Culture / Religion
According to estimations made by Mexico's National Geography and Statistics Institute, as of 2017 Mexico has 123.5 million inhabitants making it the most populous Spanish-speaking country in the world. Between 2005 and 2010, the Mexican population grew at an average of 1.70% per year, up from 1.16% per year between 2000 and 2005.
Even though Mexico is a very ethnically diverse country, research about ethnicity has largely been a forgotten field, in consequence of the post-revolutionary efforts of Mexico's government to unify all Mexicans under a single ethnic identity (that of the "Mestizo"). As a result, since 1930 the only ethnic classification that has been included in Mexican censuses has been that of "Indigenous peoples". Even then, across the years the government has used different criteria to count Indigenous peoples, with each of them returning considerably different numbers. It is not until very recently that the Mexican government begun conducting surveys that considered the Afro-Mexican and Euro-Mexican population that lives in the country.
As of 2015, the foreign-born population was 1,007,063. The majority of these individuals were born in the United States and Mexico is home to the largest number of U.S. citizens abroad. After Americans the largest immigrant groups are Guatemalans, Spaniards and Colombians. Besides the Spanish, large immigrant-descended groups are the French, Germans, Lebanese and Chinese. Mexico is the largest source of immigration to the United States. Some 11.6 million residents of the United States have Mexican citizenship as of 2014.
Ethnicity and race
Mexico is ethnically diverse; with people of several ethnicities being united under a single national identity. The core part of Mexican national identity is formed on the basis of a synthesis of cultures, primarily European culture and indigenous cultures, in a process known as mestizaje. Mexican politicians and reformers such as José Vasconcelos (promoter of the cosmic race) and Manuel Gamio (promoter of indigenismo) were instrumental in building a Mexican national identity on the concept of mestizaje.
The large majority of Mexicans have historically been classified as "Mestizos". In modern Mexican usage, the term mestizo is primarily a cultural identity rather than the racial identity it was during the colonial era, resulting in individuals with varying phenotypes being classified under the same identity, regardless of wheter they are of mixed ancestry or not. Since the term carries a variety of different socio-cultural, economic, racial and biological meanings, it was deemed too imprecise to be used for ethnic classification, thus it was abandoned by the government and is not in wide use in Mexican society, although it's often used in literature about Mexican social identities and on intellectual circles. In the Yucatán peninsula the word Mestizo has historically had a different meaning, being used to refer to the Maya-speaking populations living in traditional communities, because during the Caste War of the late 19th century those Maya who did not join the rebellion were classified as mestizos. In Chiapas the word "Ladino" is used instead of mestizo. According to Encyclopædia Britannica racially Mestizo Mexicans make up 50% to 67% of the country's population.
The total percentage of Mexico's population who is indigenous varies considerably depending of the criteria used by the government on its censuses: it is 5.4% if the hability to speak an indigenous language is used as the criteria to define a person as indigenous, if racial self-identification is used it's 14.9% and if people who considers themselves part indigenous are also included it amounts to 21.5%. Nonetheless all the censuses conclude that the majority of Mexico's indigenous population is concentrated in the southern and south-eastern Mexican states, primarily in rural areas. Some indigenous communities have a degree of autonomy under the legislation of "usos y costumbres", which allows them to regulate some internal issues under customary law. According to the National Commission for the Development of Indigenous Peoples, the states with the greatest proportion of indigenous residents are: Yucatán at 59%, Quintana Roo 39% and Campeche 27%, chiefly Maya; Oaxaca with 48% of the population, the most numerous groups being the Mixtec and Zapotec peoples; Chiapas at 28%, the majority being Tzeltal and Tzotzil Maya; Hidalgo 24%, the majority being Otomi; Puebla 19%, and Guerrero 17%, mostly Nahua peoples and the states of San Luis Potosí and Veracruz both home to a population that is 15% indigenous, mostly from the Totonac, Nahua and Teenek (Huastec) groups. The absolute numbers of the indigenous population growing, but at a slower rate than the rest of the population so that the percentage of indigenous peoples in regards to total population is nonetheless falling. All of the indices of social development for the indigenous population are considerably lower than the national average. In all states indigenous people have higher infant mortality, in some states almost double of the non-indigenous populations. Literacy rates are also much lower, with 27% of indigenous children between 6 and 14 being illiterate compared to a national average of 12%. The indigenous population participate in the workforce longer than the national average, starting earlier and continuing longer. However, 55% of the indigenous population receive less than a minimum salary, compared to 20% for the national average. Many practice subsistence agriculture and receive no salaries. Indigenous people also have less access to health care and a lower quality of housing.
