Demographics of Mexico
|Demographics of Mexico|
Population of Mexico, 1961–2003
|Growth rate||1.4% (2015)|
|Birth rate||18.3 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)|
|Death rate||5.8 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)|
|Life expectancy||76.66 years|
|• male||73.84 years|
|• female||79.63 years (2012 est.)|
|Fertility rate||2.2 children born/woman (2016)|
|Infant mortality rate||16.77 deaths/1,000 live births|
|Net migration rate||-1.64 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2014 est.)|
|0–14 years||27.8% (male 16,329,415/ female 15,648,127)|
|15–64 years||65.5% (male 36,385,426/ female 38,880,768)|
|65 and over||6.7% (male 3,459,939/ female 4,271,731) (2012 est.)|
|Total||0.96 male(s)/female (2011 est.)|
|At birth||1.04 male(s)/female|
|Under 15||1.05 male(s)/female|
|15–64 years||0.94 male(s)/female|
|65 and over||0.81 male(s)/female|
|Minor ethnic||10% Indigenous
|Spoken||Zapotec, Italian, Nahuatl, Arabic, Mixtec, Purépecha, English, Tzeltal, German, Chinese and many others are also spoken varying by region|
With a population of 119,530,753 as of 2015, Mexico is the most populous Spanish-speaking country in the world, the second-most populous country in Latin America after Portuguese-speaking Brazil, and the second in North America, after the United States; the third largest in the Americas after the two countries mentioned above. Throughout most of the twentieth century Mexico's population was characterized by rapid growth. Although this tendency has been reversed and average annual population growth over the last five years was less than 1%, the demographic transition is still in progress, and Mexico still has a large cohort of youths. The most populous city in the country is the capital, Mexico City, with a population of 8.8 million (2010), and its metropolitan area is also the most populated with 20.1 million (2010). Approximately 50% of the population lives in one of the 55 large metropolitan areas in the country. In total, about 78.84% of the population of the country lives in urban areas, meaning that only 21.16% live in rural areas.
The Census Inegi in Mexico is the Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía (INEGI). The National Population Council (CONAPO), is an institution under the Secretary of the Interior in charge of the analysis and research of population dynamics. The National Commission for the Development of Indigenous Peoples (CDI), also undertakes research and analysis of the sociodemographic and linguistic indicators of the indigenous peoples in Mexico.
- 1 Demographic dynamics
- 2 Vital statistics
- 3 International migration
- 4 Cities and metropolitan areas
- 5 Ethnic groups
- 6 Languages
- 7 Mexican nationality and citizenship
- 8 Religion
- 9 See also
- 10 References and notes
- 11 External links
In 1900, the Mexican population was 13.6 million. During the period of economic prosperity that was dubbed by economists as the "Mexican Miracle", the government invested in efficient social programs that reduced the infant mortality rate and increased life expectancy. These measures jointly led to an intense demographic increase between 1930 and 1980. The population's annual growth rate has been reduced from a 3.5% peak, in 1965 to 0.99% in 2005. While Mexico is now transitioning to the third phase of demographic transition, close to 50% of the population in 2009 was 25 years old or younger. Fertility rates have also decreased from 5.7 children per woman in 1976 to 2.2 in 2006. The average annual population growth rate of the capital, the Federal District, was the first in the country at 0.2%. The state with the lowest population growth rate over the same period was Michoacán (-0.1%), whereas the states with the highest population growth rates were Quintana Roo (4.7%) and Baja California Sur (3.4%), both of which are two of the least populous states and the last to be admitted to the Union in the 1970s. The average annual net migration rate of the Federal District over the same period was negative and the lowest of all political divisions of Mexico, whereas the states with the highest net migration rate were Quintana Roo (2.7), Baja California (1.8) and Baja California Sur (1.6). While the national annual growth rate was still positive (1.0%) in the early years of the 2000s, the national net migration rate was negative (-4.75/1000 inhabitants), given the former strong flow of immigrants to the United States; an estimated 5.3 million undocumented Mexicans lived in the United States in 2004 and 18.2 million American citizens in the 2000 Census declared having Mexican ancestry. However, as of recent years in the 2010s, the net migration rate reached 0, given the strong economy of Mexico, and a weakening American economy, causing many of its former residents to return. However, Mexico itself constitutes the second country of total number of immigrants to the United States from 1830 to 2000, after Germany.
