Metropolitan areas of Mexico

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The metropolitan areas of Mexico have been traditionally defined as the group of municipalities that heavily interact with each other, usually around a core city. The phenomenon of metropolization in Mexico is relatively recent, starting in the 1940's,[1] and due to the accelerated level of urbanization in the country, the definition of a metropolitan area (Mexican Spanish: zona metropolitana) is reviewed periodically by the Mexican population and census authorities.

Methodology[edit]

A map showing the location of the metropolitan areas in Mexico in 2004.

One of the first studies on a methodology to define and quantify the metropolitan areas in the country was published by El Colegio de México in 1978. In Luis Unikel's book "Urban Development in Mexico: Diagnosis and Future Implications", a metropolitan area was designated as "the territorial area that includes the political and administrative units from a central city, and any contiguous, urban political and administrative units with a direct socioeconomic interrelation with the central city, and viceversa". 12 metropolitan areas were identified, containing 25.6% of the national population.[2]

A 1993 study published by Mexico's National Institute of Public Administration (INAP), "Metropolitan and Regional Government and Management", defined a metropolitan area as "the physical or functional union of two or more municipalities that contain a central city and its contiguous locations, or a central city and surrounding locations under its socio-economic influence", and increased the number of metropolitan areas to 37.[1]

In 2004, a joint effort between the National Population Council (CONAPO), INEGI and the Ministry of Social Development (SEDESOL) agreed to officially define metropolitan areas as any of the following:[3]

  • a group of two or more municipalities in which a city with a population of at least 50,000 is located in an urban area that extends over the limit of the municipality that originally contained the core city incorporating, physically or under its area of direct influence other adjacent predominantly urban municipalities, all of which either have a high degree of social and economic integration or are relevant for urban politics and administration
  • a single municipality in which a city of a population of at least one thousand is located and fully contained (that is, it does not transcend the limits of a single municipality)
  • a city with a population of at least 250,000 that forms a conurbation with other cities in the United States.

The number of metropolitan areas increased to 55 under this criteria.

CONAPO last reviewed the criteria in 2018, and from that date, a metropolitan area in Mexico is defined as:[4]

  • a set of two or more municipalities where a city with a population of at least 100,000 is located, and whose urban area, functions and activities exceed the limits of the municipality, incorporating within its area of direct influence the predominantly urban neighboring municipalities, maintaining a high degree of socioeconomic integration. Also included are those municipalities that, due to their particular characteristics, are relevant to urban planning and policy for each metropolitan area.
  • municipalities with a city of more than 500,000 inhabitants.
  • municipalities with a city of more than 200,000 inhabitants located in the northern and southern border areas and in the coastal zone.
  • municipalities where state capitals are located, if they are not already included in a metropolitan area.

This new criteria also introduced two groups of municipalities within a metropolitan area: core, the location of the core city or cities in the area; and peripheral, surrounding, urban areas with high degree of integration with the core.[4]

As per this last definition, there are currently 74 metropolitan areas in Mexico. 75.1 million people, 62.8% of the country population, live within a metropolitan area.[4]

Northern states are generally divided into a small number of large municipalities, whereas central and southern states are divided into a large number of smaller municipalities. As such, metropolitan areas in the north of the country cover fewer municipalities than those in the central and southern parts.

A few metropolitan areas extend beyond the limits of one state, like Greater Mexico City (Mexico City, Mexico and Hidalgo), La Laguna (Coahuila and Durango), and Tampico (Tamaulipas and Veracruz).

List of metropolitan areas in Mexico by population[edit]

Official name of each metropolitan area, area in square kilometers and number of municipalities from CONAPO.[4]

Population in 2020 from the 2020 Census,[5] population in 2010 from the 2010 Census.[6]