Similarly to Mestizo and Indigenous peoples, estimations for the percentage of European-descended Mexicans within the Mexican population vary considerably: their numbers range from around 10%–20% according to the Encyclopædia Britannica to as high as 47% according to a nationwide survey conducted by Mexico's government, made with the intent of having a precise outlook of the social and economic inequalities that exist between light skinned European looking Mexicans and Indigenous or African looking Mexicans, is the first time the Mexican government has conducted an official population study that referenced Mexico's white population in nearly a century.
While during the colonial era, most of the European migration into Mexico was Spanish, in the 19th and 20th centuries a substantial number of non-Spanish Europeans immigrated to the country. According to 20th and 21st century academics, large scale intermixing between European immigrants and native Indigenous peoples would produce a Mestizo group which would become the overwhelming majority of Mexico's population by the time of the Mexican revolution. However, according to church registers from the colonial times, the majority of European men married with European women. Said registers also put in question other narratives held by contemporary academics, such as European migrants who arrived to Mexico being almost exclusively men. Nowadays Mexico’s northern and western regions have the highest European populations, with the majority of the people not having native admixture or being of predominantly European ancestry.
The Afro-Mexican population (1,381,853 individuals as of 2015) is an ethnic group made up of descendants of Colonial-era slaves and recent immigrants of sub-Saharan African descent. Mexico had an active slave trade during the colonial period and some 200,000 Africans were taken there, primarily in the 17th century. The creation of a national Mexican identity, especially after the Mexican Revolution, emphasized Mexico's indigenous and European past; it passively eliminated the African ancestors and contributions. Most of the African-descended population was absorbed into the surrounding Mestizo (mixed European/indigenous) and indigenous populations through unions among the groups. Evidence of this long history of intermarriage with Mestizo and indigenous Mexicans is also expressed in the fact that in the 2015 inter-census, 64.9% (896,829) of Afro-Mexicans also identified as indigenous. It was also reported that 9.3% of Afro-Mexicans speak an indigenous language. The states with the highest self-report of Afro-Mexicans were Guerrero (6.5% of the population), Oaxaca (4.95%) and Veracruz (3.28%). Afro-Mexican culture is strongest in the communities of the Costa Chica of Oaxaca and Costa Chica of Guerrero.
Smaller ethnic groups in Mexico include South and East Asians, present since the colonial era. During the colonial era Asians were termed Chino (regardless of ethnicity), and arrived as merchants, artisans and slaves. The largest group were Filipinos and some 200,000 Mexicans can trace Filipino ancestry. Modern Asian immigration began in the late 19th century and at one point in the early 20th century, the Chinese were the second largest immigrant group. During the early 20th century, a substantial number of Arabs (mostly Christians) began arriving from the crumbling Ottoman Empire. The largest group were the Lebanese and an estimated 400,000 Mexicans have some Lebanese ancestry.
The first census in Mexico that included an ethnic classification was the 1793 census. Also known as the Revillagigedo census, it was Mexico's (then known as New Spain) first national population census. Most of its original datasets have reportedly been lost, thus most of what is known about it nowadays comes from essays and field investigations made by academics who had access to the census data and used it as reference for their works such as Prussian geographer Alexander von Humboldt. While every author gives different estimations for each racial group in the country they don't seem to vary much, with Europeans ranging from 18% to 22% of New Spain's population, Mestizos ranging from 21% to 25%, Indians ranging from 51% to 61% and Africans being between 6,000 and 10,000, The estimations given for the total population range from 3,799,561 to 6,122,354. It is concluded then, that across nearly three centuries of colonization, the population growth trends of whites and mestizos were even, while the total percentage of the indigenous population decreased at a rate of 13%–17% per century. The authors assert that rather than whites and mestizos having higher birthrates, the reason for the indigenous population's numbers decreasing lies on them suffering of higher mortality rates, due living in remote locations rather than on cities and towns founded by the Spanish colonists or being at war with them. Anthropologist Gonzalo Aguirre Beltrán goes beyond said numbers and splits the Mestizo group into "Euromestizos", "Indomestizos" and "Afromestizos" calculating their numbers on more than one million, 700,000 and 600,000 respectively. Independent-era Mexico eliminated the legal basis of the Colonial caste system which led to exclude racial classification in the censuses to come.