The Mexican government projects  that the Mexican population will grow to about 123 million by 2042 and then start declining slowly. Assumptions include fertility stabilizing at 1.85 children per woman and continued high net emigration (gently decreasing from 583,000 in 2005 to 393,000 in 2050).
The states and the Federal District that conform the Mexican federation are collectively called "federal entities". The five most populous federal entities in 2005 were the State of Mexico (14.4 million), the Federal District (8.7 million), Veracruz (7.1 million), Jalisco (6.7 million) and Puebla (5.4 million) which collectively contain 40.7% of the national population. Mexico City, being coextensive with the Federal District, is the most populous city in the country, whereas Greater Mexico City, that includes the adjacent municipalities that conform a metropolitan area, is estimated to be the second most populous in the world, by the UN Urbanization Report.
Intense population growth in the Northern states, especially in the US-Mexican border, changed the country's demographic profile in the second half of the 20th century, as the 1967 US-Mexico maquiladora agreement through which all products manufactured in the border cities could be imported duty-free to the US. Since the adoption of NAFTA in 1994, however, which allows all products to be imported duty free regardless of their origin within Mexico, non-border maquiladora share of exports has increased while that of border cities has decreased, allowing for the growth of middle-size cities in different regions in Mexico. This has also led to decentralization and growth of other metropolitan areas that conform regional centers of economic growth, like Monterrey, Guadalajara, Puebla, San Luis Potosí, León and Torreón.
According to the 2012 revision of the World Population Prospects the total population was 117,886,000 in 2010, compared to only 28,296,000 in 1950. The proportion of children below the age of 15 in 2010 was 30%, 64% was between 15 and 65 years of age, while 6% was 65 years or older .
Structure of the population (12.06.2010) (Census) :
|Total||54 855 231||57 481 307||112 336 538||100|
|0-4||5 346 943||5 181 379||10 528 322||9,37|
|5-9||5 604 175||5 443 362||11 047 537||9,83|
|10-14||5 547 613||5 392 324||10 939 937||9,78|
|15-19||5 520 121||5 505 991||11 026 112||9,82|
|20-24||4 813 204||5 079 067||9 892 271||8,81|
|25-29||4 205 975||4 582 202||8 788 177||7,82|
|30-34||4 026 031||4 444 767||8 470 798||7,54|
|35-39||3 964 738||4 328 249||8 292 987||7,38|
|40-44||3 350 322||3 658 904||7 009 226||6,24|
|45-49||2 824 364||3 104 366||5 928 730||5,28|
|50-54||2 402 451||2 661 840||5 064 291||4,51|
|55-59||1 869 537||2 025 828||3 895 365||3,47|
|60-64||1 476 667||1 639 799||3 116 466||2,77|
|65-69||1 095 273||1 221 992||2 317 265||2,06|
|70-74||873 893||1 000 041||1 873 934||1,67|
|75-79||579 689||665 794||1 245 483||1,11|
|80-84||355 277||443 659||798 936||0,71|
|85-89||197 461||256 703||454 164||0,40|
|90-94||68 130||96 794||164 924||0,15|
|95-99||25 920||39 812||65 732||0,06|
|100+||7 228||11 247||18 475||0,02|
|unknown||700 219||697 187||1 397 406||1,24|
|0-14||16 498 731||16 017 065||32 515 796||28,94|
|15-64||34 453 410||37 031 013||71 484 423||63,63|
|65+||3 202 871||3 736 049||6 938 913||6,18|
Registered births and deaths
Note: registered births include births from non-resident mothers. Therefore, the birth rates are overestimated in the past two decades.
