Jul 212016
 

Mexican photographer Diego Huerta has spent the past four years on a quest to photograph all of the indigenous groups in the country. He publishes select images on his website and on his instagram account and the collection of images makes for compelling viewing, hence articles about him in the press, including one entitled “Photographer Captures The Breathtaking Beauty Of Mexico’s Indigenous Communities” in the Huffington Post.

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For an introduction to Mexico’s indigenous peoples see An overview of Mexico’s indigenous peoples. Recent research has shown that the indigenous groups are more genetically diverse than was previously thought. They add a very significant diversity to the languages spoken in Mexico. See, for example, The geography of languages in Mexico: Spanish and 62 indigenous languages, and Is the number of speakers of indigenous languages in Mexico increasing? The many indigenous languages have resulted in some very distinctive place names.

At least one of the indigenous languages in Mexico is very unusual – Whistling your way from A to B: the whistled language of the Chinantec people in Oaxaca – and some have no words for “left” or “right”, while others are now spoken by only a very small number of people. The extreme example of this is Only two native speakers remain of Ayapaneco, an indigenous language in Tabasco.

Geo-Mexico has dozens of posts about specific indigenous groups in Mexico. The tag system and the site search engine will locate short articles related to the Huichol, Tarahumara, Aztecs, Maya and several other groups.

Dec 212015
 

The National Statistics Institute (INEGI) has released the results of its inter-census study carried out in March 2015 which involved visits to more than 7 million households across the country.

Children in Zitácuaro, Michoacán. Photo: Tony Burton. All rights reserved.

Children in Zitácuaro, Michoacán. Photo: Tony Burton. All rights reserved.

As of March 2015, Mexico’s total population was 119,530,753 (48.6% male, 51.4% female), up from 111,954,660 million in 2010, a growth rate averaging 1.4% a year. This is the first time for 45 years that the rate of growth has not fallen. Analysts had expected a 1.2% growth rate over the period, but attribute the 1.4% figure to a slightly higher fertility rate than anticipated, together with an unexpected fall in the number of young people emigrating from Mexico. [Note that the total population figure is slightly lower than the figure released in July from Mexico’s National Population Council (Conapo) of 121,783,280.]

Since 2010 the proportion of seniors (over age 65) has risen from 6.2% to 7.2% of the total, and the proportion of households headed by a female is up from 25% to 29%. The median age in Mexico is now 27 years. The youngest median age is in Chiapas (23), the oldest in the Federal District (33). Overall, Mexico’s dependency ratio is falling, continuing a period of “demographic dividend“.

INEGI found that the number of households in Mexico is rising 2.4% a year and now totals about 32 million, giving an average number of 3.7 occupants/household. 98.7% of homes have electricity, 74.1% have piped water inside the building, a further 20.4% outside the building but on the property; 75.6% connected to drainage.

Mexico’s most populated states remain the State of Mexico, the Federal District (Mexico City) and Veracruz, while the smallest states in terms of population are Baja California, Campeche and Colima. The most populated municipality is Iztapalapa (1.8 million), followed by Ecatepec (1.7 million) and Tijuana (1.6 million). The most rapidly growing municipality in the entire country is Pesquería, in Nuevo León, which has grown a startling 35.2% a year since 2010, mainly because of the new Kia vehicle factory opening there.

The item of inter-census news that attracted most press attention was INEGI’s so-called discovery that there were 1.4 million black Mexicans. This was hardly news to most demographers, but the inter-census survey was the first time INEGI had included a question aimed at identifying Afro-Mexicans, as a pilot question for the full 2020 census: “Based on your culture, history and traditions, do you consider yourself black, meaning Afro-Mexican or Afro-descendant?”

INEGI did indeed find that about 1.4 million citizens (1.2% of the population) self-identified as “Afro-Mexican” or “Afro-descendant”, with significantly more women opting for the category than men (755,000 women; 677,000 men).

It was no surprise to find that most Afro-Mexicans live in the states of Guerrero, Oaxaca and Veracruz. The survey showed that Mexico’s self-identified black population is not currently disadvantaged in terms of access to education and health services or work opportunities, putting it well ahead of Mexico’s indigenous population in that regard.

