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Demographics of Mexico

The majority of Mexicans are mestizos, of mixed indigenous and Spanish ancestry. In some regions of Mexico, notably the state of Veracruz and the Costa Chica (southwest Pacific coast), many mestizos are also of African descent.

Unmixed Native American peoples vary from 10% to perhaps 30% of the population (the Mexican government currently uses language and not ?race? as the basis of classification). In the states of Chiapas and Oaxaca, and in the interior of the Yucatán peninsula, the majority of the population is indigenous. Large indigenous minorities, including the Nahua, Tarasca, and Mixtec (more detail can be added) are also present in the central regions of Mexico. In Northern Mexico, the indigenous are a small minority and include the Tarahumara of Chihuahua and the Yaqui of Sonora.

A small percentage of Mexicans, mostly in Mexico City and other large metropolitan areas are of unmixed European descent. Historically, European Mexicans have been referred to as Creoles. In addition to the Spanish colonists, 19th century French and German settlers arrived during the Mexican Empire and Porfirio Díaz periods. During the 1930s, substantial numbers of Spanish refugees from the Spanish Civil War, and Poles and Russians (including many Ashkenazic Jews) arrived, mostly in Mexico City. Mexico also has a substantial population of Lebanese descent. Asians, including some Chinese, arrived from the Philippines in colonial times. During the period of Asian Exclusion from the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, sizable numbers of Chinese and Japanese immigrants settled in northern and western Mexico.

Also of note are isolated communities of Anglo-American Mormons, and colonies of Mennonites of German descent, mainly in the northern states.

While most non-indigenous Mexicans describe themselves as mestizos, and there are no longer rigid lines dividing the population along lines, light skin and European features tend to be valued, in particular in the mass media. Mexico has had many Creole presidents, but only one indigenous leader since the conquest, Benito Juárez. Recent events involving the human rights conditions the state of Chiapas, have increased awareness of issues such as racism and discrimination toward the indigenous communities of Mexico.

Since the 1960s, Mexico's population has grown rapidly, doubling between 1970 and 2000. However in recent years, the population growth rate has been reduced considerably. Fertility rates are still high in rural areas and among the indigenous population. Migration to the United States has also become significant, with the number of Mexican citizens resident abroad reaching as many as nine million, mostly in the United States but also in Canada.

Mexico City is by far the largest city in the country, with a population of 8,590,000 in the Distrito Federal (Federal District) (2001 estimate), and roughly 20 million inhabitants in the metropolitan area. Guadalajara and Monterrey are other major metropolitan cities. In recent decades, cities on the border with the United States such as Ciudad Juárez, Tijuana, and Matamoros have seen rapid growth, especially as maquiladoras employing both locals and migrants from other areas to produce goods for export, mainly to the United States. 

Population: 100,349,766 (July 2000 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 34% (male 17,306,548; female 16,632,827)
15-64 years: 62% (male 30,223,317; female 31,868,213)
65 years and over: 4% (male 1,927,850; female 2,391,011) (2000 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.53% (2000 est.)

Birth rate: 23.15 births/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Death rate: 5.05 deaths/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Net migration rate: -2.84 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.95 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.81 male(s)/female
total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2000 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 26.19 deaths/1,000 live births (2000 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 71.49 years
male: 68.47 years
female: 74.66 years (2000 est.)

Total fertility rate: 2.67 children born/woman (2000 est.)

noun: Mexican(s)
adjective: Mexican

Ethnic groups: mestizo (Amerindian-Spanish) 60%, Amerindian or predominantly Amerindian 30%, white 9%, other 1%

Religions: nominally Roman Catholic 89%, Protestant 6%, other 5%

Languages: Spanish, various Mayan, Nahuatl, and other regional indigenous languages

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 89.6%
male: 91.8%
female: 87.4% (1995 est.)

See also : Mexico