In commemoration of World Population Day, July 11, Mexico’s National Institute of Geography, Statistics and Informatics (INEGI) reported that the country counted 107.5 million inhabitants in 2009. Growing in number of people by about eight times since 1900, Mexico is the third most-populated country in the Americas, falling behind Brazil and the United States.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the INEGI reported a huge drop in the emigration of Mexicans from 2006 to 2009, when economic crisis slammed the world. According to the federal government agency, the number of people leaving Mexico fell from 546,000 people in 2006 to 146,000 in 2009. The vast majority of Mexicans emigrate to the United States, though Canada, Spain and other nations account for additional destinations.
The INEGI will have new population numbers and other statistics after Mexico’s 10-year census is completed this year. However, serious questions exist about the expected accuracy of this round of census-taking.
In a recent meeting of INEGI officials in Mexico City, big problems were reported in conducting the census, especially in the violence-torn and crime-ridden northern states of Sinaloa, Chihuahua and Tamaulipas.
According to a story in the daily La Jornada, only about 35 percent of surveyed residents in the three states disclosed complete information to interviewers. Widespread fears grip the public that personal data will be sold to third parties, the newspaper reported. To counter the negative reactions, the INEGI plans to send interviewers out to homes again.
The ongoing narco war and a generalized atmosphere of insecurity are other huge challenges confronting census takers. With as many as 40,000 zones considered risky, the INEGI has been forced to adopt different strategies for completing the 2010 census.
For instance, in the Juarez Valley bordering the US, where narco-violence has reportedly displaced thousands of people this year alone, the INEGI decided to send workers in pairs or teams to carry out their tasks. [B.E. note: This area is directly SE of El Paso, just across the Rio Grande River.]
Locked down by their residents to keep out criminals, enclosed neighborhoods and apartment buildings present other difficulties. “More and more neighborhoods are closed and access is not so easy,” said Maria Tomasa Badillo Almaraz, the INEGI’s Chihuahua state director.
Although Mexico experienced tremendous spurts in population growth during the 20th century, the rate of population increase slowed dramatically in recent years. According to the INEGI, the rate dropped from an average 3.4 percent per year during the 1960s to 0.86 percent between 2005 and 2009.
Sources: Proceso/Apro, July 9, 2010. La Jornada, July 7, 2010. Article by Carolina Gomez Mena. Lapolaka.com. May 23, 2010. El Agora (Chihuahua) May 15, 2010.
Reprinted with permission from~
Frontera NorteSur (FNS): on-line, U.S.-Mexico border news
Center for Latin American and Border Studies
New Mexico State University Las Cruces, New Mexico
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World Population Day image from United Nations: http://www.un.org/depts/dhl/population/index.html