"A poor country, full of the rich"
Mexico is a nation of 118 million, with a median age of about 26. On July 29 a federal agency, the National Council for the Evaluation of Social Development Policy (known by its Spanish acronym, CONEVAL), reported that 45% of them were at or below the official poverty line. 53.3 million - that's how many Mexicans live in poverty (see the chart in that story for a list of extreme poverty by state).
But this week the Zurich based Credit Suisse Group AG, which two weeks ago gave Mexico a poor economic report card for 2013 (Credit Suisse: storms will further reduce Mexican growth), said the nation's declining economic growth hasn't laid a glove on the wealthiest, whose ranks are swelling amid the endemic poverty from which almost half the nation is unable to escape.
In 2012 there were 141,000 members of the millionaire's club in Mexico, a number which rose 32%, to 186,000, this year. Credit Suisse estimates that by 2018, there will be 273,000, an increase of 47%. In 2013, millionaires represented about 0.15% of the nation's population.
According to Credit Suisse, Mexico occupied eighth place worldwide among nations with the greatest increase in wealth between 2012 and 2013 - most of it concentrated in a few hands. Other countries which ranked high included Italy, the United Kingdom, Spain (hard hit by almost 30% unemployment) and Canada.
A Mexican federal agency, the National Statistical and Geographical Institute (INEGI), painted a yet bleaker picture of economic disparity in this country in June. The agency reported that 59% of the population, who occupy 55% of the nation's households, are part of the lower class. INEGI applied a membership test to include anyone who would be cast into long term poverty if confronted by the loss of a principal breadwinner, a serious illness, hyperinflation or a significant national recession. Nearly two-thirds of the population are in that situation (59% of Mexicans remain trapped in underclass) - a worrisome situation, since some business experts contend Mexico is in a recessionary cycle now.
Jan. 15, 2014 - U.K. report: life is getting harder, not easier for Mexicans
Oct. 8 - Wal-Mart sales in free fall a good barometer of a Mexican economy on the skids
July 14 - Over 60% of Jaliscans earn less than subsistence income
Jan. 3 - Mexican governors continue to raise their salaries, while millions remain in poverty
Nov. 16, 2012 - Gross economic disparity still a hard fact of Mexican life
Nov. 11, 2012 - Seven of 10 Mexican households report food shortages
Apr. 23, 2012 - Economic inequality the primary cause of Mexico's insecurity, says López Obrador
A typical downtown Mérida street scene, December 2011. Most Mexicans (60%) work in the informal economy, with no safety net. Enrique Peña Nieto announces plans to get more workers on payrolls.
© MGRR 2013. All rights reserved. This article may be cited or briefly quoted with proper attribution or a hyperlink, but not reproduced without permission.