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Mexico Facts and Figures

Basic Facts:
Conventional long name: United Mexican States
Conventional short name: Mexico
Government Type: Federal Republic
President: Enrique Pea Nieto
Elections: President elected by popular vote (single six-year term);
election last held on 1 July 2012
Current Population: 112,336,538 (INEGI, 2010)
Capital and largest city: Mexico City (pop: 8,851,080)
Gross Domestic Product: $1.261 trillion USD in 2013 (World Bank)
Gross National Income: $9,940 USD in 2013 (World Bank)
Poverty at national poverty lines (% of population): 52.3% (World Bank)
Life expectancy at birth, total (years): 77 years
History
The territory of Mexico saw the rise of several advanced Amerindian
civilizations - including the Olmec, Toltec, Teotihuacan, Zapotec, Maya,
and Aztec. In the early 16th century, Mexico was conquered and
colonized by Spain and administered as the Viceroyalty of New Spain for
three centuries, it achieved its independence in 1821. Most of the 19 th
century was marked by social and political unrest. In the mid-19th
century, Mexico lost more than half of its territory to the United States,
first with the independence of Texas in 1836, and then after the MexicanAmerican War of 1846-1848.
After years of civil war and internal conflicts, a monarchy was
established under Ferdinand Maximilian Joseph of the House of
Habsburg-Lorraine. This Second Mexican Empire was brief, lasting only
from 1864 to 1867. The Republic was reestablished under the presidency
of Benito Jurez, and less than ten years later, Porfirio Daz would rise to
power to govern Mexico for more than 30 years. This would be the cause
of the Mexican Revolution; a violent struggle that transformed social
organization and shifted political power to a rising middle class. The end
of the Revolution marked the beginning of a 70 year rule of a single
party, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).
The opposition candidate Vicente Fox of the National Action Party (PAN)
won the presidential elections held in 2000 and defeated the PRI for the
first time since the Mexican Revolution. Felipe Caldern, another PAN

candidate, succeeded him in 2006. In 2012, Enrique Pea Nieto regained


power for the PRI, and current serves as Mexican president.
Current political and economic reality
The most important economic and social problems that Mexico currently
faces include: low wages, underemployment for a large segment of the
population, unbalanced income distribution, few economic opportunities
for the indigenous population, and rampant drug-related violence that
has caused tens of thousands of homicides since 2007.
After assuming the presidency, Enrique Pea Nieto launched an
ambitious program of reforms. In less than two years, he managed to
broaden its source of revenues through a fiscal reform, he expanded the
telecom and broadcasting market, he implemented more scrutiny on
teachers unions through an education reform, and liberalized the energy
sector, ending the state monopoly on oil extraction and sales, as well as
electricity production.
Nevertheless, these reforms have not produced the desired economic
growth. In 2013, the Mexican economy grew a mere 1.1%, and the
situation did not improve substantially in 2014, when the economy grew
at a rate of 2.4%. Also, job creation rates have been the lowest of the
last five years.
The government blames these economic problems on drug-related
violence and on the lack of time to see the full effects of the reforms. In
October, the Central Bank published a survey that showed public
security problems as the top obstacle to Mexicos economic expansion,
followed by fiscal policy, weak domestic demand and international
financial instability.
Since assuming office, the Pea Nieto administration has been marked
by social tension and unrest. First it was the student movement called
#YoSoy132, which started demanding an end to corruption, but ended
being radicalized. Throughout the 2012 presidential campaign,
#YoSoy132 accused the Pea Nietos political team of corruption, vote
buying, and having shadowy ties with Televisa (the largest television
broadcaster in Mexico), which eventually helped him win the election.
In the last few months, the Pea Nieto administration has been rocked
by a series of scandals and tragedies, the most important being the
mass kidnapping of 43 students in the community of Iguala, in the state
of Guerrero. While the Presidency tried to control the damage caused by
this event, the press released a story of a 7 million dollar mansion given
to Enrique Pea Nieto and his wife, Anglica Rivera, by a construction
company called Higa. This caused a social uproar, and allegations of

corruption began unfold, saying Pea Nieto granted multi-million dollar


construction projects to Higa during his term as governor of Mexico State
and as President of Mexico.

Sources: CIA World Fact Book, The Economist, Bloomberg, LA Times, INEGI,
BBC.