General information: The birthplace of advanced Indian civilizations, Mexico fell under the rule of Spain for three centuries before gaining independence at the beginning of the 19th century. The devaluation of the peso at the end of 1994 shocked the Mexican economy, causing the worst recession in more than fifty years. The process of economic recovery continues in the country. Current economic and social problems: low wages, underemployment of a large part of the population, unequal distribution of income, limited opportunities for development of the poor southern states, predominantly populated by Indians.
Location: Central America, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico coast between Belize and the US, and Pacific coast between Guatemala and the US. See franciscogardening.com to know more about Mexico Geography.
Geographic coordinates: 23° 00′ N. latitude, 102° 00′ W
Reference map: North America.
Area: total: 1,972,550 km2; land surface area: 1,923,040 km2; water surface area: 49,510 km2
Comparative area: slightly less than three times the size of the state of Texas.
Land borders: total: 4,538 km; with neighboring states: with Belize 250 km, with Guatemala 962 km, with the USA 3,326 km.
Coastline: 9,330 km.
Maritime claims: neutral waters: 24 nautical miles; continental shelf: 200 nautical miles or to the outer limits of the continent; exclusive economic zone: 200 nautical miles; territorial waters: 12 nautical miles.
Climate: varies from tropical to desert.
Terrain: high jagged mountains; coastal lowlands; high plateaus; desert.
Maximum and minimum heights: lowest point: Salada lagoon -10 m; highest point: Orizabo volcano 5,700 m.
Natural resources: oil, silver, copper, gold, lead, zinc, natural gas, timber.
Land use: arable land: 12%; cultivated land: 1%; pastures: 39%; forests and plantations: 26%; others: 22% (1993 est.).
Irrigated lands: 61,000 sq. km. (1993 est.).
Natural hazards: tsunamis on the Pacific coast, volcanic eruptions and devastating earthquakes in the central and southern parts of the country, hurricanes on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea.
Actual environmental problems: in the north, natural sources of fresh water are insufficient and polluted, in the center of the country and in the extreme southeast they are difficult to access and of poor quality; sewerage and industrial effluents pollute rivers in urban areas of the country; deforestation; widespread soil erosion; desertification; serious air pollution in the capital of the country and in cities near the US border.
International agreements on environmental protection: member: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Pollution, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling; signed but not ratified: no.
Geography Note: Strategic location on the southern border of the United States.
Population: 101,879,171 (July 2001 est.).
Age structure: under 14: 33.32% (male 17,312,220; female 16,635,438); 15 to 64 years: 62.28% (male 30,888,015; female 32,558,359); over 65: 4.4% (male 1,997,219; female 2,487,920) (2001 est.).
Population growth: 1.5% (2001 est.).
Birth rate: 22.77 newborns / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Mortality: 5.02 deaths / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Migration: -2.77 people / 1000 people (2001 est.).
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male/female; under 15: 1.04 male/female; 15 to 64 years old: 0.95 male/female; over 65: 0.8 male/female; for the general population: 0.97 male/female (2001 est.);
Child mortality: 25.36 deaths/1000 live births (2001 est.).
Life expectancy: for the general population: 71.76 years; men: 68.73 years; women: 74.93 years (2001 est.).
General birth rate: 2.62 children/wives. (2001 est.).
Proportion of adults infected with HIV: 0.29% (1999 est.).
Number of people infected with HIV: 150,000 (1999 est.).
AIDS deaths: 4,700 (1999 est.).
Nationality: noun: Mexican; adjective: Mexican.
Ethnic groups: mestizos (descendants of Indians and Spaniards) 60%, Indians or with a predominance of Indian blood 30%, whites 9%, other 1%.
Believers: nominally Catholic 89%, Protestant 6%, other 5%.
Language(s): Spanish, various Mayan vernaculars, Nahuatl (Aztec), other local indigenous languages.
Literacy: definition: persons aged 15 and over who can read and write; for the general population: 89.6%; men: 91.8%; women: 87.4% (1995 est.).
conventional long form: United Mexican States;
conventional short form: Mexico; local long form: Estados Unidos Mexicanos local short form: Mexico.
State structure: federal republic.
Capital: Mexico City.
Administrative divisions: 31 states and 1 federal district*: Aguascalientes, Veracruz Llave, Guerrero, Guanajuato, Durango, Hidalgo, Campeche, Querétaro de Arteaga, Quintana Roo, Coahuila de Zaragoza, Colima, Mexico City, Michoacán de -Ocampo, Morelos, Nayarit, Baja California Norte, Baja California Sur, Nuevo Leon, Oaha-ca, Puebla, Zacatecas, San Luis Potosi, Sinaloa, Sonora, Tabasco, Tamaulipas, Tlaxcala, Federal District*, Jalisco, Chihuahua, Chiapas, Yucatan.
Independence: September 16, 1810 (until 1810 – a colony of Spain).
National holiday: Independence Day, September 16 (1810).
Constitution: adopted February 5, 1917
Legal system: mixture of US constitutional law and civil law system; judicial review of legislative acts is possible; subject to the compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice.
