Mexico Statistics Body Criticized for Poverty Survey Changes

07/18/16 The New York Times

inegiMEXICO CITY — Anti-poverty groups in Mexico accused the national statistics agency Monday of arbitrarily changing the way it measures income surveys so poverty appears to be less of a problem.

The statistics agency, known as the INEGI, defended the changes, saying it “improved” the way it measures income because it suspected people were underreporting what they earn.

The agency said it required its interviewers to dig deeper with people who reported no income, to turn up even the most meager sources of income like handouts, odd jobs or help from relatives. Those previously unregistered amounts were then added to the count in the survey, which was carried out late last year.

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Mexico cuts poverty at a stroke – by changing the way it measures earnings

06/18/17 The Guardian

Mexico Poverty by Flickr user Global Tribe
Photo by Flickr User Global Tribe

Mexico’s impoverished masses were up to 33.6% richer in 2015 than the previous year, according to the state-run statistics service.

But the change owes less to a sudden increase in actual wealth and wellbeing for the country’s poor than to unannounced changes in the methodology for measuring household earnings.

The changes make comparing poverty rates from one year to the next impossible – something acknowledged by the National Geography and Statistics Institute (Inegi).

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How people power is tackling corruption in Mexico

3/22/16 BBCLey_3_de_3

In 2015, Mexico’s Congress approved the creation of an anti-corruption system – to try and improve Mexico’s reputation for graft. But despite these efforts to clean up its act, Transparency International still rates Mexico as the most corrupt OECD nation.

And so a group of Mexicans has come up with a proposal that politicians should share much more information about their assets and personal connections and provide proof that they pay their taxes. So can they get Congress to debate and pass the law?

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A Visceral Portrait of Life at the U.S.-Mexico Border

3/15/16 The Atlantic

fence at borderIn this short documentary, filmmaker Rodrigo Reyes re-works material from his award-winning feature film, Purgatorio, into an ode to the squalid borderland between the United States and Mexico. Beautifully shot and at times difficult to watch, the film confronts viewers with the hardships of the real human beings that exist at the very center of the debate on immigration.

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Pessimism Pervades Mexico as Economic Promises Fall Short

9/1/15 The New York Times

Data from INEGI
Data from INEGI

Jesús Rascón embodies the sort of success story that was supposed to epitomize “Mexico’s moment.”

The plastics company he founded 13 years ago now employs 350 people in two factories. He sells parts to global companies like Volkswagen and Whirlpool. Even the slide in the value of the Mexican peso this year works in his favor because it makes his products cheaper overseas.

Then why is he feeling so glum about Mexico’s economy?

In a word: poverty. “Unfortunately the problem in Mexico is the wage rate, which is enough only to survive,” said Mr. Rascón, 48. Unless people have money to spend, he added, the companies that sell to them will never be able to expand the way his has. Such economic pessimism is pervasive across much of the country as President Enrique Peña Nieto prepares to reboot his presidency midway through his six-year term.

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UPCOMING EVENT! Inequality in Mexico

social classWHEN: Tuesday, July 7, 9:00-11:00am

WHERE: 5th Floor Conference Room, Woodrow Wilson Center, Washington, DC

Click here to RSVP.

Mexico’s economic inequality has inhibited the country’s economic growth and slowed the potential of its social and human capital. And extreme inequality has worsened over the last 20 years, with economic elites capturing most of the benefits of growth. The political and economic implications are huge.

Oxfam Mexico recently issued a study on Mexico’s inequality and its policy implications, and the study’s findings will be presented and discussed at this forum on July 7, 9-11am. The study was authored by Gerardo Esquivel, professor and researcher at the Center for Economic Studies in the Colegio de Mexico.


Ricardo Fuentes-Nieva
Executive Director, Oxfam Mexico

Marjorie Wood
Senior Staff Member, Global Economy Project, Institute for Policy Studies


Duncan Wood
Director, Mexico Institute, Wilson Center

Click here to RSVP.

Mexico’s Extreme Inequality: 1% Owns Half of Country’s Wealth

6/25/15 teleSUR

Photo by Flickr user Aleiex
Photo by Flickr user Aleiex

Extreme inequality has increased in Mexico while the economy has stagnated, concentrating almost half of the country’s wealth in the hands of its elite 1 percent, according to a new Oxfam report. According to the report, the wealth of the Mexico’s 16 billionaires multiplies five fold each year, while the country’s GDP increases by less than 1 percent annually. Mexico is among the top 14 richest countries in the world by GDP, yet over half its population, or 53 million people, live in poverty.

The report states that one of the most serious aspects of inequality is unbalanced income distribution, which is becoming more pronounced. Mexico’s telecommunications tycoon Carlos Slim is the second richest person in the world. His estimated 5 percent return on wealth alone could cover the cost of some 2 million low wage workers at the minimum wage rate of US$4.50 per day. The wealth of Slim and just three fellow Mexican billionaires account for 9 percent of the country’s GDP, equivalent to the income of nearly 20 million Mexicans on the other side of the inequality equation.

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