Mexico's key facts

by World Grain Staff
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Capital: Mexico City

Population: 109,955,400 (July 2008 est.)

Religions: Roman Catholic 76.5%, Protestant 6.3% (Pentecostal 1.4%, Jehovah’s Witness 1.1%, other 3.8%), other 0.3%, unspecified 13.8%, none 3.1% (2000 census)

Location: Middle America, bordering the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, between Belize and the United States (U.S.) and bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between Guatemala and the U.S.

Government: Federal republic; chief of state and head of government: President Felipe de Jesus Calderon (since Dec. 1, 2006).

Economy: Mexico has a free market economy in the trillion dollar class. It contains a mixture of modern and outmoded industry and agriculture, increasingly dominated by the private sector. Recent administrations have expanded competition in seaports, railroads, telecommunications, electricity generation, natural gas distribution and airports. Per capita income is one-fourth that of the U.S.; income distribution remains highly unequal. Trade with the U.S. and Canada has tripled since the implementation of NAFTA in 1994. Mexico has 12 free trade agreements with over 40 countries including, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, the European Free Trade Area, and Japan, putting more than 90% of trade under free trade agreements. In 2007, during his first year in office, the Felipe Calderon administration was able to garner support from the opposition to successfully pass a pension and a fiscal reform. The administration continues to face many economic challenges including the need to upgrade infrastructure, modernize labor laws and allow private investment in the energy sector. Calderon has stated that his top economic priorities remain reducing poverty and creating jobs.

GDP per capita: $12,800 (2007 est.); Inflation: 4% (2007); unemployment 3.7% plus underemployment of perhaps 25% (2007 est.).

Currency: Mexican peso. 10.2 Mexican pesos equals 1 U.S. dollar (June 20, 2008).

Exports: $271.9 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.): manufactured goods, oil and oil products, silver, fruits, vegetables, coffee, cotton.

Imports: $283 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.): metalworking machines, steel mill products, agricultural machinery, electrical equipment, car parts for assembly, repair parts for motor vehicles, aircraft, and aircraft parts.

Major crops/agricultural products: Corn (maize), wheat, soybeans, rice, beans, cotton, coffee, fruit, tomatoes; beef, poultry, dairy products and wood products

Agriculture: 4% of GDP and 18% of the labor force

Internet: Code. .mx; 7.629 million (2007) hosts and 22 million (2006) users

Source: CIA World Factbook