% in 1994. Additionally, Mexico City is still struggling to bail out a banking sector burdened with bad debts. Mexico's international trade continues to be highly dependent on the US market. The US/Mexico trade balance has shifted over the last two years because of the peso's rapid devaluation in late 1994, which made Mexican exports much more attractive. In 1995 and 1996, the US ran trade deficits with Mexico, a large turnaround from 1994's trade surplus of about $1.3 billion.

    GDP: purchasing power parity - $777.3 billion (1996 est.)

    GDP - real growth rate: 5.1% (1996 est.)

    GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $8,100 (1996 est.)

    GDP - composition by sector:
    agriculture : 8%
    industry: 28%
    services: 63% (1995 est.)

    Inflation rate - consumer price index: 28% (1996 est.)

    Labor force:
    total: 36.3 million (November 1996)
    by occupation: services 31.7%, agriculture, forestry, hunting, and fishing 28%, commerce 14.6%, manufacturing 11.1%, construction 8.4%, transportation 4.7%, mining and quarrying 1.5%

    Unemployment rate: 10% (1996 est.) plus considerable underemployment

    Budget:
    revenues: $73.8 billion
    expenditures: $74 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (1996 est.)

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

    Industrial production growth rate: 11% (1996 est.)

    Electricity - capacity: 40.502 million kW (1995)

    Electricity - production: 142.344 billion kWh (1995)

    Electricity - consumption per capita: 1,206 kWh (1995 est.)

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

    Exports:
    total value: $95 billion (f.o.b., 1996 est.), includes in-bond industries
    commodities: crude oil, oil products, coffee, silver, engines, motor vehicles, cotton, consumer electronics
    partners: US 80%, Canada 5.2%, Japan 1.8% (1996 est.)

    Imports:
    total value : $88.5 billion (f.o.b., 1996 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 5.1%, Germany 3.65%, Canada 1.4%, France 1.1% (1996 est.)

    Debt - external: $170 billion (1996 est.)

    Economic aid:
    recipient: ODA, $85 million (1993)
    note : US commitments, (Emergency Stabilization Fund), $13.5 billion; IMF, $13 billion (1995-96)

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

    Exchange rates: market rate of Mexican pesos (Mex$) per US$1 - 7.8270 (January 1997), 7.6009 (1996), 6.4194 (1995), 3.3751 (1994), 3.1156 (1993), 3,094.9 (1992)
    note: the new peso replaced the old peso on 1 January 1993; 1 new peso = 1,000 old pesos

    Fiscal year: calendar year

    Communications

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

    Telephone system: highly developed system with extensive microwave radio relay links; privatized in December 1990
    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 679, FM 0, shortwave 22

    Radios: 22.5 million (1992 est.)

    Television broadcast stations: 238

    Televisions: 13.1 million (1992 est.)

    Transportation

    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 : 249,520 km
    paved: 93,071 km (including 5,920 km of expressways)
    unpaved: 156,449 km (1995 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: 51 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 899,032 GRT/1,297,346 DWT
    ships by type: 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 (1996 est.)

    Airports: 1,415 (1996 est.)

    Airports - with paved runways:
    total: 1,003
    over 3,047 m : 9
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 26
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 92
    914 to 1,523 m: 71
    under 914 m : 805 (1996 est.)

    Airports - with unpaved runways:
    total: 412
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 50
    914 to 1,523 m: 362 (1996 est.)

    Military

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

    Military manpower - military age: 18 years of age

    Military manpower - availability:
    males age 15-49: 24,518,142 (1997 est.)

    Military manpower - fit for military service:
    males: 17,857,361 (1997 est.)

    Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
    males : 1,062,640 (1997 est.)

    Military expenditures - dollar figure: $1.56 billion (1997 est.)

    Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 1.5% (1997 est.)

    Transnational Issues

    Disputes - international: none

    Illicit drugs: illicit cultivation of opium poppy 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