Suffrage: from 18 years old; universal and mandatory (but not mandatory).
chief of state: President Vicente FOX Quesada (since 1 December 2000); note – the president is both head of state and head of government;
head of the government: President Vicente FOX Quesada (since December 1, 2000); note – the president is both head of state and head of government;
Government: cabinet appointed by the president with the approval of the Senate; elections: the president is elected by popular vote for a 6-year term; elections last held 2 July 2000 (next to be held in July 2006); election results: Vicente FOX Quesada elected president; percentage of votes won: Vicente FOX Quesada (PAN) 42.52%, Francisco LABASTIDA Ochoa (PRI) 36.1%, Cuauhtemoc CARDENAS Solorzano (PRD) 16.64%, others 4, 74%.
Legislature: bicameral National Congress (Congreso de la Union) consists of the Senate (128 seats; 96 members are elected by universal suffrage for 6 years, 32 seats are allocated on the basis of universal suffrage on party lists) and the Federal Chamber of Deputies (500 seats; 300 members are elected by direct universal suffrage for three years; the remaining 200 seats are distributed on the basis of popular vote on party lists, also for three years); elections: Senate – last held 2 July 2000 (next to be held in 2006); Chamber of Deputies – last held on 2 July 2000 (next to be held in 2003); election results: Senate, distribution of votes between parties: NA; distribution of seats among parties: PRI59, PAN 45, PRD 17, PVEM 5, PT1, PCD 1; Chamber of Deputies, distribution of votes between parties: no data; distribution of seats among parties: PRI 239, PRD 125, PAN 121, PVEM 8, RT 7; note – the distribution of seats in October 1999 was as follows: PRI 211, PAN 208, PRD 50, PVEM 16, RT 7, PCD 3, PSN 3, PAS 2.
Judiciary: Supreme Court, judges appointed by the president with Senate approval.
Political parties and leaders: United for Democracy (CD) (Dante DELGADO Ranauro [Dante DELGADO Ranauro]); Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) (Dulce Maria SAURI Riancho); Green Ecological Party of Mexico (PVEM) (Jorge GONZALEZ Torres); National Action Party (PAN) (Luis Felipe BRAVO Mena); Center Democratic Party (PCD) (Manuel CAMACHO Soil’s); Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) (Amalia GARCIA Medina); National Society Party (PSN) (Gustavo RIOJAIS Santana); Party of the Social Alliance (PAS) (Xoce Antonio CAL-DERON Cardoso [Jose Antonio CALDERON Cardoso]); Labor Party (RT) (Alberto ANAYA Gutierrez [Alberto ANAYA Gutierrez]).
Political influence groups and their leaders: Confederation of Employers of the Mexican Republic (COPARMEX); Confederation of Chambers of Industry (CONCAMIN); Confederation of Mexican Workers (CTM); National Confederation of Chambers of Commerce (CONCANACO); Coordinating Committee of Foreign Trade Organizations (COECE); Federation of Unions of Producers of Goods and Services (FESEBES); National Chamber of Industrial Restructuring (CANACINTRA); National Peasant Confederation (CNC); National Union of Workers (UNT); Regional Confederation of Mexican Workers (CROM); Revolutionary Confederation of Workers and Peasants (CROC); Party of Revolutionary Workers (PRT); Catholic Church.
Participation in international organizations: ARES, ALL, BIS, Caricom (observer), CCC, CDB, CE (observer), EBRD, ECLAC, FAO, G-3, G-6, G-11, G-15, G-19, G-24, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IEA (observer), IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO, ITU, LAES, LAIA, NAM (observer), NEA, OAS, OECD, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, RG, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNITAR, UNU, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO.
Diplomatic representation in the USA: Head of Mission: Ambassador Juan Jose BREMER Martino; office: 1911 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20006; phone:  (202) 728-1600; fax:  (202) 728-1698; consulates general: Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, El Paso, Houston, Laredo (Texas), Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Nogales (Arizona), Phoenix, Sacramento, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, San Juan (Puerto Rico); Consulates: Albuquerque, Brownsville (Texas), Calexico (California), Corpus Christi, Del Rio (Texas), Detroit, Douglas (Arizona), Eagle Pass (Texas), Fresno (California), McAllen (Texas), Midland (Texas), Orlando, Oxnard (California), Philadelphia, Portland (Oregon), St. Louis, Salt Lake City, San Bernardino, San Jose, Santa Ana (California), Seattle, Tucson.
US Mission: Chief of Mission: Ambassador Jeffrey DAVIDOW; embassy: Paseo de la Reforma 305, Colonia Cuauhtemoc, 06500 Mexico, Distrito Federal; mailing address: P. O. Box 3087, Laredo, TX 78044-3087; phone:  (5) 209-9100; fax:  (5) 208-3373, 511-9980; consulates general: Ciudad Juarez, Guadalajara, Monterrey, Tijuana; consulates: Hermosillo, Matamoros, Merida, Nuevo Laredo, Nogales.
Description of the flag: three equal vertical stripes of green (from the hoist side), white and red; coat of arms (an eagle sitting on a cactus with a snake in its beak) in the center of the white stripe.