This post summarizes some important characteristics of Mexico’s population and households, as revealed by the definitive results of the 2010 population census.
5.3 million Mexicans over the age of 15 are unable to read and write a simple message (i.e. they are functionally illiterate). The highest rates of illiteracy are in Chiapas (17.0%), Guerrero (16.7%) and Oaxaca (16.3%), with the lowest rates in Mexico City (2.1%), Nuevo León (2.2%) and Baja California and Coahuila (both 2.6%).
The average age of Mexico’s population has risen from 22 years in 2000 to 26 years in 2010. In 2010, 29% of the population was under the age of 15 (compared to 34% in 2000) and 6.3% was in the 65+ age group (compared to 5.0% in 2000).
The dependency ratio of a population is worked out by comparing the number of people of working age (normally taken to be 15-64 years old) with the number of young people (under age 15) and elderly (65+ years old). The dependency ratio has shifted from 64 dependents in every 100 people (64/100) in 2000 to 55/100 in 2010. More significantly, of the 64 dependents in 2000, 56 were children and 8 were elderly, whereas of the 55 in 2010, 45 were children and 10 were elderly. This is a clear shift towards an “elderly-dependent” population.
Fertility and education
The 2010 census shows that women of child-bearing age (15-49) have had an average of 1.7 children each, compared to 2.0 children in 2000. The averages mask enormous differences in rates. For example, women with a senior high school (preparatoria) education have 1.1 children on average, compared with 2.5 children for women who only completed secondary school, 3.3 children for those who completed primary education, and 3.5 children for those without any formal education.
Almost all (93%) of Mexico’s 35.6 million households have at least one TV, 82.1% have refrigerators, 65% cell phones, 45% have a vehicle, 43% a fixed telephone line, 29% a computer, and 21% have Internet access.