According to Mexico's second census ever which considered race, made right after the Mexican revolution on 1921, 59% of Mexico's population was Mestizo, 29% was Indigenous and only 9% was European, with Mestizos being the most numerous ethno-racial group in almost all the states. For a long time this census' results have been taken as fact, with extraofficial international publications such as The World Factbook and Encyclopædia Britannica using them as a reference to estimate Mexico's racial composition up to this day. However, in recent time Mexican academics have subjected the census' results to scrutiny, claiming that such a drastic alteration on demographic trends in regards to the 1793 census is not possible and cite, among other statistics the relatively low frequency of marriages between people of different continental ancestries in colonial and early independent Mexico. Said authors claim that the Mexican society went through a "more cultural than biological mestizaje process" sponsored by the state on its efforts to unify the Mexican population which resulted on the inflation of the percentage of the Mestizo Mexican group at the expense of the identity of the other races that exist in Mexico.
In recent times the Mexican government has decided to conduct ethnic surveys and censuses again, and has also widen the criteria to classify the ethnicies who were already considered, an example being the Indigenous Mexican classification, which was previously reserved to people who lived in indigenous communities and/or spoke an indigenous language. According to these recent surveys Indigenous peoples amount to 21.5% of Mexico's population (including people who declared to be partially indigenous), Afro-Mexicans are 1.2% of Mexico's population (including people who declared to be partially African) and European Mexicans amount to 47% of Mexico's population (based on appearance rather than on self-declared of ancestry). Less numerous groups in Mexico such as Asians and Middle Easterners are also accounted for, albeit their numbers do not vary significantly from previous estimations. Out of all the ethnic groups that have recently been surveyed, that of Mestizos is notably absent, which may be consequence of the ethnic label's fluid and subjective definition, which complicates a precise calculation as well the tendency that Mexicans have to identify people with "static" ethnic labels rather than "fluid" ones.
The country has the largest Spanish-speaking population in the world with almost a third of all Spanish native speakers.
Almost all of the Mexican population speaks Spanish, 99.3% according to the latest census; nonetheless around 5.4% still speaks an indigenous language besides Spanish. The indigenous languages with the most speakers are Nahuatl, spoken by approximately 1.45 million people, Yukatek Maya spoken by some 750,000 people and the Mixtec and Zapotec languages, each spoken by more than 400,000 people.
The National Institute of Indigenous Languages INALI recognizes 68 linguistic groups and some 364 different specific varieties of indigenous languages. Since the promulgation of the Law of Indigenous Linguistic Rights in 2003, these languages have had status as national languages, with equal validity with Spanish in all the areas and contexts in which they are spoken.
In addition to the indigenous languages, other minority languages are spoken by immigrant populations, such as the 80,000 German-speaking Mennonites in Mexico, and 5,000 speakers of the Chipilo dialect of the Venetian language spoken in Chipilo, Puebla.
Arabic is the most commonly spoken foreign language in Mexico.
Here are the 20 largest urban areas in Mexico.
The 2010 census by the Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía (National Institute of Statistics and Geography) gave Roman Catholicism as the main religion, with 83% of the population, while 10% (10,924,103) belong to other Christian denominations, including Evangelicals (5%); Pentecostals (1.6%); other Protestant or Reformed (0.7%); Jehovah's Witnesses (1.4%); Seventh-day Adventists (0.6%); and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (0.3%). 172,891 (or less than 0.2% of the total) belonged to other, non-Christian religions; 4.7% declared having no religion; 2.7% were unspecified.
The 92,924,489 Catholics of Mexico constitute in absolute terms the second largest Catholic community in the world, after Brazil's. 47% percent of them attend church services weekly. The feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the patron saint of Mexico, is celebrated on December 12 and is regarded by many Mexicans as the most important religious holiday of their country.
The 2010 census reported 314,932 members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, though the church in 2009 claimed to have over one million registered members. About 25% of registered members attend a weekly sacrament service although this can fluctuate up and down.
The presence of Jews in Mexico dates back to 1521, when Hernán Cortés conquered the Aztecs, accompanied by several Conversos. According to the 2010 census, there are 67,476 Jews in Mexico. Islam in Mexico is practiced mostly by Arab Mexicans, while there is also a small community of Muslims among indigenous Mexicans around the San Cristóbal de las Casas area in Chiapas. In the 2010 census 18,185 Mexicans reported belonging to an Eastern religion, a category which includes a tiny Buddhist population.
