land of enchantment


The site of several advanced Amerindian civilizations - including the Olmec, Toltec, Teotihuacan, Zapotec, Maya, and Aztec - Mexico was conquered and colonized by Spain in the early 16th century. Administered as the Viceroyalty of New Spain for three centuries, it achieved its independence early in the 19th century. The global financial crisis beginning in late 2008 caused a massive economic downturn the following year, although growth returned quickly in 2010. 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 indigenous population in the impoverished southern states. The elections held in 2000 marked the first time since the 1910 Mexican Revolution that an opposition candidate - Vicente FOX of the National Action Party (PAN) - defeated the party in government, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). He was succeeded in 2006 by another PAN candidate Felipe CALDERON, but the PRI regained the presidency in 2012. Since 2007, Mexico's powerful drug-trafficking organizations have engaged in bloody feuding, resulting in tens of thousands of drug-related homicides.



North America, bordering the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, between Belize and the United States and bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between Guatemala and the United States

Geographic coordinates:

23 00 N, 102 00 W

Map references:

North America


total: 1,964,375 sq km

country comparison to the world: 14

land: 1,943,945 sq km

water: 20,430 sq km

Area - comparative:

slightly less than three times the size of Texas

Land boundaries:

total: 4,353 km

border countries: Belize 250 km, Guatemala 962 km, US 3,141 km


9,330 km

Maritime claims:

territorial sea: 12 nm

contiguous zone: 24 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin


varies from tropical to desert


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: 12.98%

permanent crops: 1.36%

other: 85.66% (2011)

Irrigated land:

64,600 sq km (2009)

Total renewable water resources:

457.2 cu km (2011)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):

total: 80.4 cu km/yr (14%/9%/77%)

per capita: 700.4 cu m/yr (2009)

Natural hazards:

tsunamis along the Pacific coast, volcanoes and destructive earthquakes in the center and south, and hurricanes on the Pacific, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean coasts

volcanism: volcanic activity in the central-southern part of the country; the volcanoes in Baja California are mostly dormant; Colima (elev. 3,850 m), which erupted in 2010, is Mexico's most active volcano and is responsible for causing periodic evacuations of nearby villagers; it has been deemed a "Decade Volcano" by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior, worthy of study due to its explosive history and close proximity to human populations; Popocatepetl (elev. 5,426 m) poses a threat to Mexico City; other historically active volcanoes include Barcena, Ceboruco, El Chichon, Michoacan-Guanajuato, Pico de Orizaba, San Martin, Socorro, and Tacana

Environment - current issues:

scarcity of hazardous waste disposal facilities; rural to urban migration; natural freshwater 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; deteriorating agricultural lands; serious air and water pollution in the national capital and urban centers along US-Mexico border; land subsidence in Valley of Mexico caused by groundwater depletion

note: the government considers the lack of clean water and deforestation national security issues

Environment - international agreements:

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, 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; corn (maize), one of the world's major grain crops, is thought to have originated in Mexico


Economy - overview:

Mexico has a free market economy in the trillion dollar class. It contains a mixture of modern and outmoded industry and agriculture, increasingly dominated by the private sector. Recent administrations have expanded competition in seaports, railroads, telecommunications, electricity generation, natural gas distribution, and airports. Per capita income is roughly one-third that of the US; income distribution remains highly unequal. Since the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994, Mexico's share of US imports has increased from 7% to 12%, and its share of Canadian imports has doubled to 5.5%. Mexico has free trade agreements with over 50 countries including Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, the European Free Trade Area, and Japan - putting more than 90% of trade under free trade agreements. In 2012 Mexico formally joined the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations and in July it formed the Pacific Alliance with Peru, Colombia and Chile. In 2007, during its first year in office, the Felipe CALDERON administration was able to garner support from the opposition to successfully pass pension and fiscal reforms. The administration passed an energy reform measure in 2008 and another fiscal reform in 2009. Mexico's GDP plunged 6.2% in 2009 as world demand for exports dropped, asset prices tumbled, and remittances and investment declined. GDP posted positive growth of 5.6% in 2010 with exports - particularly to the United States - leading the way. Growth slowed to 3.9% in 2011 and slightly recovered to 4% in 2012. In November 2012, Mexico's legislature passed a comprehensive labor reform which was signed into law by former President Felipe CALDERON. Mexico's new PRI government, led by President Enrique PENA NIETO, has said it will prioritize structural economic reforms and competitiveness. The new president signed the Pact for Mexico, an agreement that lists 95 priority commitments, along with the leaders of the country's three main political parties: the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), the National Action Party (PAN) and the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD).

