The World Factbook (1990)/Mexico



World Factbook (1990) Mexico.jpg

See regional map II


Total area: 1,972,550 km²; land area: 1,923,040 km²

Comparative area: slightly less than three times the size of Texas

Land boundaries: 4,538 km total; Belize 250 km, Guatemala 962 km, US 3,326 km

Coastline: 9,330 km

Maritime claims:

Contiguous zone: 24 nm
Continental shelf: natural prolongation of continental margin or 200 nm
Extended 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

Natural resources: crude oil, silver, copper, gold, lead, zinc, natural gas, timber

Land use: 12% arable land; 1% permanent crops; 39% meadows and pastures; 24% forest and woodland; 24% other; includes 3% irrigated

Environment: subject to tsunamis along the Pacific coast and destructive earthquakes in the center and south; natural water resources scarce and polluted in north, inaccessible and poor quality in center and extreme southeast; deforestation; erosion widespread; desertification; serious air pollution in Mexico City and urban centers along US-Mexico border

Note: strategic location on southern border of US


Population: 87,870,154 (July 1990), growth rate 2.2% (1990)

Birth rate: 29 births/1,000 population (1990)

Death rate: 5 deaths/1,000 population (1990)

Net migration rate: -2 migrants/ 1 ,000 population (1990)

Infant mortality rate: 33 deaths/1,000 live births (1990)

Life expectancy at birth: 68 years male, 76 years female (1990)

Total fertility rate: 3.4 children born/woman (1990)

Nationality: noun—Mexican(s); adjective—Mexican

Ethnic divisions: 60% mestizo (Indian-Spanish), 30% Amerindian or predominantly Amerindian, 9% white or predominantly white, 1% other

Religion: 97% nominally Roman Catholic, 3% Protestant

Language: Spanish

Literacy: 88%

Labor force: 26,100,000 (1988); 31.4% services; 26% agriculture, forestry, hunting, and fishing, 13.9% commerce, 12.8% manufacturing, 9.5% construction, 4.8% transportation, 1.3% mining and quarrying, 0.3% electricity, (1986)

Organized labor: 35% of labor force


Long-form name: United Mexican States

Type: federal republic operating under a centralized government

Capital: Mexico

Administrative divisions: 31 states (estados, singular—estado) and 1 federal district* (distrito federal); Aguascalientes, Baja California Norte, Baja California Sur, Campeche, Chiapas, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Colima, Distrito Federal*, Durango, Guanajuato, Guerrero, Hidalgo, Jalisco, México, Michoacán, Morelos, Nayarit, Nuevo León, Oaxaca, Puebla, Querétaro, Quintana Roo, San Luis Potosí, Sinaloa, Sonora, Tabasco, Tamaulipas, Tlaxcala, Veracruz, Yucatán, Zacatecas

Independence: 16 September 1810 (from Spain)

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

National holiday: Independence Day, 16 September (1810)

Executive branch: president, Cabinet

Legislative branch: bicameral National Congress (Congreso de la Unión) consists of an upper chamber or Senate (Cámara de Senadores) and a lower chamber or Chamber of Deputies (Cámara de Diputados)

Judicial branch: Supreme Court of Justice (Suprema Corte de Justicia)

Leaders: Chief of State and Head of Government—President Carlos SALINAS de Gortari (since 1 December 1988)

Political parties and leaders: (recognized parties) Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), Luis Donaldo Colosio Murrieta; National Action Party (PAN), Luis Alvarez; Popular Socialist Party (PPS), Indalecio Sayago Herrera; Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), Cuauhtemoc Cardenas; Cardenist Front for the National Reconstruction Party (PFCRN), Rafael Aguilar Talamantes; Authentic Party of the Mexican Revolution (PARM), Carlos Enrique Cantu Rosas

Suffrage: universal and compulsory (but not enforced) at age 18

Elections: President—last held on 6 July 1988 (next to be held September 1994); results—Carlos Salinas de Gortari (PRI) 50.74%, Cuauhtémoc Cardénas Solórzano (FDN) 31.06%, Manuel Clouthier (PAN) 16.81%; others 1.39%; note—several of the smaller parties ran a common candidate under a coalition called the National Democratic Front (FDN)

Senate—last held on 6 July 1988 (next to be held September 1991); results—PRI 94%, FDN (now PRD) 6%; seats—(64 total) number of seats by party NA;

Chamber of Deputies—last held on 6 July 1988 (next to be held September 1991); results—PRI 53%, PAN 20%, PFCRN 10%, PPS 6%, PARM 7%, PMS (now part of PRD) 4%; seats—(500 total) number of seats by party NA

Other political or pressure groups: Roman Catholic Church, Confederation of Mexican Workers (CTM), Confederation of Industrial Chambers (CONCAMIN), Confederation of National Chambers of Commerce (CONCANACO), National Peasant Confederation (CNC), National Confederation of Popular Organizations (CNOP), Revolutionary Workers Party (PRT), Mexican Democratic Party (PDM), 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), Business Coordination Council (CCE)

Member of: FAO, G-77, GATT, Group of Eight, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAC, ICAO, ICO, IDA, IDB—Inter-American Development Bank, IFAD, IFC, ILO, ILZSG, IMF, IMO, INTELSAT, INTERPOL, IRC, ISO, ITU, IWC—International Whaling Commission, LAIA, OAS, PAHO, SELA, UN, UNESCO, UPU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WSG, WTO

