Sep 012011

In a recent post, we looked at the vexed question of the overall 2010 homicide rate for Mexico. We included a mention of  National System of Public Security (SNSP) data for Mexico that show that there were 18 intentional homicides (murders) per 100,000 population in 2010. This rate varies greatly from state to state (see graph). The rate in the state of Chihuahua, the epicenter of drug war violence, is 112 per 100,000 which is roughly twice as high as any individual country on the planet. Sinaloa which has experienced a rapid upsurge in drug violence was second with a murder rate of 87 per 100,000.

murders by state, 2010

Source: National System of Public Security (SNSP)

Other states with very high murder rates are Nuevo León with 76, Durango with 63, and Guerrero with 44. All of these states suffer from very high rates of drug-related murders. Over 93% of all murders in Chihuahua are drug-related, compared to 73% in Sinaloa, and about 70% in both Guerrero and Durango. The non-drug-related murder rate for Chihuahua of 9.4 is just above the national average of 8.1.

Yucatán has the lowest murder rate with just 0.5 murders per 100,000, lower than the rate in Canada and about one-tenth that of the USA. Other states with relatively low murder rates (see map) include Querétaro (1.0), Tlaxcala (1.5), Hidalgo (5.0) and Tabasco (5.4). All of these states are relatively free of drug-related violence.

Map of murder rate, 2010

Map of murder rate, 2010. Credit: Tony Burton / Geo-Mexico.

The national murder rate of 17.9 is almost twice the rate for the Federal District (D.F.) which is 9.2 per 100,000. Only about 18% of the murders in the capital city are drug-related. The murder rate in Jalisco of 12.0 is well below the national average, even if it has increased rapidly. Over half the murders in Jalisco in 2010 were drug-war-related. The State of Mexico also has a relatively low murder rate of 7.6 with 30% of murders related to the drug wars.

The main conclusion is that many northern states like Chihuahua, Sinaloa, Nuevo León and Durango are plagued by drug war violence and have very high murder rates. On the other hand, most states in the south and southeast, like Yucatán, Campeche and Tlaxcala are relatively free of drug war violence and historically have had low murder rates. One significant anomaly in the overall pattern appears to be Guerrero which is well to the south but has a high murder rate and a very significant amount of drug violence.

  One Response to “How do the rates of intentional homicide differ across Mexico?”

  1. Fantastic map and graph. Amazing that some tourists headed to Yucatan have cancelled their travel plans because they heard about drug violence in Juarez. Stamp out geographic ignorance!!

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