Mexico is a country of great beauty, full of dreamy places and with a great ecological and cultural richness.
In this country we can see from the ruins of the ancient heart of the Mayan Empire (Chichén Itzá) or Mexica (Tenochtitlán), to biosphere reserves as relevant as the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary. It also has a long history and tradition, with a wide cultural diversity and a population density that makes it one of the ten most densely populated countries in the world.
However, the United States of Mexico also suffers from a series of social problems that greatly harm its inhabitants. Throughout this article we will see some of the main social problems in Mexico , extracted from surveys such as the National Survey of Government Quality and Impact, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the International Institute for Strategic Studies or institutions such as UNICEF or the UN.
Main social problems in Mexico
Among the main and most relevant social problems present in Mexico, since approximately 2015 the following stand out as the most relevant.
1. Insecurity and crime
Insecurity is one of the best known problems of this country, being considered as the biggest concern for the inhabitants of Mexico and having this country some of the most dangerous cities in the world. The main reasons for this are crime and organized crime, especially drug trafficking.
Another of Mexico’s major social problems, and probably one of the ones at the root of most of the other problems on this list, is the high level of poverty. Although 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 of it) is below the poverty line , especially in rural areas.
A key factor in the social problems that Mexico is experiencing is inequality, or rather, the inequalities that exist among citizens .
There is a great inequality of opportunities, observing for example inequalities at the gender level (women earn less and have more difficulties to access employment), territorial (inhabitants of different regions have different possibilities of development) or even at the migratory level (citizens that migrate when returning find that they have lost many opportunities and advantages that they used to enjoy). As in other countries, socio-economic level is also a relevant factor in whether or not people have access to different goods, services and development possibilities.
Corruption is another of the factors that most concern the country’s inhabitants and that most harm their daily lives, being present in different strata of society and participating in the aforementioned citizen insecurity. In this sense, the OECD points out that Mexico is the member country of this organization with the highest level of corruption . Likewise, this greatly affects the existence of a great distrust towards public institutions and political parties.
The confluence of crime and corruption, together with the high level of distrust in public institutions, causes Mexico to have severe problems in the proper exercise of the judicial power, being considered the second country with the worst administration of this power in South America .
The lack of employment is also a relevant social problem in this South American country, with 3.5% of the population registered as unemployed in the first quarter of the year. However, this problem is much greater than it appears from this data, taking into account that much of the work that exists is precarious and of short duration .
7. Difficulty in accessing food
Taking into account the high level of poverty and the fact that we are facing one of the most populated countries in the world, one of the difficulties that many of the Mexican citizens also face (especially in rural areas) is in the problems to access a sufficient and balanced diet. There are worrying levels of malnutrition even in urban areas, with special relevance of child malnutrition .
8. Water shortage
Another of Mexico’s problems is the growing scarcity of water. Around 10% of the population does not have access to drinking water , especially in rural areas and those with fewer resources. In addition, a large part of the country’s hydraulic network is very old and in a condition that can be improved, with much of the water being lost before it reaches its destination. And even in the areas where it does reach, its quality and quantity are inadequate, with the country on the verge of crisis.
9. Low quality public education
According to ENCIG, another major concern of Mexicans is that education, although free and compulsory, lacks a sufficiently powerful infrastructure to provide quality education.
Although the state invests heavily in this area and teachers are perceived as competent, it is still a matter of concern that, for example, almost half of the adult population has no secondary education .
On the other hand, the schooling of children under 4 has increased dramatically in recent years, and surveys show that education is increasingly valued by the country’s inhabitants.
Despite enjoying a wide cultural variety, various bodies have observed that there is a very low level of social inclusion with regard to ethnic minorities , including the descendants of indigenous peoples.
11. Machismo and violence against women
Although equal treatment of both sexes is evident in the educational sphere, Mexican society remains largely patriarchal and traditional, perpetuating gender stereotypes and roles.
One of the great social problems in Mexico is gender violence, especially with respect to physical and sexual violence . In this sense, it should also be noted that differences can be perceived in the socio-economic consideration of both sexes, with women having more unemployment and being less well paid than their male counterparts.
12. Health system
Another of Mexico’s social problems can be found in the lack of sufficient public health coverage for all, especially taking into account the great disparity in economic possibilities and the scarcity of resources that a large part of the population has. A large part of the population decides to opt for private healthcare due to the great deficiencies of public healthcare, which is perceived as not very adaptable to the variations in needs. These problems are also visible in the mental health sector, with many people unable to access professional psychological care.
- Social Impact Consultants (2017) What are the main social problems for 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 of Government Quality and Impact (ENCIG) 2017. Main results. [Online]. Available at: https://www.inegi.org.mx/contenidos/programas/encig/2017/doc/encig2017_principales_resultados.pdf.
- El Colegio de México Inequality Studies Network (2018). Inequalities in Mexico/2018. [Online]. Available at: https://desigualdades.colmex.mx/informe-desigualdades-2018.pdf.