Afro-Mexican activists welcomed the inter-census question and results, but called for Mexico’s history books to reflect their contribution. Benigno Gallardo, an Afro-Mexican activist in Guerrero, pointed out that, “In school they teach our children about Europeans and indigenous natives, but the history books practically don’t recognize our history.”

Certainly more awareness of the long history of Afro-Mexicans is badly needed. For example, how many people realize that Blacks outnumbered Spaniards in Mexico until after 1810 or that Vasconcelas’ “Cosmic Race” (La “Raza Cósmica”) excluded Mexico’s African heritage?

Want to learn more? A good place to start is Bobby Vaughn’s website Afro-Mexico or his Black Mexico Home Page, Afro-Mexicans of the Costa Chica, on MexConnect, which provide links to several of his articles including Blacks in Mexico. A Brief Overview.

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Nov 072015
 

A BBVA-Bancomer report, based on Mexico’s 2010 census data includes an interesting graph showing where “Americans older than 50” live in Mexico. The data is based on place of birth, so some of the “Americans” in the data are of Mexican heritage – they were born in the USA, to parents who were born in Mexico, and have since relocated to Mexico.

americans-in-mexico-2010-graph

As the graph highlights, almost half of all Americans living in Mexico live in one of just 20 municipalities. Tijuana, just across the border from San Diego, leads the way, with 6.4% of all the Americans over age 50 living in Mexico, followed by Chapala and San Miguel de Allende, the only two non-border municipalities in the top seven locations for older Americans.

Perhaps no surprise, then, that both these areas have weekly English-language newspapers. The Chapala area is served by The Guadalajara Reporter which covers Guadalajara, Zapopan, Chapala and (to a lesser extent) Puerto Vallarta, potentially reaching 9.7% of all Americans over the age of 50 in Mexico. For its part, San Miguel de Allende has Atención San Miguel. Both locations are popular choices for retirement.

Kudos to “Madeline”, who points out in a comment (below), that there are several other English-language papers in Mexico. They include two in Puerto Vallarta: PV Mirror and the Vallarta Tribune. In Quintana Roo, Playa del Carmen has the Playa Times. In Baja California, there is the biweekly Baja Times and no doubt there are a few others, which we will add in due course! [Based in Mexico City, The News – thenews.mx – was the closest thing to a national daily in English, with distribution points in many parts of the country, but ceased publication in early 2016.]

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Mexico has a 2015 population of 121 million people

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Jul 162015
 

The latest population estimates released by the National Population Council (Conapo) to coincide with World Population Day show that Mexico has a population in mid-2015 of 121,783,280. Of this total, almost 43 million (35.4%) are adolescents, between 10 and 29 years of age.

A spokesperson for Conapo drew attention to the fact that Mexico still needs to do more to overcome gender inequality in fields such as education, salaries and working conditions.

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Slight decrease in the number of “Los Ninis” in Mexico

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Feb 092015
 

Los ninis are young people (aged 15-29) that “ni trabaja, ni estudia” (neither work nor study). They have become the focus of much press attention in the past few years, often accompanied by the phrase “Mexico’s lost generation”.

nini-logo

According to a recent OECD report, “Education at Glance 2015”, two out of every ten Mexicans in the 15-29 age group neither studied nor worked in 2013, the latest year for which there is data. The report found that 22.3% of Mexican in that age category were ninis, a slight decrease compared to 25.0% in 2011. After population increase is taken into account, Mexico has about 200,000 fewer ninis than in 2011.

Mexico’s percentage of ninis is above the average for all 34 OECD member countries, and is the fifth highest among OECD members, after Turkey (31.3%), Greece (28.5 %), Spain (26.8 %) and Italy (26.1 %). Very few of Mexico’s 7.3 million ninis (only 3.8%) are technically “unemployed”; most ninis have not actively sought work and are therefore considered “inactive”.

In Mexico, most ninis are female. For example, in the 20-24 age group, around 10% of males are ninis, compared to 40% of females.

The figure of 7.3 million will no doubt again be disputed by Mexico’s Secretariats of Education (SE) and of Labor and Social Welfare. In 2011, the Secretariats issued a joint rebuttal of the OECD figure, and claimed that 78% of those reported by OECD as ninis were young married women, with children, who dedicated themselves to home-making. The Secretariats emphasized that the figures revealed a gender inequality in access to educational and economic opportunities, linked to cultural patterns where many young women still saw marriage and motherhood as their preferred or only option.

