The Forbes magazine list of the world’s richest individuals in 2010 consists of 1011 individuals, each with a wealth of one billion dollars or more. Nine Mexicans (all men this year) made the list. The nine richest Mexicans are:
World rank / Name / Estimated wealth according to Forbes / Main business interests
#1 Carlos Slim Helú, 53.5 billion dollars, making him the richest man in the world. Fixed line telephone provider Telmex, cell phone provider América Móvil, Grupo Carso, Inbursa
#63 Ricardo Salinas Pliego, 10.1 billion dollars. Television company Televisón Azteca, domestic appliance store Elektra, bank Banco Azteca,
and cell phone company Iusacell
#72 Germán Larrea, 9.7 billion dollars. Grupo México – mining for copper and other minerals
#82 Alberto Bailleres, 8.3 billion dollars. Mining giant Peñoles, department store El Palacio de Hierro and Grupo Profuturo
#212 Jerónimo Arango, 4 billion dollars. Founder of Aurrerá supermarket chain and Grupo Cifra which controlled VIPS and El Portón restaurant chains, Suburbia department stores and tourist developments in Baja California Peninsula and Acapulco
#655 Emilio Azcárraga, 1.5 billion dollars. Television and media conglomerate Televisa,and Nextel cell phones
#828 Roberto Hernández, 1.2 billion dollars. Banker, one of main shareholders of Citigroup, and tourist developments in the Yucatán Peninsula
#937 (equal) Alfredo Harp Helú, 1 billion dollars. Shareholder in Citibank, telecommunications firm Avantel
#937 (equal) Joaquín Guzmán Loera (aka “El Chapo”), 1 billion dollars. Mexico’s most wanted man, head of the Sinaloa drugs cartel, the main supplier of cocaine to the US market
The combined total wealth of these 9 individuals is a staggering 90.3 billion dollars, equivalent to almost 6% of Mexico’s GDP.
The average earnings of Mexican workers registered in IMSS (Mexico’s Social Security Institute) is about 220 pesos a day or $6,300 (dollars) a year. The combined wealth of Mexico’s nine richest individuals is therefore equivalent to the total annual salaries of 14.3 million Mexicans earning this average salary!
Clearly, there are a handful of extremely wealthy individuals living in Mexico, alongside millions of Mexicans who are living at or below the poverty line. These income disparities have existed for a very long time, and are examined in detail in chapter 14 of Geo-Mexico: the geography and dynamics of modern Mexico. That chapter also analyzes the spatial patterns of wealth in Mexico, and discusses whether the gap between rich and poor has widened or narrowed in recent years.