Diplomatic representation: Ambassador Gustavo PETRICIOLI Iturbide; Chancery at 1911 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington DC 20006; telephone (202) 728-1600; there are Mexican Consulates General in Chicago, Dallas, Denver, El Paso, Houston, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, San Francisco, San Antonio, San Diego, and Consulates in Albuquerque, Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Brownsville (Texas), Calexico (California), Corpus Christi, Del Rio (Texas), Detroit, Douglas (Arizona), Eagle Pass (Texas), Fresno (California), Kansas City (Missouri), Laredo, McAllen (Texas), Miami, Nogales (Arizona), Oxnard (California), Philadelphia, Phoenix, Presidio (Texas), Sacramento, St. Louis, St. Paul (Minneapolis), Salt Lake City, San Bernardino, San Jose, San Juan (Puerto Rico), and Seattle; US—Ambassador John D. NEGROPONTE, Jr.; Embassy at Paseo de la Reforma 305, Mexico 5, D.F. (mailing address is P. O. Box 3087, Laredo, TX 78044); telephone [52](5) 211-0042; there are US Consulates General in Ciudad Juarez, Guadalajara, Monterrey, and Tijuana, and Consulates in Hermosillo, Matamoros, Mazatlan, Merida, and Nuevo Laredo

Flag: three equal vertical bands of green (hoist side), white, and red; the coat of arms (an eagle perched on a cactus with a snake is its beak) is centered in the white band


Overview: Mexico's economy is a mixture of state-owned industrial plants (notably oil), private manufacturing and services, and both large-scale and traditional agriculture. In the 1980s Mexico experienced severe economic difficulties: the nation accumulated large external debts as world petroleum prices fell; rapid population growth outstripped the domestic food supply; and inflation, unemployment, and pressures to emigrate became more acute. Growth in national output dropped from 8% in 1980 to 1.1% in 1988 and 2.5% in 1989. The US is Mexico's major trading partner, accounting for two-thirds of its exports and imports. After petroleum, border assembly plants and tourism are the largest earners of foreign exchange. The government, in consultation with international economic agencies, is implementing programs to stabilize the economy and foster growth.

GDP: $187.0 billion, per capita $2,165; real growth rate 2.5% (1989)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 20% (1989)

Unemployment rate: 20% (1989 est.)

Budget: revenues $36.1 billion; expenditures $56.1 billion, including capital expenditures of $7.7 billion (1988)

Exports: $23.1 billion (f.o.b., 1989); commodities—crude oil, oil products, coffee, shrimp, engines, cotton; partners—US 66%, EC 16%, Japan 11%

Imports: $23.3 billion (c.i.f., 1989); commodities—grain, metal manufactures, agricultural machinery, electrical equipment; partners—US 62%, EC 18%, Japan 10%

External debt: $95.1 billion (1989)

Industrial production: growth rate 1.3% (1988)

Electricity: 26,900,000 kW capacity; 103,670 million kWh produced, 1,200 kWh per capita (1989)

Industries: food and beverages, tobacco, chemicals, iron and steel, petroleum, mining, textiles, clothing, transportation equipment, tourism

Agriculture: accounts for 9% of GDP and over 25% of work force; large number of small farms at subsistence level; major food crops—corn, wheat, rice, beans; cash crops—cotton, coffee, fruit, tomatoes; fish catch of 1 .4 million metric tons among top 20 nations (1987)

Illicit drugs: illicit cultivation of opium poppy and cannabis continues in spite of government eradication efforts; major link in chain of countries used to smuggle cocaine from South American dealers to US markets

Aid: US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY70-88), $3.0 billion; Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-87), $6.8 billion; Communist countries (1970-88), $110 million

Currency: Mexican peso (plural—pesos); 1 Mexican peso (Mex$) = 100 centavos

Exchange rates: market rate of Mexican pesos (Mex$) per US$1—2,660.3 (January 1990), 2,461.3 (1989), 2,273.1 (1988), 1,378.2 (1987), 61 1.8 (1986), 256.9 (1985)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Railroads: 20,680 km total; 19,950 km 1.435-meter standard gauge; 730 km 0.914-meter narrow gauge

Highways: 210,000 km total; 65,000 km paved, 30,000 km semipaved or cobblestone, 60,000 km rural roads (improved earth) or roads under construction, 55,000 km unimproved earth roads

Inland waterways: 2,900 km navigable rivers and coastal canals

Pipelines: crude oil, 4,381 km; refined products, 8,345 km; natural gas, 13,254 km

Ports: Acapulco, Coatzacoalcos, Ensenada, Guaymas, Manzanillo, Mazatlan, Progreso, Puerto Vallarta, Salina Cruz, Tampico, Veracruz

Merchant marine: 68 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 1,041,229 GRT/1,552,478 DWT; includes 5 short-sea passenger, 10 cargo, 2 refrigerated cargo, 2 roll-on/roll-off cargo, 31 petroleum, oils, and lubricants (POL) tanker, 3 chemical tanker, 7 liquefied gas, 4 bulk, 4 combination bulk

Civil air: 174 major transport aircraft

Airports: 1,785 total, 1,484 usable; 190 with permanent-surface runways; 2 with runways over 3,659 m; 31 with runways 2,440-3,659 m; 259 with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Telecommunications: highly developed system with extensive radio relay links; connection into Central American Microwave System; 6.41 million telephones; stations—679 AM, no FM, 238 TV, 22 shortwave; 120 domestic satellite terminals; satellite earth stations—4 Atlantic Ocean INTELSAT and 1 Pacific Ocean INTELSAT

Defense Forces

Branches: Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps

Military manpower: males 15-49, 21,575,525; 15,803,322 fit for military service; 1,118,046 reach military age (18) annually

Defense expenditures: 0.5% of GDP