Mexico Population and Economy

Mexico Population and Economy


The first residents of today’s Mexico, around the first millennium BC. C., were probably the Olmecs, followed by Xilanchi, Otomí, Mixtec and Zapotec who allied themselves then in a vain attempt to repel the Aztecs, Huaxtecos and Totonac who managed in part to resist subsequent invasions until the arrival of the conquistadors who killed them. Further south the Maya – Quiché, arrived around the VII century a. C. in Yucatán and on the border with Guatemala, after a long period of splendor followed by a violent and sudden decline, they merged in the eighth century with the powerful Toltecs, who had occupied Anáhuac; the two peoples were later defeated and subjugated by the Chichimechi. Belonging to the ethno-linguistic group of the Nauha, the Aztecs came instead from the north-western regions, the mythical Aztlán (“land of the heron”), starting from the 11th century, imposing themselves on the peoples previously settled in the plateau. The Anáhuac has remained, as in the past, the most populous part of the country. Deep transformations took place between 1518 and 1521 with the Spanish conquest and this in function of the different forms of exploitation. Among these, the breeding of livestock was immediately imposed, in relation to which the first large haciendas arose on vast lands assigned to the encomenderos, the Spanish landowners. Even more decisive was the mining exploitation that enriched the country in a prodigious way, giving birth to new and beautiful cities,, Guanajuato, Zacatecas etc. Already at the end of the seventeenth century there were 35 lively cities in Mexico, which included haciendas, ranchos (small properties) and villages, the latter more numerous in the traditional areas of Indian population, the former prevailing in the areas of colonization. At the same time there was an increasingly deep and extensive process of interbreeding, although large areas of intact Indian population were preserved, especially in the North.

Parallel to economic prosperity there was a significant demographic increase especially among the white and mestizo population, while the Indians were reduced, decimated by epidemics and by harsh economic exploitation. Throughout the nineteenth century. the Mexican population did not register strong increases, and this was due to the poor conditions in which the peón lived, the peasant, subjected to the colonial regime. Independence improved the situation, but the landed oligarchy gradually strengthened its regime, especially in the time of Porfirio Díaz. The campaigns did not yield enough for the masses of peons subject to the interests of the haciendados. The civil war of 1910-17 was the result of an unsustainable situation, which was followed by land reform, and the establishment of the ejidos, the rural communities that became owners of the plots and within which each peasant had his share of land in usufruct. From then on, the life of modern Mexico began and the first strong demographic increases took place; however, the civil war had caused heavy losses and it took a few decades for the population to reach the figure of 1910, when 15 million residents were registered. The most tumultuous increase took place starting from the 1940s, when mortality underwent significant reductions, while the birth rate kept the traditional values, very high, equal to 40-45%. In 1940 the population was 19 million and in 1960 already 38 million, while at the 1990 census there were over 81.2 million residents, which rose to over 103 million in 2005.

According to, the population of Mexico is made up of 64% of mestizos, 18% of Amerindians, spread especially in the North and South, while the Creoles, Mexicans of Spanish origin, and other whites, many of them recently immigrant North Americans, are the 15%; the other groups, including Chinese, Malays, etc. Along the southern coasts there are black and African minorities zambos, derived from the cross between Indios and black Africans. The population density (the average is 60 residents / km²) varies from area to area. In Anáhuac, in the part that belongs to the capital, there are the highest densities, well above 500 residents / km²; in the rest of the central band there are more than 150-200 residents / km2 everywhere. These values ​​decrease considerably in the North and in Baja California, where there is a density of 24 residents / km².


Mexico occupies a leading position among developing countries (in general it ranks second in economic importance among the states of Latin America, preceded only by Brazil), but still suffers from very marked social and territorial imbalances despite the State has intervened with multiple initiatives in order to remedy the heaviest inequalities and to eliminate the greatest pockets of backwardness. The most radical transformations of the Mexican economy began with the revolution; it set itself as its primary objective the elimination of the land oligarchies, which have always dominated the country; with the 1930s, under the presidency of Lázaro Cárdenas, the land reform process was accelerated with the subdivision of millions of hectares into small plots, which were established in state-owned peasant communities, the ejidos. It was also Cárdenas who nationalized in 1938, as part of a systematic nationalization of the main Mexican economic activities, the entire oil sector (managed by PEMEX, Petróleos Mexicanos), while already in 1937 the ownership of the main railway lines had been transferred to the State. After the war, government policy aimed at the continuation of this process, trying however to reconcile the never dormant socialist demands with the “technocratic” ones, in order to incentivize higher productivity and stable economic developments, requirements imposed by the very strong demographic growth of the Village. In this way, the energy sector and basic industry in general were boosted, by strengthening the infrastructural equipment (roads, ports, irrigation works, etc.), and at the same time the creation of new enterprises was favored by the State, also through an opportune protectionism, which allowed the affirmation of the industries producing consumer goods and the consequent attenuation of dependence on foreign countries. The rate of growth of production was, especially between 1965 and 1973 (period of maximum growth), among the highest in Latin America. The state, which was now responsible for over 40% of total investments, assumed an increasingly decisive role in the transformation of economic structures. Among the most decisive state initiatives implemented by the government, the nationalization of private banks, implemented in 1982 and the law of “Mexicanization” (1973), were of strategic importance, by which foreign capital was forbidden to have majority stakes in Mexican companies, thus also subjecting the private sector of the economy to state control. However, starting from the second half of the seventies Mexico accused in an increasingly macroscopic way the repercussions of the very serious international economic crisis.

Mexico Population and Economy

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