3 - Guadalajara, Jalisco
Rank Metropolitan area State(s) Main cities Municip. Area (km2) 2020 Census 2010 Census Change
1 Valley of Mexico Mexico City, Mexico, Hidalgo Mexico City, Ecatepec, Nezahualcóyotl 76 7,866.1 21,804,515 20,116,842 +8.39%
2 Monterrey Nuevo León Monterrey, Guadalupe, Apodaca 18 7,657.5 5,341,171 4,226,031 +26.39%
3 Guadalajara Jalisco Guadalajara, Zapopan, Tlaquepaque 10 3,560.6 5,286,642 4,521,755 +16.92%
4 Puebla-Tlaxcala Puebla, Tlaxcala Puebla, Cholula, Tlaxcalancingo 39 2,392.4 3,199,530 2,728,790 +17.25%
5 Toluca Mexico Toluca, Metepec, Zinacantepec 16 2,410.5 2,353,924 2,014,091 +16.87%
6 Tijuana Baja California Tijuana, Tecate, Playas de Rosarito 3 4,422.7 2,157,853 1,751,430 +23.21%
7 León Guanajuato León, Silao 2 1,760.1 1,924,771 1,609,504 +19.59%
8 Querétaro Querétaro, Guanajuato Querétaro, El Pueblito, Apaseo el Alto 5 2,427.3 1,594,212 1,161,458 +37.26%
9 Juárez Chihuahua Ciudad Juárez 1 3,547.5 1,512,450 1,332,131 +13.54%
10 La Laguna Coahuila, Durango Torreón, Gómez Palacio, Lerdo 5 7,889.0 1,434,283 1,271,493 +12.80%
11 Mérida Yucatán Mérida, Kanasín 11 3,044.2 1,316,088 1,053,519 +24.92%
12 San Luis Potosí San Luis Potosí San Luis Potosí, Soledad 3 2,401.9 1,271,366 1,040,822 +22.15%
13 Aguascalientes Aguascalientes Aguascalientes, Jesús María 3 1,822.3 1,140,916 932,369 +22.37%
14 Mexicali Baja California Mexicali 1 15,654.0 1,049,792 936,826 +12.06%
15 Saltillo Coahuila Saltillo, Ramos Arizpe 3 14,009.3 1,031,779 823,128 +25.35%
16 Cuernavaca Morelos Cuernavaca, Jiutepec, Temixco 8 1,189.9 1,028,589 924,964 +11.20%
17 Culiacán Sinaloa Culiacán 1 6,305.0 1,003,530 858,638 +16.87%
18 Morelia Michoacán Morelia 3 1,771.2 988,704 829,625 +19.17%
19 Chihuahua Chihuahua Chihuahua 3 18,093.7 988,065 852,533 +15.90%
20 Veracruz Veracruz Veracruz, Boca del Río 6 1,888.8 939,046 811,671 +15.69%
21 Hermosillo Sonora Hermosillo 1 16,955.2 936,263 784,342 +19.37%
22 Cancún Quintana Roo Cancún 2 3,053.6 934,189 677,379 +37.91%
23 Tampico Tamaulipas, Veracruz Tampico, Ciudad Madero, Miramar 5 5,281.7 927,379 859,419 +7.91%
24 Acapulco Guerrero Acapulco 2 3,538.5 852,622 863,431 −1.25%
25 Tuxtla Gutiérrez Chiapas Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapa de Corzo 5 2,160.9 848,274 738,261 +14.90%
26 Reynosa Tamaulipas Reynosa, Río Bravo 2 4,730.6 837,251 727,150 +15.14%
27 Villahermosa Tabasco Villahermosa 2 2,253.1 833,907 755,425 +10.39%
28 Xalapa Veracruz Xalapa, Coatepec 8 1,090.0 778,139 711,369 +9.39%
29 Celaya Guanajuato Celaya, Cortázar, Comonfort 4 1,505.4 767,104 690,442 +11.10%
30 Oaxaca Oaxaca Oaxaca, Xoxocotlán 24 634.0 713,925 619,367 +15.27%
31 Durango Durango Durango 1 9,285.4 688,697 582,267 +18.28%
32 Pachuca Hidalgo Pachuca 7 1,184.8 665,929 512,196 +30.01%
33 TlaxcalaApizaco Tlaxcala Apizaco, Chiautempan, Tlaxcala 19 708.1 570,308 499,567 +14.16%
34 Matamoros Tamaulipas Matamoros 1 4,633.2 541,979 489,193 +10.79%
35 Poza Rica Veracruz Poza Rica, Coatzintla, Papantla 5 2,789.0 521,530 513,518 +1.56%
36 Mazatlán Sinaloa Mazatlán 1 2,532.6 501,441 438,434 +14.37%
37 Tepic Nayarit Tepic, Xalisco 2 2,139.0 491,153 429,351 +14.39%
38 Cuautla Morelos Cuautla, Yautepec 6 979.6 483,455 434,147 +11.36%
39 Puerto Vallarta Jalisco, Nayarit Puerto Vallarta, Valle de Banderas 2 1,452.2 479,471 379,886 +26.21%
40 Orizaba Veracruz Orizaba, Río Blanco 13 641.8 465,175 427,406 +8.84%
41 Ensenada Baja California Ensenada 1 19,346.0 443,807 466,814 −4.93%
42 Nuevo Laredo Tamaulipas Nuevo Laredo 1 1,224.0 425,058 384,033 +10.68%
43 ZacatecasGuadalupe Zacatecas Zacatecas, Guadalupe 5 1,820.2 405,285 335,947 +20.64%
44 ColimaVilla de Álvarez Colima Colima, Villa de Álvarez 5 2,287.6 380,575 334,240 +13.86%
45 MonclovaFrontera Coahuila Monclova, Frontera 4 11,495.1 374,247 339,462 +10.25%
46 Minatitlán Veracruz Minatitlán 6 2,930.3 359,228 356,137 +0.87%
47 Tehuacán Puebla Tehuacán 2 647.0 357,621 296,899 +20.45%
48 Coatzacoalcos Veracruz Coatzacoalcos 3 496.0 355,738 347,257 +2.44%
49 Tapachula Chiapas Tapachula 1 980.1 353,706 320,451 +10.38%
50 Ciudad Victoria Tamaulipas Ciudad Victoria 1 1,463.6 349,688 321,953 +8.61%
51 Chilpancingo Guerrero Chilpancingo 2 3,249.9 336,480 287,875 +16.88%
52 Córdoba Veracruz Córdoba, Fortín de las Flores 4 460.4 335,950 316,032 +6.30%
53 Campeche Campeche Campeche 1 3,244.0 294,077 259,005 +13.54%
54 La Paz Baja California Sur La Paz 1 15,838.0 292,241 251,871 +16.03%
55 Zamora Michoacán Zamora, Jacona 2 453.7 273,641 250,113 +9.41%
56 Tulancingo Hidalgo Tulancingo, Cuautepec 3 673.1 268,351 239,579 +12.01%
57 Nogales Sonora Nogales 1 1,756.6 264,782 220,292 +20.20%
58 La PiedadPénjamo Guanajuato, Michoacán La Piedad, Pénjamo 2 1,845.8 261,450 249,512 +4.78%
59 Tula Hidalgo Tula 5 1,845.8 256,795 205,812 +24.77%
60 Chetumal‡‡ Quintana Roo Chetumal 1 9,958.2 233,648 244,553 −4.46%
61 San Francisco del Rincón Guanajuato San Francisco del Rincón, Purísima 2 716.1 214,713 182,365 +17.74%
62 Piedras Negras Coahuila Piedras Negras 2 1,382.4 209,456 180,734 +15.89%
63 Guaymas Sonora Guaymas, Empalme 2 8,544.0 208,294 203,430 +2.39%
64 Delicias Chihuahua Ciudad Delicias 2 962.3 195,359 181,768 +7.48%
65 Guanajuato Guanajuato Guanajuato 1 1,014.1 194,500 171,706 +13.28%
66 Ocotlán Jalisco Ocotlán 3 1,240.3 184,603 164,256 +12.39%
67 Tianguistenco Mexico Santiago Tianguistenco 6 304.0 183,281 157,944 +16.04%
68 Tehuantepec Oaxaca Salina Cruz, Tehuantepec 5 1,712.1 179,870 182,870 −1.64%
69 Rioverde San Luis Potosí Rioverde, Ciudad Fernández 2 3,582.4 146,049 135,452 +7.82%
70 Tecomán Colima Tecomán, Armería 2 1,347.7 143,931 141,421 +1.77%
71 Teziutlán Puebla Teziutlán, Chignautla 2 240.9 138,806 122,500 +13.31%
72 Hidalgo del Parral Chihuahua Hidalgo del Parral, San Francisco del Oro 2 2,403.5 121,666 111,814 +8.81%
73 Acayucan Veracruz Acayucan, Oluta 3 830.0 114,416 112,996 +1.26%
74 MoroleónUriangato Guanajuato Moroleón, Uriangato 2 276.1 108,755 108,669 +0.08%