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Mexico’s 2014 population update: 118.4 million

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Jul 112014
 

The National Statistics Institute (INEGI) has released population updates to coincide with today’s celebration of World Population Day (11 July). According to INEGI, Mexico currently has 118.4 million people, and is the 11th most populous country in the world.

The total world population is estimated at 7.2 billion, with slightly over half that number living in one of just 6 countries: China, India, USA, Indonesia, Brazil and Pakistan. The total fertility rate (globally) fell from 3.04 children/woman (1990-1995) to 2.53 children/woman (2005-2010). In 2010, the global life expectancy stood at 68.7 years.

Projections made by Mexico’s National Population Council (CONAPO) put Mexico’s 2013 fertility rate at just 2.2 children/woman, while life expectancy has risen (slightly) to 74.5 years. The reduction of fertility rate in Mexico is occurring in a society where the average level of schooling is increasing and where women report greater economic, social and political participation.

Between 1990 and 2011, maternal mortality in Mexico was reduced by 51.5%. Infant mortality over that period also fell, from 88 to 43 deaths/100,000 live births.

The percentage of the population that is aged 30 to 59 years increased between 1990 and 2011 from 25.5 to 35.7 %, while the percentage aged 60 and older rose from 6.2 to 9.5%. The proportion of Mexico’s population that is aged 60 and older is expected to continue rising and is predicted to reach 14.8% of the total population in 2030 and 21.5% in 2050.

INEGI also reported that the four leading causes of death among Mexicans are:

  • Diabetes mellitus (14.1% of all deaths)
  • Ischaemic heart disease (12.3%)
  • Liver diseases (5.5%)
  • Cerebrovascular diseases (5.3%)

Taken together, these four diseases, classified as chronic degenerative diseases, account for 37.2% of all deaths. Clearly while life expectancy in Mexico is increasing, it is accompanied by higher levels of obesity and physical inactivity. This will place a massive strain on health care budgets in the future.

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Study finds indigenous Mexicans far more diverse than previously thought

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Jun 262014
 

A recently released study [1] indicates that genetic diversity among indigenous Mexicans is far greater than previously thought. Ethnic Seri living in isolated parts of Sonora are as genetically different from isolated Lacandon living near the Guatemala border as Europeans are from Chinese. These differences must have existed for thousands of years before Europeans arrived in the New World. The differences are also reflected in mestizos living in geographically separated parts of Mexico.

Source: A. MORENO-ESTRADA ET AL., SCIENCE (2014)

Source: Moreno-Estrada et al. Science (2014)

The study in the June 13 issue of Science was conducted by researchers from the University of California, San Francisco and Stanford. They studied the genomic data from 511 native Mexicans from 20 of Mexico’s 65 indigenous groups scattered throughout Mexico (see map) from the Seri (SER) and Tarahumara (TAR) in the northwest, to the Purépecha (PUR) in the west, Trique (TRQ) and Zapotec (ZAP)in the south as well as three subgroups of Maya (MYA) on the Yucatán Peninsula [2]. They also analyzed similar data from 500 mestizos from ten Mexican states as well as some from Guadalajara and Los Angeles.

The findings have great implications for the study of diseases in these populations [3]. For example a lung capacity test can indicate a disease in one indigenous group while the same test results would be normal in a different indigenous group.

References:

[1] Moreno-Estrada et al. “The genetics of Mexico recapitulates Native American substructure and affects biomedical traits”, Science 13 June 2014; Vol 344 no.6189, p. 1301.

[2] Lizzie Wade. “People from Mexico show stunning amount of genetic diversity”, ScienceMag.org, June 12, 2014.

[3] Karen Weintaub,”Mexico’s Natives didn’t mix much, new study shows”, National Geographic, June 12, 2014.

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Dec 052013
 

After studying 22 countries with sizable retirement communities, International Living (a consultancy group) rated Mexico as the fourth most attractive country for foreigners to retire to in 2013, after Ecuador, Panama and Malaysia. The study looked at eight factors: real estate, benefits for retired people, cost of living, integration, entertainment, health, infrastructure and climate.