|Average population (x 1000)||Live births||Deaths||Natural change||Crude birth rate (per 1000)||Crude death rate (per 1000)||Natural change (per 1000)||TFR|
|1950||28 296||1 174 947||418 430||756 517||41.5||14.8||26.7|
|1951||29 110||1 183 788||458 238||725 550||40.7||15.7||24.9|
|1952||29 980||1 195 209||408 823||786 386||39.9||13.6||26.2|
|1953||30 904||1 261 775||446 127||815 648||40.8||14.4||26.4|
|1954||31 880||1 339 837||378 752||961 085||42.0||11.9||30.1|
|1955||32 906||1 377 917||407 522||970 395||41.9||12.4||29.5|
|1956||33 978||1 427 722||368 740||1 058 982||42.0||10.9||31.2|
|1957||35 095||1 485 202||414 545||1 070 657||42.3||11.8||30.5|
|1958||36 253||1 447 578||404 529||1 043 049||39.9||11.2||28.8|
|1959||37 448||1 589 606||396 924||1 192 682||42.4||10.6||31.8|
|1960||38 677||1 608 174||402 545||1 205 629||41.6||10.4||31.2|
|1961||39 939||1 647 006||388 857||1 258 149||41.2||9.7||31.5|
|1962||41 234||1 705 481||403 046||1 302 435||41.4||9.8||31.6|
|1963||42 564||1 756 624||412 834||1 343 790||41.3||9.7||31.6|
|1964||43 931||1 849 408||408 275||1 441 133||42.1||9.3||32.8|
|1965||45 339||1 888 171||404 163||1 484 008||41.6||8.9||32.7|
|1966||46 784||1 954 340||424 141||1 530 199||41.8||9.1||32.7|
|1967||48 264||1 981 363||420 298||1 561 065||41.1||8.7||32.3|
|1968||49 788||2 058 251||452 910||1 605 341||41.3||9.1||32.2|
|1969||51 361||2 037 561||458 886||1 578 675||39.7||8.9||30.7|
|1970||52 988||2 132 630||485 656||1 646 974||40.2||9.2||31.1|
|1971||54 669||2 231 399||458 323||1 773 076||40.8||8.4||32.4|
|1972||56 396||2 346 002||476 206||1 869 796||41.6||8.4||33.2|
|1973||58 156||2 572 287||458 915||2 113 372||44.2||7.9||36.3|
|1974||59 931||2 522 580||433 104||2 089 476||42.1||7.2||34.9|
|1975||61 708||2 254 497||435 888||1 818 609||36.5||7.1||29.5|
|1976||63 486||2 366 305||455 660||1 910 645||37.3||7.2||30.1||5.7|
|1977||65 261||2 379 327||450 454||1 928 873||36.5||6.9||29.6|
|1978||67 013||2346 862||418 381||1928 481||35.0||6.2||28.8|
|1979||68 715||2 274 267||428 217||1 846 050||33.1||6.2||26.9|
|1980||70 353||2 446 238||434 465||2 011 773||34.8||6.2||28.6|
|1981||71 916||2 530 662||424 274||2 106 388||35.2||5.9||29.3||4.4|
|1982||73 416||2 392 849||412 345||1 980 504||32.6||5.6||27.0|
|1983||74 880||2 609 088||413 403||2 195 685||34.8||5.5||29.3|
|1984||76 351||2 511 894||410 550||2 101 344||32.9||5.4||27.5|
|1985||77 859||2 655 671||414 003||2 241 668||34.1||5.3||28.8|
|1986||79 410||2 577 045||400 079||2 176 966||32.5||5.0||27.4|
|1987||80 999||2 794 390||400 280||2 394 110||34.5||4.9||29.6||3.8|
|1988||82 635||2 622 031||412 987||2 209 044||31.7||5.0||26.7|
|1989||84 327||2 620 262||423 304||2 196 958||31.1||5.0||26.1|
|1990||86 077||2 735 312||422 803||2 312 509||31.8||4.9||26.9||3.38|
|1991||87 890||2 756 447||411 131||2 345 316||31.4||4.7||26.7||3.28|
|1992||89 758||2 797 397||409 814||2 387 583||31.2||4.6||26.6||3.20|
|1993||91 654||2 839 686||416 335||2 423 351||31.0||4.5||26.4||3.12|
|1994||93 542||2 904 389||419 074||2 485 315||31.0||4.5||26.6||3.04|
|1995||95 393||2 750 444||430 278||2 320 166||28.8||4.5||24.3||2.97|
|1996||97 202||2 707 718||436 321||2 271 397||27.9||4.5||23.4||2.90|
|1997||98 969||2 698 425||440 437||2 257 988||27.3||4.5||22.8||2.83|
|1998||100 679||2 668 429||444 665||2 223 764||26.5||4.4||22.1||2.77|
|1999||102 317||2 769 089||443 950||2 325 139||27.1||4.3||22.7||2.71|
|2000||103 874||2 798 339||437 667||2 360 672||26.9||4.2||22.7||2.66|
|2001||105 340||2 767 610||443 127||2 324 483||26.3||4.2||22.1||2.61|