Until the twentieth century, Mexico was an overwhelmingly rural country, with rural women's status defined within the context of the family and local community. With urbanization beginning in the sixteenth century, following the Spanish conquest of the Aztec empire, cities have provided economic and social opportunities not possible within rural villages. Roman Catholicism in Mexico has shaped societal attitudes about women's social role, emphasizing the role of women as nurturers of the family, with the Virgin Mary as a model. Marianismo has been an ideal, with women's role as being within the family under the authority of men. In the twentieth century, Mexican women made great strides toward toward a more equal legal and social status. In 1953, women in Mexico were granted the vote in national elections.
Mexican women face discrimination and at times harassment from the machismo population. Although women in Mexico are making big advancements they are faced with the traditional expectations of being the head of the household. Researcher Margarita Valdés noted that while there are few inequalities enforced by law or policy in Mexico, there are gender inequalities perpetuated by social structures and Mexican cultural expectations that limit the capabilities of Mexican women.
As of 2014, Mexico has the 16th highest rate of homicides committed against women in the world The prevalence of domestic violence against women in Mexican marital relationships varies at between 30 and 60 percent of relationships. The remains of the victims were frequently mutilated. According to a 1997 study, domestic abuse in Mexican culture "is embedded in gender and marital relations fostered in Mexican women's dependence on their spouses for subsistence and for self-esteem, sustained by ideologies of romantic love, by family structure and residential arrangements." The perpetrators are often the boyfriend, father-in-law, ex-husbands or husbands but only 1.6% of the murder cases led to an arrest and sentencing.
Mexican culture reflects the complexity of the country's history through the blending of indigenous cultures and the culture of Spain, imparted during Spain's 300-year colonization of Mexico. Exogenous cultural elements have been incorporated into Mexican culture as time has passed.
The Porfirian era (el Porfiriato), in the last quarter of the 19th century and the first decade of the 20th century, was marked by economic progress and peace. After four decades of civil unrest and war, Mexico saw the development of philosophy and the arts, promoted by President Díaz himself. Since that time, as accentuated during the Mexican Revolution, cultural identity has had its foundation in the mestizaje, of which the indigenous (i.e. Amerindian) element is the core. In light of the various ethnicities that formed the Mexican people, José Vasconcelos in his publication La Raza Cósmica (The Cosmic Race) (1925) defined Mexico to be the melting pot of all races (thus extending the definition of the mestizo) not only biologically but culturally as well.
Mexican literature has its antecedents in the literatures of the indigenous settlements of Mesoamerica. The most well known prehispanic poet is Nezahualcoyotl. Modern Mexican literature was influenced by the concepts of the Spanish colonialization of Mesoamerica. Outstanding colonial writers and poets include Juan Ruiz de Alarcón and Juana Inés de la Cruz.
Other writers include Alfonso Reyes, José Joaquín Fernández de Lizardi, Ignacio Manuel Altamirano, Carlos Fuentes, Octavio Paz (Nobel Laureate), Renato Leduc, Carlos Monsiváis, Elena Poniatowska, Mariano Azuela ("Los de abajo") and Juan Rulfo ("Pedro Páramo"). Bruno Traven wrote "Canasta de cuentos mexicanos" (Mexican tales basket), "El tesoro de la Sierra Madre" (Treasure of the Sierra Madre).
Post-revolutionary art in Mexico had its expression in the works of renowned artists such as David Alfaro Siqueiros, Federico Cantú Garza, Frida Kahlo, Juan O'Gorman, José Clemente Orozco, Diego Rivera, and Rufino Tamayo. Diego Rivera, the most well-known figure of Mexican muralism, painted the Man at the Crossroads at the Rockefeller Center in New York City, a huge mural that was destroyed the next year because of the inclusion of a portrait of Russian communist leader Lenin. Some of Rivera's murals are displayed at the Mexican National Palace and the Palace of Fine Arts.
Mesoamerican architecture is mostly noted for its pyramids which are the largest such structures outside of Ancient Egypt. Spanish Colonial architecture is marked by the contrast between the simple, solid construction demanded by the new environment and the Baroque ornamentation exported from Spain. Mexico, as the center of New Spain has some of the most renowned buildings built in this style.