According to the US Census Bureau, there are 41 million people of retirement age in the USA. More than half of them have annual incomes of between 70,000 and 150,000 dollars, and they are expected, on average, to live to the age of 83; 80% are home owners. This number will swell to 72.8 million by 2030, 40% of whom may have difficulties maintaining their previous lifestyles during retirement. Given its proximity, this makes Mexico an attractive destination for many baby-boomers seeking a comfortable retirement lifestyle.

But where in Mexico will these retirees choose to live?

According to this analysis by the consultancy Aregional, there are 36 specific areas in Mexico where the real estate market is targeting US baby boomers seeking a place to retire. About half of these locations (see map) are in central and western Mexico. Locations in these regions include Guanajuato and San Miguel de Allende (both in the state of Guanajuato), Colima, Comala and Manzanillo (Colima); Chapala, Ajijic and Puerto Vallarta (Jalisco); and Nuevo Vallarta and Punta Mita (Nayarit).

Locations of retiree real estate developments. Credit: Aregional

Locations of retiree real estate developments. Credit: Aregional

Locations in northern Mexico important for retiree real estate include Rosarito, Ensenada and Los Algodones (Baja California); Los Cabos, La Paz and Loreto (Baja California Sur); Puerto Peñasco (Sonora) and Mazatlán (Sinaloa). [Kudos to RickS for noticing that Puerto Peñasco is not located very accurately!]

Retiree real estate is also prominent in several places in the south and south-east of Mexico, including  Acapulco and Punta Ixtapa (Guerrero); Huatulco (Oaxaca); Playa del Carmen and Cancún  (Quintana Roo); Puerto Progreso (Yucatán), as well as the cities of Campeche and Veracruz.

It is not known how many US retirees have already chosen to live in Mexico. While it is relatively easy to quantify the number of retiree tourists (those staying more than one night, but less than six months), it is impossible to accurately quantify the number of non-working, non-Mexicans who have chosen to relocate full-time to Mexico. Technically, these “residential tourists” are not really tourists at all but longer-term migrants holding residency visas.

Residential tourists already form a very distinct group in several Mexican towns and cities, with lifestyle needs and spending patterns that are very different from those of regular tourists. Their additional economic impact is believed to exceed $500 million a year.

A case study of residential tourism, and its pros and cons, in Chapala-Ajijic on the northern shore of Lake Chapala is an integral part of chapter 19 of Geo-Mexico: the geography and dynamics of modern Mexico.

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“Los que llegaron”, Spanish language videos about Mexico’s immigrant groups

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Oct 052013
 

Once TV México (“Eleven TV Mexico”) is an educational TV network owned by the National Polytechnic Institute (Instituto Politecnico Nacional) in Mexico City. Over the years, Once TV México programs have won numerous national and international awards.

Many of its programs are available as webcasts or on Youtube. Once TV México has made hundreds of programs that provide valuable resources for Spanish-language geography classes or for students of Spanish or anyone wanting to improve their Spanish-language skills. For example, their long-running program “Aquí nos tocó vivir” (“Here We Live”) has explored all manner of places throughout Mexico over the past 35 years, and has received UNESCO recognition for its excellence.

Of particular interest to us is “Los que llegaron” (“Those Who Arrived”), a series of programs looking at different immigrant groups in Mexico. Each 20-25 minute program focuses on a different group and explores the history of their migration to Mexico, their adaptation to Mexican life, their integration into society, the areas where they chose to settle, and the links between their home countries and Mexico.

Mexico has a long history of welcoming people from other countries, including political refugees. Each of these programs offers some fascinating insights into the challenges faced by migrants arriving in Mexico for the first time.

Sister city of Segusino, Italy

Sister city of Segusino, Italy

For instance, the program about Italian immigration to Mexico (above), explains why Mexico was seeking colonizers in the middle of the 19th century in order to populate and develop rural areas. One group of Italians settled in Veracruz (in present-day Gutiérrez Zamora); another group, 3,000 strong, and from the Veneto region in northern Italy, settled in Chipilo, near the city of Puebla. (For anyone not familiar with Chipilo, one of our favorite bloggers, Daniel Hernandez, has penned this short but memorable description of a typical Sunday morning there: Cruising in Chipilo, an Italian village in Mexico).