GDP (purchasing power parity):

$1.788 trillion (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 12

$1.72 trillion (2011 est.)

$1.655 trillion (2010 est.)

note: data are in 2012 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate):

$1.177 trillion (2012 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

3.9% (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 86

3.9% (2011 est.)

5.3% (2010 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$15,600 (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 88

$15,100 (2011 est.)

$14,700 (2010 est.)

note: data are in 2012 US dollars

Gross national saving:

23.9% of GDP (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 52

24.3% of GDP (2011 est.)

23.7% of GDP (2010 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use:

household consumption: 64.8%

government consumption: 11.6%

investment in fixed capital: 20.7%

investment in inventories: 4%

exports of goods and services: 32.9%

imports of goods and services: -34%

(2012 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin:

agriculture: 4.1%

industry: 34.2%

services: 61.8% (2012 est.)

Agriculture - products:

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


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

Industrial production growth rate:

3.6% (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 77

Labor force:

50.64 million (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 12

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 13.7%

industry: 23.4%

services: 62.9% (2005)

Unemployment rate:

5% (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 45

5.2% (2011 est.)

note: underemployment may be as high as 25%

Population below poverty line:


note: based on food-based definition of poverty; asset based poverty amounted to more than 47% (2010 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: 1.5%

highest 10%: 41.4% (2008)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:

48.3 (2008)

country comparison to the world: 25

53.1 (1998)


revenues: $266.9 billion

expenditures: $297.7 billion (2012 est.)

Taxes and other revenues:

22.7% of GDP (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 144

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):

-2.6% of GDP (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 102

Public debt:

35.9% of GDP (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 101

35.3% of GDP (2011 est.)

Fiscal year:

calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

4.1% (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 130

3.4% (2011 est.)

Central bank discount rate:

4.5% (31 December 2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 81

4.5% (31 December 2011 est.)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:

4.73% (31 December 2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 159

4.92% (31 December 2011 est.)

Stock of narrow money:

$175.2 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 22

$148.9 billion (31 December 2011 est.)

Stock of broad money:

$738 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 20

$684.1 billion (31 December 2011 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:

$404.6 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 30

$359.5 billion (31 December 2011 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares:

$408.7 billion (31 December 2011)

country comparison to the world: 22

$454.3 billion (31 December 2010)

$340.6 billion (31 December 2009)

Current account balance:

-$11 billion (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 176

-$11.07 billion (2011 est.)


$370.9 billion (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 16

$349.4 billion (2011 est.)

Exports - commodities:

manufactured goods, oil and oil products, silver, fruits, vegetables, coffee, cotton

Exports - partners:

US 78% (2012)


$370.8 billion (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 15

$350.8 billion (2011 est.)

Imports - commodities:

metalworking machines, steel mill products, agricultural machinery, electrical equipment, car parts for assembly, repair parts for motor vehicles, aircraft, and aircraft parts

Imports - partners:

US 50.5%, China 15.5%, Japan 4.8% (2012)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:

$167.1 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 18

$149.3 billion (31 December 2011 est.)

Debt - external:

$352.9 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 31

$286.6 billion (31 December 2011 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:

$315 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 18

$302.3 billion (31 December 2011 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:

$137.7 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 26

$112.1 billion (31 December 2011 est.)

Exchange rates:

Mexican pesos (MXN) per US dollar -

13.17 (2012 est.)

12.423 (2011 est.)

12.636 (2010 est.)

13.514 (2009)

11.016 (2008)


Secretariat of National Defense (Secretaria de Defensa Nacional, Sedena): Army (Ejercito), Mexican Air Force (Fuerza Aerea Mexicana, FAM); Secretariat of the Navy (Secretaria de Marina, Semar): Mexican Navy (Armada de Mexico (ARM); includes Naval Air Force (FAN), Mexican Naval Infantry Corps (Cuerpo de Infanteria de Marina, Mexmar or CIM)) (2013)

Military service age and obligation:

18 years of age for compulsory military service, conscript service obligation is 12 months; 16 years of age with consent for voluntary enlistment; conscripts serve only in the Army; Navy and Air Force service is all voluntary; women are eligible for voluntary military service; cadets enrolled in military schools from the age of 15 are considered members of the armed forces (2012)

Manpower available for military service:

males age 16-49: 28,815,506

females age 16-49: 30,363,558 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:

males age 16-49: 23,239,866

females age 16-49: 25,642,549 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:

male: 1,105,371

female: 1,067,007 (2010 est.)

Military expenditures:

0.5% of GDP (2012)

country comparison to the world: 162

All this information is on cia world factbook