Mexican films from the Golden Age in the 1940s and 1950s are the greatest examples of Latin American cinema, with a huge industry comparable to the Hollywood of those years. Mexican films were exported and exhibited in all of Latin America and Europe. Maria Candelaria (1943) by Emilio Fernández, was one of the first films awarded a Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1946, the first time the event was held after World War II. The famous Spanish-born director Luis Buñuel realized in Mexico, between 1947 and 1965 some of him master pieces like Los Olvidados (1949) and Viridiana (1961). Famous actors and actresses from this period include María Félix, Pedro Infante, Dolores del Río, Jorge Negrete and the comedian Cantinflas.
More recently, films such as Como agua para chocolate (1992), Cronos (1993), Y tu mamá también (2001), and Pan's Labyrinth (2006) have been successful in creating universal stories about contemporary subjects, and were internationally recognized, as in the prestigious Cannes Film Festival. Mexican directors Alejandro González Iñárritu (Amores perros, Babel, Birdman, The Revenant), Alfonso Cuarón (Children of Men, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Gravity), Guillermo del Toro, Carlos Carrera (The Crime of Father Amaro), screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga and photographer Emmanuel Lubezki are some of the most known present-day film makers.
Some Mexican actors have achieved recognition as Hollywood stars. These include Ramon Novarro, Dolores del Río, Lupe Vélez, Gilbert Roland, Anthony Quinn, Katy Jurado, Ricardo Montalbán and Salma Hayek
There are two major television companies in Mexico that own the four primary networks that broadcast to 75% of the population. They are Televisa, which owns the Canal de las Estrellas and Canal 5 networks, and TV Azteca, which owns the Azteca 7 and Azteca Trece networks. Televisa is also the largest producer of Spanish-language content in the world and also the world's largest Spanish-language media network. Grupo Multimedios is another media conglomerate with Spanish-language broadcasting in Mexico, Spain, and the United States. The telenovelas are very traditional in Mexico and are translated to many languages and seen all over the world with renowned names like Verónica Castro, Lucía Méndez and Thalía.
Mexican society enjoys a vast array of music genres, showing the diversity of Mexican culture. Traditional music includes mariachi, banda, norteño, ranchera and corridos; on an everyday basis most Mexicans listen to contemporary music such as pop, rock, etc. in both English and Spanish. Mexico has the largest media industry in Latin America, producing Mexican artists who are famous in Central and South America and parts of Europe, especially Spain.
Some well-known Mexican singers are Thalía, Luis Miguel, Juan Gabriel, Alejandro Fernández, Julieta Venegas, Gloria Trevi and Paulina Rubio. Mexican singers of traditional music are: Lila Downs, Susana Harp, Jaramar, GEO Meneses and Alejandra Robles. Popular groups are Café Tacuba, Caifanes, Molotov and Maná, among others. Since the early years of the 2000s (decade), Mexican rock has seen widespread growth both domestically and internationally.
According to the Sistema Nacional de Fomento Musical, there are between 120 and 140 youth orchestras affiliated to this federal agency from all federal states. Some states, through their state agencies in charge of culture and the arts—Ministry or Secretary or Institute or Council of Culture, or in some cases the Secretary of Education or the State University—sponsor the activities of a professional symphony orchestra or philharmonic orchestra so all citizens can have access to this artistic expression from the field of classical music. Mexico City is the most intense hub of this activity, hosting 12 professional orchestras sponsored by different agencies such as the National Institute of Fine Arts, the Secretary of Culture of the Federal District, The National University, the National Polytechnic Institute, a Delegación Política (Coyoacán) and private ventures.
Mexican cuisine is known for its intense and varied flavors, colorful decoration, and variety of spices. Most of today's Mexican food is based on pre-Columbian traditions, including Aztec and Maya, combined with culinary trends introduced by Spanish colonists.
The conquistadores eventually combined their imported diet of rice, beef, pork, chicken, wine, garlic and onions with the native pre-Columbian food, including maize, tomato, vanilla, avocado, guava, papaya, pineapple, chili pepper, beans, squash, sweet potato, peanut, and turkey.
Mexican food varies by region, because of local climate and geography and ethnic differences among the indigenous inhabitants and because these different populations were influenced by the Spaniards in varying degrees. The north of Mexico is known for its beef, goat and ostrich production and meat dishes, in particular the well-known Arrachera cut.
Central Mexico's cuisine is largely made up of influences from the rest of the country, but also has its authentics, such as barbacoa, pozole, menudo, tamales, and carnitas.