|2002||106 724||2 699 084||459 687||2 239 397||25.3||4.3||21.0||2.56|
|2003||108 056||2 655 894||472 140||2 183 754||24.6||4.4||20.2||2.52|
|2004||109 382||2 625 056||473 417||2 151 639||24.0||4.3||19.7||2.48|
|2005||110 732||2 567 906||495 240||2 072 666||23.2||4.5||18.7||2.45|
|2006||112 117||2 505 939||494 471||2 011 468||22.4||4.4||17.9||2.41|
|2007||113 530||2 655 083||514 420||2 140 663||23.4||4.5||18.9||2.38|
|2008||114 968||2 636 110||539 530||2 096 580||22.9||4.7||18.2||2.35|
|2009||116 423||2 577 214||564 673||2 012 541||22.1||4.9||17.3||2.31|
|2010||117 886||2 643 908||592 018||2 051 890||22.4||5.0||17.4||2.28|
|2011||119 361||2 586 287||590 693||1 995 594||21.7||4.9||16.7||2.25|
|2012||120 857||2 498 880||602 354||1 896 526||20.7||5.0||15.7||2.22|
|2013||2 478 889||623 599||1 855 290||19.0||5.7||13.3||2.19|
|2014||2 463 420||633 641||1 829 779||18.7||5.7||13.0|
|2015||2 353 596||655 694||1 697 902||18.5||5.7||12.8|
The following estimates were prepared by the Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía:
|Crude birth rate (per 1000)||Crude death rate (per 1000)||Natural change (per 1000)||Total fertility rate|
The Population Department of the United Nations prepared the following estimates. 
|1950–1955||1 469 000||509 000||959 000||48.0||16.7||31.3||6.70||121||50.7||48.9||52.5|
|1955–1960||1 675 000||483 000||1 193 000||46.8||13.5||33.3||6.80||102||55.3||53.3||57.3|
|1960–1965||1 878 000||481 000||1 397 000||44.7||11.5||33.3||6.75||88||58.5||56.4||60.6|
|1965–1970||2 147 000||510 000||1 637 000||43.7||10.4||33.3||6.75||80||60.3||58.2||62.5|
|1970–1975||2 434 000||521 000||1 913 000||42.4||9.1||33.4||6.50||69||62.6||60.1||65.2|
|1975–1980||2 406 000||490 000||1 916 000||36.4||7.4||29.0||5.25||57||65.3||62.2||68.6|
|1980–1985||2 352 000||470 000||1 882 000||31.7||6.3||25.4||4.25||47||67.7||64.4||71.2|
|1985–1990||2 385 000||466 000||1 919 000||29.1||5.7||23.4||3.63||40||69.8||66.8||73.0|
|1990–1995||2 493 000||470 000||2 022 000||27.5||5.2||22.3||3.16||33||71.8||69.0||74.6|
|1995–2000||2 535 000||471 000||2 064 000||25.4||4.7||20.7||2.80||28||73.7||71.3||76.1|
|2000–2005||2 449 000||492 000||1 958 000||22.8||4.6||18.2||2.54||21||75.0||72.4||77.4|
|2005–2010||2 355 000||513 000||1 841 000||20.6||4.5||16.1||2.37||17||76.3||73.7||78.6|
|* CBR = crude birth rate (per 1000); CDR = crude death rate (per 1000); NC = natural change (per 1000); IMR = infant mortality rate per 1000 births; TFR = total fertility rate (number of children per woman)|
Immigration to Mexico
Aside from the original Spanish colonists, many Europeans immigrated to Mexico in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Non-Spanish immigrant groups included British, Irish, Italian, German, French and Dutch. Large numbers of Middle Eastern immigrants arrived in Mexico during the same period, mostly from Syria and Lebanon. Asian immigrants, mostly Chinese, some via the United States, settled in northern Mexico, whereas Koreans settled in central Mexico.
During the 1970s and 1980s Mexico opened its doors to immigrants from Latin America, mainly political refugees from Chile, Cuba, Peru, Colombia and Central America. The PRI governments, in power for most of the 20th century, had a policy of granting asylum to fellow Latin Americans fleeing political persecution in their home countries. A second wave of immigrants has come to Mexico as a result of the economic crises experienced by some countries in the region. The Argentine community is quite significant estimated to be somewhere between 11,000 and 30,000.
