Mexico is a country of great beauty, full of dream landscapes and of great ecological and cultural wealth.
In this country we can see ruins of the ancient heart of the Mayan (Chichén Itzá) or Mexican (Tenochtitlán) empires, up to biosphere reserves as relevant as the sanctuary of the monarch butterfly. It also has a long history and tradition, with great cultural diversity and population density that places it among the ten most densely populated countries in the world.
However, the Mexican United States also suffers from a number of social issues which greatly affect its inhabitants. Throughout this article we will see some of the main social problems in Mexico, Extracted on the basis of surveys such as the National Survey on the Quality and Impact of Governments, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the International Institute for Strategic Studies or institutions such as Unicef Or the UN.
Main social problems in Mexico
Among the most important and relevant social issues present in Mexico since around 2015, the following stand out as the most relevant.
1. Insecurity and crime
Insecurity is one of the most well-known problems in this country, considered to be the greatest source of concern to the Mexican people and have this country among the most dangerous cities in the world. The main reasons are criminality and organized crime, in particular drug trafficking.
Another of the biggest social problems in Mexico, and probably the one that is at the root of most of the other problems on this list, is the high level of poverty. If it seems that over the years the country’s economy has improved, the truth is that a large part of the population (in 2013 almost half) is below the poverty line, Especially in rural areas.
A key factor in the social problems facing Mexico is inequality, or rather inequalities between citizens.
There is a great inequality of opportunity, observing, for example, inequalities at the level of gender (women earn less and have more difficulty in accessing employment), territorial (inhabitants of different regions have different development possibilities) or even at the migratory level (citizens who migrate on return find that they have lost many opportunities and advantages that they previously enjoyed). As in other countries, socio-economic level is also an important factor in having or not having access to different goods, services and development possibilities.
Corruption is another factor that most worries the inhabitants of the country and harms their daily life the most, being present in different layers of society and participating in the aforementioned citizen insecurity. In this way, The OECD notes that Mexico is the member country of this organization with the highest level of corruption. It also greatly affects the existence of great mistrust of public institutions and political parties.
The confluence of crime and corruption, as well as the high mistrust of public institutions, causes Mexico to have serious problems regarding the proper exercise of the judiciary. the second country with the worst administration of this power in Latin America.
Lack of employment is also a significant social problem in this Latin American country, with 3.5% of the population registered as unemployed in the first quarter of the year. However, it should be borne in mind that this problem is much larger than it appears from these data, given that much of the existing work is precarious and of short duration.
7. Difficulty accessing food
Given the high level of poverty and the fact that we are facing one of the most populous countries in the world, one of the difficulties that many Mexican citizens also face (especially in rural areas) is the problems of access to a sufficient and balanced diet. There are worrying levels of malnutrition even in urban areas, with particular importance for child malnutrition.
8. Water scarcity
Another problem in Mexico is the increasing scarcity of water. About 10% of the population does not have access to drinking water, Especially in rural areas and those with fewer resources. In addition, much of the country’s hydraulic network is very old and in excellent condition, losing much of the water before reaching its destination. And even in the regions where it arrives, its quality and quantity are insufficient, the country being on the brink of crisis.
9. Poor quality public education
Another major concern of Mexicans, according to ENCIG, is that education, which is still free and compulsory, does not have a sufficiently solid infrastructure to provide quality education.
While the state invests heavily in this area and teachers are seen as competent, they are still worried that, for example, almost half of the adult population has no secondary education.
On the other hand, the enrollment of children under 4 has increased dramatically in recent years and surveys show that education is increasingly appreciated by the population of the country.
Although benefiting from a great cultural variety, several organizations have observed that there are a very low level of social inclusion vis-à-vis ethnic minorities, Including descendants of indigenous peoples.
11. Masculinity and violence against women
While in the field of education there is equal treatment between the two sexes, Mexican society remains largely patriarchal and traditional, perpetuating stereotypes and gender roles.
One of the great social problems in Mexico is gender-based violence, especially in relation to physical and sexual violence. In this sense, it should also be noted that differences can be seen in the socio-economic consideration of the two sexes, with the woman being more unemployed and paid less than her male counterpart.
12. Health system
Another of the social problems in Mexico is the lack of sufficient public health coverage for all, especially in view of the great disparity in economic possibilities and the scarcity of resources available to a large part of the population. Much of the population decides to opt for private health care due to the great deficiencies of the public, which is perceived as not very adaptable to variations in needs. These problems are also visible in the mental health sector, with many people without access to professional psychological care.
- Social impact consultants (2017). What are the main social problems of Mexicans? [Online]. Available at: http://www.impactosocialconsultores.com/blog/2017/4/19/cules-son-los-principales-problemas-sociales-para-los-mexicanos.
- National Institute of Statistics and Geography (2018). National Survey on Government Quality and Impact (ENCIG) 2017. Main Findings. [Online]. Available at: https://www.inegi.org.mx/contenidos/programas/encig/2017/doc/encig2017_principales_resultados.pdf.
- College of Mexico Inequality Studies Network (2018). Inequalities in Mexico / 2018. [Online]. Available at: https://desigualdades.colmex.mx/informe-desigualdades-2018.pdf.