Southeastern Mexico, on the other hand, is known for its spicy vegetable and chicken-based dishes. The cuisine of Southeastern Mexico also has quite a bit of Caribbean influence, given its geographical location. Veal is common in the Yucatan. Seafood is commonly prepared in the states that border the Pacific Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico, the latter having a famous reputation for its fish dishes, in particular à la veracruzana.
In modern times, other cuisines of the world have become very popular in Mexico, thus adopting a Mexican fusion. For example, sushi in Mexico is often made with a variety of sauces based on mango or tamarind, and very often served with serrano-chili-blended soy sauce, or complemented with vinegar, habanero and chipotle peppers
The most internationally recognized dishes include chocolate, tacos, quesadillas, enchiladas, burritos, tamales and mole among others. Regional dishes include mole poblano, chiles en nogada and chalupas from Puebla; cabrito and machaca from Monterrey, cochinita pibil from Yucatán, Tlayudas from Oaxaca, as well as barbacoa, chilaquiles, milanesas, and many others.
Mexico City hosted the XIX Olympic Games in 1968, making it the first Latin American city to do so. The country has also hosted the FIFA World Cup twice, in 1970 and 1986.
Mexico's most popular sport is association football. It is commonly believed that football was introduced in Mexico by Cornish miners at the end of the 19th century. By 1902 a five-team league had emerged with a strong British influence. Mexico's top clubs are América with 12 championships, Guadalajara with 11, and Toluca with 10. Antonio Carbajal was the first player to appear in five World Cups, and Hugo Sánchez was named best CONCACAF player of the 20th century by IFFHS.
The Mexican professional baseball league is named the Liga Mexicana de Beisbol. While usually not as strong as the United States, the Caribbean countries and Japan, Mexico has nonetheless achieved several international baseball titles. Mexican teams have won the Caribbean Series nine times. Mexico has had several players signed by Major League teams, the most famous of them being Dodgers pitcher Fernando Valenzuela.
In 2013, Mexico's basketball team won the Americas Basketball Championship and qualified for the 2014 Basketball World Cup where it reached the playoffs. Because of these achievements the country earned the hosting rights for the 2015 FIBA Americas Championship.
Bullfighting is a popular sport in the country, and almost all large cities have bullrings. Plaza México in Mexico City, is the largest bullring in the world, which seats 55,000 people. Professional wrestling (or Lucha libre in Spanish) is a major crowd draw with national promotions such as AAA, CMLL and others.
Mexico is an international power in professional boxing (at the amateur level, several Olympic boxing medals have also been won by Mexico). Vicente Saldivar, Rubén Olivares, Salvador Sánchez, Julio César Chávez, Ricardo Lopez and Erik Morales are but a few Mexican fighters who have been ranked among the best of all time.
Notable Mexican athletes include golfer Lorena Ochoa, who was ranked first in the LPGA world rankings prior to her retirement, Ana Guevara, former world champion of the 400 metres (1,300 ft) and Olympic subchampion in Athens 2004, Fernando Platas, four-time Olympic medal winning diver, and taekwondo fighter María Espinoza, most decorated Mexican female Olympian.
Since the early 1990s, Mexico entered a transitional stage in the health of its population and some indicators such as mortality patterns are identical to those found in highly developed countries like Germany or Japan. Mexico's medical infrastructure is highly rated for the most part and is usually excellent in major cities, but rural communities still lack equipment for advanced medical procedures, forcing patients in those locations to travel to the closest urban areas to get specialized medical care. Social determinants of health can be used to evaluate the state of health in Mexico.
State-funded institutions such as Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS) and the Institute for Social Security and Services for State Workers (ISSSTE) play a major role in health and social security. Private health services are also very important and account for 13% of all medical units in the country.
Medical training is done mostly at public universities with much specializations done in vocational or internship settings. Some public universities in Mexico, such as the University of Guadalajara, have signed agreements with the U.S. to receive and train American students in Medicine. Health care costs in private institutions and prescription drugs in Mexico are on average lower than that of its North American economic partners.
In 2004, the literacy rate was at 97% for youth under the age of 14 and 91% for people over 15, placing Mexico at the 24th place in the world rank according to UNESCO.
The National Autonomous University of Mexico ranks 190th place in the Top 200 World University Ranking published by The Times Higher Education Supplement in 2009. Private business schools also stand out in international rankings. IPADE and EGADE, the business schools of Universidad Panamericana and of Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education respectively, were ranked in the top 10 in a survey conducted by The Wall Street Journal among recruiters outside the United States.