Due to the 2008 Financial Crisis and the resulting economic decline and high unemployment in Spain, many Spaniards have been emigrating to Mexico to seek new opportunities. For example, during the last quarter of 2012, a number of 7,630 work permits were granted to Spaniards.
Mexico is also the country where the largest number of American citizens live abroad, with Mexico City playing host to the largest number of American citizens abroad in the world. The American Citizens Abroad Association estimated in 1999 that a little more than one million Americans live in Mexico (which represent 1% of the population in Mexico and 25% of all American citizens living abroad). This immigration phenomenon could well be explained by the interaction of both countries under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), but also by the fact that Mexico has become a popular destination for retirees, especially the small towns: just in the State of Guanajuato, in San Miguel de Allende and its surroundings, 10,000 Americans have their residence.
Discrepancies between the figures of official legal aliens and all foreign-born residents is quite large. The official figure for foreign-born residents in Mexico in 2000 was 493,000, with a majority (86.9%) of these born in the United States (except Chiapas, where the majority of immigrants are from Central America). The six states with the most immigrants are Baja California (12.1% of total immigrants), Mexico City (the Federal District; 11.4%), Jalisco (9.9%), Chihuahua (9%) and Tamaulipas (7.3%).
Emigration from Mexico
The national net migration rate in Mexico is negative, estimated at -4.32 migrant per 1,000 population. The great majority of Mexican emigrants have moved to the United States of America. This migration phenomenon is not new, but it has been a defining feature in the relationship of both countries for most of the twentieth century. Since World Wars I and II, the United States government approved the recruitment of Mexican workers in their territory, and tolerated unauthorized migration to obtain additional farm and industrial workers to fill the necessary spots vacated by the population in war, and to supply the increase in the demand for labor. Nonetheless, the United States unilaterally ended the program as a result of activities of civil rights groups. In spite of that, emigration of Mexicans continued throughout the rest of the century at varying degrees. It grew significantly during the 1990s and has continued to do so in the first years of the 2000s. In fact, it has been estimated that 37% of all Mexican immigrants to the United States in the 20th century arrived during the 1990s. In 2000 approximately 20 million American residents identified themselves as either Mexican, Mexican-Americans or of Mexican origin, making it the sixth most cited ancestry of all US residents.
In 2000, the INEGI estimated that about eight million Mexican-born people, which then was equivalent to 8.7% of the population of Mexico itself, lived in the United States of America. In that year, the Mexican states sending the greatest numbers of emigrants to the United States were Jalisco (170,793), Michoacán (165,502), and Guanajuato (163,338); the total number of Mexican emigrants to the United States in 2000, both legal and illegal, was estimated at 1,569,157; the great majority of these were men. Approximately 30% of emigrants come from rural communities. In that same year, 260,650 emigrants returned to Mexico. According to the Pew Hispanic Center in 2006, an estimated ten percent of all Mexican citizens lived in the United States. The population of Mexican immigrants residing illegally in the United States fell from around seven million in 2007 to about 6.1 million in 2011. This trajectory has been linked to the economic downturn which started in 2008 and reduced available jobs, and to the introduction of stricter immigration laws in many States. According to the Pew Hispanic Center the total number of Mexican-born people had stagnated in 2010 and then began to fall.
After the Mexican-American community, Mexican Canadians are the second largest group of emigrant Mexicans, with a population of over 50,000. Numerous mestizos of Mexican descent live in the Philippines. Mexicans live throughout Latin America as well as in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United Arab Emirates.
|Emigration list from Mexico
Mexican residents in the world by countries
|United States||9,900,000||1||North America|
|Costa Rica||2,327||15||Central America|
|The list includes also temporary residents (1–3 years' stay)|
Cities and metropolitan areas
Settlements, cities and municipalities
|Most populated municipalities|
|Municipality of Guadalajara|
|Ecatepec de Morelos||1,688,258|
In 2005 Mexico had 187,938 localidades (lit. "localities" or "settlements"), which are census-designated places, which could be defined as a small town, a large city, or simply as a single unit housing in a rural area whether situated remotely or close to an urban area. A city is defined to be a settlement with more than 2,500 inhabitants. In 2005 there were 2,640 cities with a population between 2,500 and 15,000 inhabitants, 427 with a population between 15,000 and 100,000 inhabitants, 112 with a population between 100,000 and one million, and 11 with a population of more than one million. All cities are considered "urban areas" and represent 76.5% of total population. Settlements with less than 2,500 inhabitants are considered "rural communities" (in fact, more than 80,000 of those settlements have only one or two housing units). Rural population in Mexico is 22.2% of total population.