Italian immigration increased dramatically after the 1914-1918 war. Today, according to the program, there are approximately 13,000 Italian citizens residing in Mexico and an estimated 85,000 Mexicans of Italian descent. Note, though, that most sources quote a much higher figure for the latter category, perhaps as high as 450,000.

[Aside: In chapter 4 of “Mexican National Identity, Memory, Innuendo and Popular Culture”, William H. Beezley looks at the role of itinerant puppet theater in molding Mexico’s national identity. The largest and most famous single troupe of all was the Rosete Aranda troupe, formed by two Italian immigrants in 1850. The troupes went from strength to strength in the next half-century. By 1880, the Rosete Aranda company had 1,300 marionettes and by 1900 a staggering 5,104. Their annual tours around the country helped influence national opinions and attitudes.]

Program list for the “Los que llegaron” series:

  • Españoles (Spaniards)
  • Alemanes (Germans)
  • Húngaros (Hungarians)
  • Italianos (Italians)
  • Argentinos (Argentines)
  • Ingleses (English)
  • Japoneses (Japanese)
  • Estadounidenses (Americans)
  • Coreanos (Koreans)
  • Franceses (French)
  • Chinos (Chinese)
  • Libaneses (Lebanese)
  • Rusos y Ucranianos (Russians and Ukrainians)

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Where do most Hispanics in the USA live?

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Sep 232013
 

A recent study by Pew Research analyzes the geographical distribution of the over 53 million Hispanics who currently live in the USA. The “Hispanic” or “Latino” population is composed of many different segments. It includes families that have lived in the USA for numerous generations as well as recent immigrants from many countries. Mexicans are by far the largest Hispanic origin group. There are 34.7 million Mexicans in the USA accounting for 64% of all Hispanics. A future post will look at the geographic distribution of Mexicans in the USA. Several previous posts, including “Recent trends for Mexicans living in the USA”, have investigated the socio-economic characteristics of Mexicans living in the USA.

Though Hispanics are spreading throughout the country, they still tend to be concentrated in the west, particularly states that border Mexico [see map]. Almost half (46%) of Hispanics live in California (14.4 million) or Texas (9.8). Other states with relatively large Hispanic populations include Florida (3.5m), Illinois (2.1m) and Arizona (1.9m). Almost 47% of New Mexico’s population is Hispanic compared to 38% in both California and Texas.

Map of Hispanic population in USAFully 44% of Hispanics live in only 10 metropolitan areas. Almost half (46%) of the Greater Los Angeles population is Hispanic. The Los Angeles–Long Beach metro area has 5.8 million Hispanics and the neighboring Riverside–San Bernadino metro area has another 2.1 million, giving Greater Los Angeles 7.9 million Hispanics, 15% of the USA total. The New York–Northeastern New Jersey metropolitan area is next with 4.3 million Hispanics. Other metro areas with large Hispanic populations include Houston (2.1m), Chicago (2.0m), Dallas (1.8m), Miami (1.6m), San Francisco–San Jose (1.6), Phoenix (1.2m), San Antonio (1.1m) and San Diego (1.0m).

Over 80% of the Greater Los Angeles Hispanic population is Mexican. Mexicans also dominate the Hispanic populations in Houston (78%), Chicago (79%), Dallas (85%) as well as most other metro areas in the USA. In metro New York, Puerto Ricans are most numerous among Hispanics (28%) followed by Dominicans (21%) and Mexicans (12%). Puerto Ricans are also most numerous in Orlando (51%), Tampa–St Petersburg (34%), Philadelphia (56%), Boston (29%) and Hartford (69%). Cubans dominate the Hispanic population in Miami (55%), Fort Lauderdale (21%) and West Palm Beach (21%). In metro Washington DC, Salvadorians are most numerous among Hispanics (32%).

Roughly one third (36%) of all Hispanics in the USA are foreign-born; the rest were all born in the USA. Miami has the highest proportion of foreign-born Hispanics with 66%. No other metro area with over a million Hispanics has more than 43% foreign-born. On the other hand, only 17% of Hispanics in the San Antonio area are foreign-born with 83% born in the USA.

Source of data:

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