Mexico is the largest Spanish-speaking country in the world and the second largest in Latin America in terms of population, after Brazil. The number of residents passed the 100 million mark around the turn of the millennium, increasing by well over a million people a year. Most of the residents are of mixed origin, with roots in both Europe and among the indigenous peoples.
The earlier even faster population increase has been slowed down, which is mainly due to falling birth rates. The emigration is extensive, hundreds of thousands of Mexicans leave the country every year and often travel illegally to the United States. But immigration is now at least as great.
- COUNTRYAAH.COM: Key populations estimated size and data of Mexico, including population density of how many people per square mile. Also included are facts for population and language.
At most, more than 12 million people born in Mexico are estimated to have lived in the United States, of which just over half are illegal. The financial crisis of 2007-2008 caused the trend to reverse and the number of Mexicans in the US has dropped slightly. Many still cross the border to the north, but even more return to Mexico. Despite this, about a tenth of Mexicans still live in neighboring countries in the north (see also Foreign Policy and Defense).
During periods, Mexico has received large refugee groups, especially from the rest of Latin America. In the 1980s tens of thousands came across the border from Guatemala. In recent years, hundreds of thousands of Central Americans – mainly from the violent countries of El Salvador and Honduras – have made their way to Mexico, mostly with the hope of continuing north to the United States. Few of them have previously applied for asylum in Mexico, but with Donald Trump’s inclusion as president of the United States in 2017, the number increased rapidly. From the summer of 2019, Mexican authorities began to more actively try to prevent Central Americans from reaching the US border, following strong pressure from the White House.
There are also internal refugees in Mexico. Over 300,000 people were estimated to have left their homes in 2016, often fleeing the drug-related violence.
In recent years, labor immigration has increased – the foreign-born population of the country almost doubled in ten years until the census held in 2010. New is that highly educated from Latin America and western countries are attracted to Mexico, which is perceived as a dynamic country.
Furthermore, a relatively rapid migration is underway in Mexico, where people leave the poor southern states, the high plateau countryside and the sparsely populated arid areas of the north. Instead, industrial cities inland and along the border with the United States are growing rapidly. Especially densely populated is the high plateau where Mexico City is located. More than half of the population lives in the central parts of the country.
A majority of Mexico’s residents are estimated to have mixed ancestry. The proportion belonging to the indigenous population alone is sometimes said to be closer to one third, but floating definitions mean that the figure varies widely. In Mexico, many perceive the word “Indian” (indio) as degrading, to say rather of belonging to an indigenous (indígena). According to the 2010 census, 15 million Mexicans – 13 percent of the population – belonged to one of more than 60 indigenous peoples identified by a national commission. The definition mainly takes into account cultural features and languages. The rapid migration into the cities causes many to lose their original identity. The indigenous peoples are mainly found in the country’s southeastern states, such as Yucatán, Oaxaca, Quintana Roo and Chiapas. Officially, Mexico protects its multicultural heritage, and portraits of the creator of the modern republic, zapotek Benito Juárez, are everywhere. In social life, however, the indigenous people have low status and they are socially vulnerable.
Spanish is the dominant language. In addition, there are 68 native languages that are recognized as “national languages” which means that they can be used as well as Spanish in areas where they occur. About six percent of the population is estimated to speak a national language, that is, about half of the “Indians”. Most of them also speak Spanish. The largest among the indigenous languages is Nahuatl (Aztec) spoken by over 1.5 million people. Then follows Maya, Mixtech, and Zapotec. Around 40 of the national languages are spoken by so few individuals that they risk dying out.
FACTS – POPULATION AND LANGUAGE
majority of mixed origin, minority of more than 60 indigenous people
Number of residents
129 163 276 (2017)
Number of residents per square kilometer
Percentage of residents in the cities
79.9 percent (2017)
Nativity / birth
18.2 per 1000 residents (2016)
Mortality / mortality
4.9 per 1000 residents (2016)
1.3 percent (2017)
2.2 number of children born per woman (2016)
Percentage of women
50.2 percent (2017)
77 years (2016)
Life expectancy for women
80 years (2016)
Life expectancy for men
75 years (2016)
Spanish and 68 native languages are national languages (of which Nahuatl, or Aztec, are the largest and some 40 are threatened with extinction)
Political prosecution is void
The Senate approves a reform that repeals the clause in the Constitution that says incumbent presidents, ministers, governors and members of parliament cannot be prosecuted.
Leaders in the Zeta cartel are arrested
One of the most important leaders of the Zeta cartel, Raúl Lucio Hernández Lechuga with the nickname El Lucky, is arrested by police. With the arrest, 22 of the 37 most wanted drug kings are now behind locks and booms, authorities say.
The Left appoints López Obrador as presidential candidate
The PRD-led Left Alliance MP appoints Andres Manuel López Obrador as his candidate in the 2012 presidential election.
The interior minister is dead
Francisco Blake Mora dies in a helicopter crash. Most of it indicates that the whole thing is an accident. Alejandro Poiré is appointed as his successor.
PRD accuses US of involvement in drug war
The Left Opposition calls for the Interior and Foreign Ministers to be heard by Congress about the role the United States plays in the Mexican war on drug trafficking. The government is accused of not telling the truth about American involvement.
Cops resign after murder
In the city of Ascensión, all police officers resign after two colleagues have been murdered in the ongoing drug war.
The leader of the Juárez cartel is arrested
Police arrest José Antonio Acosta Hernández, alias El Diego, who confessed to the murder of more than 1,500 people. El Diego was formerly security manager and then second man in the Juárez cartel.
Mass arrests of suspected traffickers
More than 1,000 people are arrested in the fight against human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of women in Ciudad Juárez on the US border. Many women have been reported missing in the area. In 2010, more than 3,000 people were murdered in the city, the highest figure in the country.
Large cannabis cultivation is found
The military says it has encountered the largest cannabis cultivation ever in Mexico, located about 30 miles south of the US border. The cultivation is 120 hectares and is estimated to give a marijuana harvest worth around $ 160 million, a little over SEK billion.
La Familia leader is arrested
Federal police seize José de Jesús Méndez Vargas, aka El Chango, leader of the sect-like La Familia cartel. According to the authorities, it is a great success in the fight against organized crime that haunted western Mexico with, among other things, murders, kidnappings and blackmail.
Protests against widespread violence
Thousands of people are demonstrating in some 20 cities against drug violence. On the same day, a mass grave with around 60 bodies is found in the state of Tamaulipas. Another 40 bodies are found shortly thereafter in the same state. The drug cartel Zetas is reportedly behind the murder. At the end of the same month, the number of corpses found has risen to 177 in the area. Also in the state of Durango a mass grave with 30 dead is found.