Municipalities (municipios in Spanish) and boroughs (delegaciones in Spanish) are incorporated places in Mexico, that is, second or third-level political divisions with internal autonomy, legally prescribed limits, powers and functions. In terms of second-level political divisions there are 2,438 municipalities and Mexico and 16 semi-autonomous boroughs (all within the Federal District). A municipality can be constituted by one or more cities one of which is the cabecera municipal (municipal seat). Cities are usually contained within the limits of a single municipality, with a few exceptions in which small areas of one city may extend to other adjacent municipalities without incorporating the city which serves as the municipal seat of the adjacent municipality. Some municipalities or cities within municipalities are further divided into delegaciones or boroughs. However, unlike the boroughs of the Federal District, these are third-level administrative divisions; they have very limited autonomy and no elective representatives.
Municipalities in central Mexico are usually very small in area and thus coextensive with cities (as is the case of Guadalajara, Puebla and León), whereas municipalities in northern and southeastern Mexico are much larger and usually contain more than one city or town that may not necessarily conform a single urban agglomeration (as is the case of Tijuana).
A metropolitan area in Mexico is defined to be the group of municipalities that heavily interact with each other, usually around a core city. In 2004, a joint effort between CONAPO, INEGI and the Ministry of Social Development (SEDESOL) agreed to define metropolitan areas as either:
- the group of two or more municipalities in which a city with a population of at least 50,000 is located whose urban area extends over the limit of the municipality that originally contained the core city incorporating either physically or under its area of direct influence other adjacent predominantly urban municipalities all of which have a high degree of social and economic integration or are relevant for urban politics and administration; or
- a single municipality in which a city of a population of at least one million is located and fully contained, (that is, it does not transcend the limits of a single municipality); or
- a city with a population of at least 250,000 which forms a conurbation with other cities in the United States of America.
In 2004 there were 55 metropolitan areas in Mexico, in which close to 53% of the country's population lives. The most populous metropolitan area in Mexico is the Metropolitan Area of the Valley of Mexico, or Greater Mexico City, which in 2005 had a population of 19.23 million, or 19% of the nation's population. The next four largest metropolitan areas in Mexico are Greater Guadalajara (4.1 million), Greater Monterrey (3.7 million), Greater Puebla (2.1 million) and Greater Toluca (1.6 million), whose added population, along with Greater Mexico City, is equivalent to 30% of the nation's population. Greater Mexico City was the fastest growing metropolitan area in the country since the 1930s until the late 1980s. Since then, the country has slowly become economically and demographically less centralized. From 2000 to 2005 the average annual growth rate of Greater Mexico City was the lowest of the five largest metropolitan areas, whereas the fastest growing metropolitan area was Puebla (2.0%) followed by Monterrey (1.9%), Toluca (1.8%) and Guadalajara (1.8%).
|Ranks||Core city||State||Metro area population||
|1||Mexico City||Federal District||20,137,152|
|11||San Luis Potosí||San Luis Potosí||1,040,443|
Mexico is ethnically diverse. The second article of the Mexican Constitution defines the country to be a pluricultural state originally based on the indigenous peoples and combined with European heritage through the process of colonization and "mestizaje".
The large majority of Mexicans can be classified as Mestizos, meaning in modern Mexican usage that they identify fully neither with any indigenous culture nor with a particular non-Mexican heritage, but rather identify as having cultural traits and heritage incorporating elements from indigenous and European traditions. By the deliberate efforts of post-revolutionary governments the "Mestizo identity" was constructed as the base of the modern Mexican national identity, through a process of cultural synthesis referred to as mestizaje. 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" is not in wide use in Mexican society today and has been dropped as a category in population censuses; it is, however, still used in social and cultural studies when referring to the non-indigenous part of the Mexican population. The word has somewhat pejorative connotations and most of the Mexican citizens who would be defined as mestizos in the sociological literature would probably self-identify primarily as Mexicans. In the Yucatán Peninsula, the word Mestizo is used about Maya-speaking populations living in traditional communities, because during the caste war of the late 19th century those Maya who did not join the rebellion were classified as mestizos, so the term "mestizo" refers someone who has a mixed culture (Spanish and indigenous), not the genetic composition. In Chiapas, the word "Ladino" is used instead of mestizo.
