Mexico is a country in Central America, bordered by Guatemala and Belize to the south-east, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea to the east, the United States to the north, and by the Pacific Ocean to the west and south.

Population estimate (2019): 131,697,405

Capital City: Mexico City

Currency used: Mexican Peso

Gross National Income per capita (2013) (PPP international $): 16

Time zone: GMT – 5 (Mexico City)

Population growth rate (2019): 1.10%

Total fertility rate per woman: 2.24

Languages: Spanish is the official and most widely spoken language in Mexico. Commonly spoken indigenous languages include Nahuatl, Otomi, Mixtec, Zapotec and Mazahuaare. English is also widely spoken or understood.

Key ethnic groups: 62% Mestizo/Amerindian-Spanish, 21% predominantly Amerindian, 7% Amerindian, 10% other (mostly European).

Religion: 82.7% Roman Catholic, 1.6% Pentecostal, 5% other Evangelical churches, 1.4% Jehovah’s witnesses, 1.9% other faiths, 7.4% unspecified or religiously unaffiliated.

Literacy: 94.5%

Climate: Mexico’s climate varies by region and altitude, but most of the country has sunny weather for a large part of the year. Generally the temperature increases from north to south, which has an entirely tropical climate. It is largely dry along the west coast and in the central-northern highlands. In the mountains as well as in the southern plateaus it is fairly rainy, and very rainy in some of the tropical southern regions. The rainy season over the whole country is in the summer (May to October). During the hottest month of May average highs and lows are 26 and 12ºc, while they are 19 and 6ºc in the coldest month of January.

Health statistics:

Life expectancy at birth (2016): 74/79 (male/female)

Probability of dying between 15 and 60 years: 164/89 (per 1000 population, 2016)

Total expenditure on health per capita (2014): $1,122

Number of doctors per 1000 population (2011): 2.095

Nursing and midwifery personnel density (per 1000 population, 2011): 2.529

Neonatal mortality rate (per 1000 live births, 2015): 7.0 [5.8-8.4]

Maternal mortality ratio (per 100.000 live births, 2015): 38 [34-42]

Births attended by skilled health personnel (2014): 98.7%

Top 10 causes of death:

Coronary heart disease: 94,712 people / 17.46% of total

Diabetes mellitus: 93,786 / 17.29%

Stroke: 34,107 / 6.29%

Lung disease: 29,025 / 5.35%

Liver disease: 27,552 / 5.08%

Violence: 24,146 / 4.45%

Kidney disease: 22,240 / 4.10%

Influenza & pneumonia: 21,511 / 3.97%

Road traffic accidents: 15,008 / 2.77%

Other injuries: 13,701 / 2.53%

Healthcare system

The healthcare system in Mexico comprises a public and a private sector. Mexican citizens are covered by a combination of public universal health insurance, private and employer-funded healthcare schemes. In 2004 the government-funded healthcare coverage programme “Seguro Popular” (Popular Health Insurance) was introduced. Its aim was to make preventative treatments more affordable for uninsured lower-income citizens. Additionally, the Institute of Social Security provides a regular healthcare insurance coverage for employees. Those covered by this scheme pay a monthly fee calculated based on their salary with additional sums added by the state and their employer. The institute runs its own primary care units and hospitals, which tend to vary in quality, although some may meet the standards observed in private hospitals.

The private sector provides around two thirds of all hospitals in Mexico. High quality private and specialist healthcare is widely available in the country, however, the high costs mean that they mostly cater to foreigners and the wealthier or middle-class citizens. Less than 10% of Mexicans have private health insurance and instead pay “out of pocket”. The private sector is steadily growing, and many modern hospitals are being built in the bigger cities such as Mexico City, Guadalajara and Monterrey. Monterrey for example has become a popular destination for medical tourism, especially for US citizens.