Taking Off: Mexico’s Demographic Challenge

June 21, 2013

education - children poverty - EcuadorBoston Review, 1/10/2013

Mexico is going through crucial and unprecedented times. It may take off or it may collapse. And I do not exaggerate or mean this rhetorically. Never before has Mexico had so many young people: nearly 30 million men and women aged 15–29, representing 26.4 percent of the country’s population. They are what we call in Mexico the “demographic bonus,” at first considered a great opportunity to enhance the country’s growth and development, and now a threat to its existence.

Despite improvements in education—95 percent of the population has at least finished elementary school—and a relatively stable economy, most of these young adults are victims of the inequality and exclusion characteristic of Mexican society. In 2010, when the last census was taken in Mexico, 17.1 percent of the adolescents (15–17 years old) and 24.2 percent of the young adults living in Mexico did not go to school or have a job. Millions of them have been excluded from these key social institutions: learning and work. Young men and women, Mexico’s future, are being left without futures of their own.

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Can Mexico Harness Its Demographic Dividend?

June 19, 2013

shutterstock_89005363New Security Beat, 6/19/2013

Mexico’s 2012 elections were important for a host of reasons: the PRI party returned to power after 12 years of rule by the more conservative PAN; there was the first female presidential candidate from a major political party; and turn-out was historically high. They also proved that Mexico’s young people are not as apathetic as some may have thought, with the emergence of the #YoSoy132 student movement demanding fair press coverage.

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Mexico is on the rise, but what about its middle class?

June 13, 2013

people with question marksTIME, 6/13/2013

When President Obama visited Mexico in May, he spoke a few words of Spanish, praised the paintings of Frida Kahlo and quoted author Octavio Paz. Then he hit his key message: “Because of the sacrifices of generations, a majority of Mexicans now call themselves middle class, with a quality of life that your parents and grandparents could only dream of.” The words conjured up an image of a Mexico transformed from the campesinos of the early twentieth century to a rising power for the new millennium. Mexico’s “new middle class” is also a big theme for its new president, Enrique Pena Nieto, who wants his neighbors to think of Mexico as more than just a place of beautiful beaches and violent crime. Obama’s speech dovetailed neatly with Pena Nieto’s agenda, but it has sparked a national debate here, about what makes someone middle class in Mexico, and whether the middle class are really thriving or just surviving. After a disappointing first-quarter— Mexico’s economy grew just .8%, the worst performance since the end of 2009, that debate has renewed urgency.

Among the residents of the Mexican capital, from its cinderblock slums to its Bohemian bookshop-cafes to its plush financial district, there is little consensus. Brenda Venega, a student, defines middle class as someone earning more than 8,000 pesos ($640) per month; she falls into that box thanks to her parents. Marisol Granados, a waitress in a cafe, insisted there was no middle class, only have and have nots, and that she was part of the latter. Computer repair shop owner Victor Serna says the middle class have privileges that set them apart from the rest, and he was in of the poor majority. “The middle class is smaller all the time and the gap is growing,” says Jose Lopez, a health administration worker. “Jobs are paid less while prices go up.”

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Demographics: Birth rate fall and prospect of longer life cloud Mexico’s future

June 4, 2013

shutterstock_102739391Financial Times, 6/3/2013

Raúl Velasco remembers the time when Mexican families were big. “There was never any question that you would have seven, eight, maybe even 10 children,” says the retired construction worker from Mexico City. “That was what our parents did and that is what we imagined our children would do, too.” Mr Velasco’s seven children – three boys and four girls, all born in the 1960s and 1970s, and all now with families of their own – broke with the country’s age-old tradition. Between them, they only have 11 children and Mr Velasco says they do not plan to have any more.

The dramatic demographic shift in Mr Velasco’s family mirrors almost exactly the wider trends at work in Mexico over the past 50 years or so. From an average of almost seven children per woman in the 1960s, the birth rate has fallen to roughly two today. Those changes have created both opportunities and problems for the world’s 11th largest country by population as it grapples with the strains of trying to become a fully developed nation over the next generation.

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Mexico has seen little to no migration of nurses for work in the U.S. – #MexFacts

April 15, 2013

MexFact - Nurse Migration

To read more about how effective management of migration across countries might help meet demand for health services, read: http://bit.ly/MigHealth


Presence of a large immigrant population appears to actually help make a city safer – #MexFacts

February 22, 2013

MexFact - Imm and Crime

Read the op-ed here…


Declining immigration slows Asian, Hispanic growth

May 14, 2009

Associated Press, 5/14/2009

Deterred by immigration laws and the lackluster economy, the population growth of Hispanics and Asians in the U.S. has slowed unexpectedly, causing the government to push back estimates on when minorities will become the majority by as much as a decade.

Census data released Thursday also showed that fewer Hispanics were migrating to suburbs and newly emerging immigrant areas in the Southeast, including Arkansas, Tennessee and Georgia, staying put instead in traditional gateway locations such as California.

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