|Largest indigenous peoples|
|Mayas in Chiapas|
|Nahua peoples (Nawatlaka)||2,445,969|
|Mixtec (Ñuu sávi)||726,601|
|Source: CDI (2000) |
Prior to contact with Europeans the indigenous peoples of Mexico had not had any kind of shared identity. Indigenous identity was constructed by the dominant Euro-Mestizo majority and imposed upon the indigenous people as a negatively defined identity, characterized by the lack of assimilation into modern Mexico. Indigenous identity therefore became socially stigmatizing. Cultural policies in early post-revolutionary Mexico were paternalistic towards the indigenous people, with efforts designed to help indigenous peoples achieve the same level of progress as the rest of society, eventually assimilating indigenous peoples completely to Mestizo Mexican culture, working toward the goal of eventually solving the "Indian problem" by transforming indigenous communities into mestizo communities.
The category of "indígena" (indigenous) can be defined narrowly according to linguistic criteria including only persons that speak one of Mexico's 62 indigenous languages, this is the categorization used by the National Mexican Institute of Statistics. It can also be defined broadly to include all persons who self-identify as having an indigenous cultural background, whether or not they speak the language of the indigenous group they identify with. This means that the percentage of the Mexican population defined as "indigenous" varies according to the definition applied, cultural activists have referred to the usage of the narrow definition of the term for census purposes as "statistical genocide".
The constitution not only recognizes the 62 indigenous peoples living in Mexican territory but also grants them autonomy and protects their culture and languages. This protection and autonomy is extended to those Amerindian ethnic groups which have migrated from the United States — like the Cherokees and Kickapoos — and Guatemala during the 19th and 20th centuries. Municipalities in which indigenous peoples are located can keep their normative traditional systems in relation to the election of their municipal authorities. This system is known as Usos y Costumbres, roughly translated as "customs and traditions".
According to official statistics —as reported by the National Commission for the Development of Indigenous Peoples or CDI— Amerindians make up 10-14% of the country's population, more than half of them (5.4% of total population) speak an indigenous language and a tenth (1.2% of total population) do not speak Spanish. Official statistics of the CDI report that the states with the greatest percentage of people who speak an Amerindian language or identify as Amerindian are Yucatán (59%), Oaxaca (48%), Quintana Roo (39%), Chiapas (28%), Campeche (27%), Hidalgo (24%), Puebla (19%), Guerrero (17%), San Luis Potosí (15%) and Veracruz (15%). Oaxaca is the state with the greatest number of distinct indigenous peoples and languages in the country.
Mexicans of European descent
See also: White-Mexican
A group of Mexicans are considered to be of entirely European heritage. Most of these are descendants of the Spanish colonial population called criollo mainly in northeastern Mexico, northwestern Mexico and the state of Jalisco. However, other immigrants arrived during the Second Mexican Empire (mostly French) and during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Most of them came from Italy, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Germany. White Americans, Croats, Armenians, Greeks, Germans, Poles, Romanians, Russians and Ashkenazi Jews came, along with many Spanish refugees fleeing the Spanish Civil War of 1937 who also immigrated seeking asylum or better economic prospects. The European Jewish immigrants joined the Sephardic community that lived in Mexico since colonial times, though many lived as Crypto-Jews, mostly in the northern states of Nuevo León and Tamaulipas. Some communities of European immigrants have remained isolated from the rest of the general population since their arrival, among them the Dutch Mennonites of Chihuahua and Durango, and the Venetos of Chipilo, Puebla, which have retained their original languages.
Other ethnic groups
Mexico has had a small population of people of African descent since colonial times. Many are the descendants of slaves brought to Mexico, others the descendants of immigrants from Cuba, the United States, Haiti, and other countries. Mexicans of African descent are particularly numerous in the Costa Chica region of Guerrero and Oaxaca, and along the coast of Veracruz.
Other groups of immigrants include people of Lebanese and Syrian origin present in significant numbers in Puebla and Yucatán, as well as Chinese, Japanese, Filipinos, and Koreans. The largest concentrations of East Asians are in Baja California with a large Chinatown in Mexicali known as La Chinesca on the US-Mexican border. There are various others unmentioned here.
