State of North America. According to 2006 estimates, the population of Mexico would amount to over 107 million residents (they were still 97,483,000 at the 2000 census); the density has on average exceeded 53 residents / km 2. The conspicuous natural balance (over 14) is the result of a birth rate close to 20 ‰, which is accompanied by a mortality of just 4.5 ‰, also contained due to the small number of the elderly population (only 7 Mexicans out of 100 are over 60, compared to 30 who have less than 15). In this very young country, which has now reduced the incidence of infant mortality to 20 ‰ and increased life expectancy to 72 years for men and 77 for women, the considerable amount of the dependent population compared to the active one has created serious problems to the social security and welfare system, leading the State, from the mid-1990s, to experiment with forms of privatization of the sector that are fraught with consequences in terms of social imbalances.
For some time now, strong flows of emigration directed towards the United States have been easing the demographic tension, where overall there would be about 10 million citizens of the Mexico, in addition to another 16 million Americans of Mexican origin. Elective destinations are the border states (California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas), where other vast groups of Central American migrants converge, sometimes making Latinos the dominant element and, in any case, crucial for the functioning of many economic sectors. Significant part of the passages along the border Mexico-United States, which in fact marks the margin between opulent and poor America, is carried out in hiding, fueling an illegal trafficking of men, the proceeds of which are estimated at the beginning of the millennium at 40 billion dollars. To stop the phenomenon, the Washington government launched the construction of a wall in 2006 that will cover about one third of the 3,200 km of the border line. For Mexico 2006, please check computergees.com.
On the question of the rights of Indian minorities (about a fifth of the population), which largely intersects the theme of land control, a large popular movement had already centered in the 1990s, which found its armed expression in the Zapatista army, deployed in the forests of the southern state of Chiapas. From this territory in 2001 a peaceful and spectacular march of the people left for the capital, which marked the start of a phase of more open dialogue between the authorities and the movement. A new law on the Indians was thus promulgated by V. Fox, the first president – after more than 70 years – extraneous to the Partido Revolucionario Institucional ; but the initiative did not satisfy the demands of the Amerindians on the ownership of land and natural resources. In the vicinity of the settlement of his successor F. Calderón, at the end of 2006, large street demonstrations took place in Mexico City to call for access to the lands of the dispossessed masses, while the army was sent to contain the riots broke out in the state of Oaxaca, where the capital was occupied for several months by rioters demanding the resignation of the local governor, accused of corruption.
The persistent urbanization of rural contingents continues to add to the natural growth in the swelling of city spaces. By now the estimate of the urban population is approaching 78 % and the number of centers with over half a million residents is rapidly passing the twenty. Among these, there are half a dozen millionaire agglomerations: they correspond to the traditional densification centers of the north-central core of the highlands: Guadalajara and Monterrey, both with over 3 million residents, Puebla (over 2) and León (1,235,000); and at the fundamental junctions with the US territory: Tijuana, in front of San Diego (California), and Ciudad Juárez, in correspondence with El Paso (New Mexico), both with over one million residents. The urban network is largely dominated by Mexico City, which in 2000 counted 8,605,000 residents within the Federal District, but which in the wider confines of the metropolitan area numbered about 18 million, placing itself among the largest megalopolises of the Land. This agglomeration has strong connotations of cosmopolitanism, but above all constitutes a cross-section of the Latin American people, given that among its residents there are at least 2 millions of individuals from other regions of the Central and Southern Americas. Despite the intense use of a metropolitan network extended for over 200 km and various measures taken in recent decades to contain the movement of vehicles, the traffic of the megalopolis remains very intense and, together with the emissions of tens of thousands of factories, generates a air pollution judged among the greatest in the world. In fact, the morphological structure of the Valley of Mexico, surrounded by high mountain barriers, does not facilitate the circulation of air and the attenuation of the particularly dangerous levels of ozone and carbon monoxide.