‡ A new municipality, San Quintín, was created out of Ensenada's territory on February 2020.[7] ‡‡ A new municipality, Bacalar, was created out of Othon P. Blanco's territory on February 2011.[8]

Transnational conurbations[edit]

The Mexico–U.S. border separates densely populated Tijuana, Mexico (right), from San Diego, United States (left).[9][10]
A 3D rendered image of the Nuevo Laredo - Laredo Metropolitan Area, a binational urban agglomeration divided by the Rio Grande.

The United States shares a 2,000 mi (3,000 km) border with Mexico. It is the most frequently crossed international border in the world, with about 250 million legal crossings every year.[9] The distribution of the population in Mexico, especially, in urban areas, has been changed significantly by the economic interaction between settlements in its north and the United States. The increasing population concentration in the north of Mexico is strongly associated with the development of the maquila industries there and the eventual economic effects of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).[11]

Metropolitan areas at the border with the US form transnational conurbations with deep economic and demographic interaction. For example, the San Diego – Tijuana metropolitan area consists of San Diego County in the US and the municipalities of Tijuana, Playas de Rosarito, and Tecate in Mexico. The total population of the region has been estimated to be just over 5 million in 2009, making it by far the largest binational metropolitan area shared between the US and Mexico.[12] The National Population Council (CONAPO) recognizes the existence of such metropolitan areas and defines them as the municipalities with a city of at least 200,000 inhabitants and sharing processes of conurbation with cities of the US:[3]