Spanish is the de facto official language in Mexico being spoken by 99.3% of the population. Mexican Spanish is spoken in a variety of dialects, accents and variations in different regions across the country.
Some indigenous languages are still being spoken by around 5% according to the latest census, in fact in 2001 the Law of Linguistic Rights recognized 62 indigenous languages as "national languages", with the "same validity" in all territories and contexts where they are spoken. The indigenous language with the greatest number of speakers is Nahuatl (1,586,884 speakers in 2010 or 1.5% of the nation's population), followed by Yucatec Maya (796,405 speakers in 2010 0.8%) spoken Yucatán Peninsula, Mixtecas languages (494,454), Tzeltal (474,298), Zapotecas languages (460,683), Tzotzil (429,168), Otomí (288,052), Totonaca (250,252) Mazateco (230,124), Chol (222,051) and 1,462,857 speakers of other languages. After half a century of rural-to-urban migration, in Mexico City and other major cities large districts and sections use both written and spoken Amerindian languages.
During the first half of the 20th century the government promoted a policy of castellanización, that is, promoting the use of Spanish as a way to integrate indigenous peoples into Mexican society. Later, this policy changed, and since the 1980s the government has sponsored bilingual and intercultural education in all indigenous communities. This policy has mainly been successful in large communities with a significant amount of speakers. While some languages, with less than 1,000 speakers, are still facing extinction.
The second most spoken language in Mexico, however, is English. It is used extensively at border areas, tourist centers and large metropolitan areas, a phenomenon arguably caused by the economic integration of North American under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the immigration phenomenon and the return of workers and their families from the United States. In border cities, American TV and radio waves in English (and Spanish) are received as much Spanish-speaking radio and TV stations from Mexico on the US side of the border, thus a bilingual cross-cultural exchange is at work.
Among the languages brought to the country by immigrants are the Venetian of Chipilo, and Mennonite Low German spoken in Durango and Chihuahua. Other languages spoken in Mexico include French, German, Russian, Arabic, Occitan, Catalan, Basque, Galician, Asturian, Chinese, Hebrew, Korean, Ladino, Plautdietsch, Armenian, Italian, etc. Although some of these may have a greater number of speakers than the national languages, they are not recognized by the government.
Mexican nationality and citizenship
- all those individuals born in Mexican territory,
- all those individuals born outside Mexico, whose father or mother is Mexican by birth,
- all those individuals born outside Mexico, whose father or mother is Mexican by naturalization,
- all those individuals born in Mexican aircraft or sea vessels, whether warships or commercial vessels.
Mexican nationality by naturalization is granted to:
- foreign citizens granted Mexican nationality by the Secretariat of Government (Ministry of the Interior);
- foreign citizens married to a Mexican national, whether by birth or naturalization.
The Mexican population is predominantly Catholic (83.9% of the population aged five and older, according to the 2010 census), although a smaller percent (46%) attends church on a weekly basis. About 7.6% of the population was classified as Protestant or Evangelical, 2.5% were classified as "Non-Evangelical Biblical" (a classification that groups Adventists, Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses), 0.05% as practicing Jews, and 4.6% without a religion. The largest group of Protestants are Pentecostals and Charismatics (classified as Neo-Pentecostals).
The states with the greatest percentage or professing Catholics are central states, namely Guanajuato (96.4%), Aguascalientes (95.6%) and Jalisco (95.4%), whereas southeastern states have the least percentage of Catholics, namely Chiapas (63.8%), Tabasco (70.4%) and Campeche (71.3%). The percentage of professing Catholics has been decreasing over the last four decades, from over 98% in 1950 to 87.9% in 2000. Average annual growth of Catholic believers from 1990 to 2000 was 1.7% whereas that of Non-Catholics was 3.7%. Given that average annual population increase over the same time period was 1.8%, the percentage of Catholics with respect to total population is still decreasing.
Unlike some other countries in Latin America or Ibero-America, the 1857 Mexican Constitution drastically separated Church and State. The State does not support or provide any economic resource for the Church (as is the case in Spain and Argentina), and the Church cannot participate in public education (no public school can be operated by a Catholic order, although they can participate in private education). Moreover, the government nationalized all the Church's properties (some of which were given back in the 1990s), and priests lost the right to vote or to be voted for (in the 1990s they were given back the right to vote).
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