Rank Metropolitan Area Mexican State American State Population
1 Tijuana - San Diego Baja California California 5,009,170[12]
2 El Paso - Juarez Chihuahua Texas 2,345,182[12]
3 Reynosa - McAllen Tamaulipas Texas 1,500,000[12]
4 Matamoros - Brownsville Tamaulipas Texas 1,136,995[12]
5 Mexicali - Calexico Baja California California 956,223[12]
6 Nuevo Laredo - Laredo Tamaulipas Texas 747,494[12]
7 Nogales - Nogales Sonora Arizona 234,809[nb 1]
8 Piedras Negras - Eagle Pass Coahuila Texas 230,205[nb 2]
9 San Luis Río Colorado - San Luis Sonora Arizona 188,152[nb 3]
10 Ciudad Acuña - Del Río Coahuila Texas 183,750[nb 4]

Mexico City megalopolis[edit]

Mexico City megalopolis location

A megalopolis is defined as a long chain of continuous metropolitan areas or territories that are relatively integrated amongst each other, a clear example being the Northeast Megalopolis in the United States. In 1996, the Programa General de Desarollo Urbano del Distrito Federal first proposed this concept to refer to the Mexico City megalopolis, or "megalopolis of central Mexico", which was later expanded by PROAIRE, a metropolitan commission on the environment.[13]

Known in Spanish as the corona regional del centro de México (regional ring), the megalopolis of Central Mexico was defined as the consolidation of the metropolitan areas of the Valley of Mexico, Puebla, Cuernavaca, Toluca, Pachuca, Tlaxcala, Tulancingo, Tula, Cuautla and Tianguistenco.

The megalopolis spreads over 19,500 square kilometres (7,500 sq mi), and consists of 185 subdivisions in 6 federative entities: 169 municipalities, 81 in the State of Mexico, 39 in Tlaxcala, 19 in Puebla, 16 in Hidalgo, and 14 in Morelos; plus the 16 boroughs of Mexico City.[13]

Its population as of 2020 is 30.8 million people, about 25% of the country's total, and it is considered as one of the most populated regions in Latin America.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Sum of legal residents of Nogales, Sonora (213,976) and Nogales, Arizona (20,833).
  2. ^ Sum of legal residents of Eagle Pass Metropolitan Area's population (48,401) and Piedras Negras, Coahuila (154,360).
  3. ^ Sum of legal residents of San Luis Río Colorado, Sonora (164,342) and San Luis, Arizona (23,810).
  4. ^ Sum of legal residents of Ciudad Acuña, Coahuila (135,605) and Del Rio, Texas (46,682).

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Jaime Sobrino. "Gobierno y administración metropolitana y regional" (in Spanish). INAP. Retrieved 2020-12-30.
  2. ^ Luis Unikel. "El desarrollo urbano de México: diagnóstico e implicaciones futuras" (in Spanish). El Colegio de México. Retrieved 2020-12-30.
  3. ^ a b "Delimitation of the Metropolitan Areas in Mexico" (PDF) (in Spanish). CONAPO. Retrieved 2020-12-30.
  4. ^ a b c d "Delimitation of Mexico's Metropolitan Areas 2015" (in Spanish). CONAPO. Retrieved 2020-12-29.
  5. ^ "Censo de Población y Vivienda 2020 - SCITEL" (in Spanish). Retrieved 2021-01-26.
  6. ^ "Censo de Población y Vivienda 2010 - Consulta" (in Spanish). INEGI. Retrieved 2020-12-11.
  7. ^ "San Quintín will be the sixth municipality in Baja California" (in Spanish). El Financiero. Retrieved 2020-12-30.
  8. ^ Silvia Hernández (2011-02-02). "Bacalar, el décimo municipio de Q. Roo" (in Spanish). El Universal. Retrieved 2011-02-05.
  9. ^ a b David M. Bridgeland, Ron Zahavi. Business Modeling: A Practical Guide to Realizing Business Value. Morgan Kaufmann, 2008. p. 134. ISBN 0-12-374151-3.
  10. ^ "Borders and Law Enforcement". U.S. Embassy Mexico. Archived from the original on 3 September 2009. Retrieved 8 December 2009.
  11. ^ Michael Pacione. Urban geography: a global perspective. Routledge, 2005. p. 105. ISBN 0-415-34305-4.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g "Metropolitan areas in the Americas". World Gazetteer. Archived from the original on 2007-10-01. Retrieved 8 December 2009.
  13. ^ a b Área metropolitana del Valle de México PROAIRE

External links[edit]