Mexico has a population of around 129 million people, many of whom are impoverished. According to Mexican official figures, 42.9 percent of all Mexicans lived in poverty in 2018, equating to over 52.4 million people.
Mexico’s Poorest States
Despite the fact that poverty may be found across Mexico, the southern region of the nation, including the states of Chiapas, Guerrero, and Oaxaca, has the greatest concentration. These states have Mexico’s top, second, and third highest poverty rates, respectively.
The three states together have a poverty rate of 69.8%, which is much higher than the national average. Furthermore, more than a quarter of the inhabitants in these states are classified as very poor, compared to 7.6% of the state average.
Why is this the case?
For a variety of factors, southern Mexico is usually poorer than the more developed northern section of the nation. To begin with, the three states have bigger indigenous populations than the rest of Mexico.
Indigenous people in Mexico are poorer than Mexicans of non-indigenous heritage, and they have long been politically excluded, meaning they have had little say in the country’s power structures.
Furthermore, many indigenous people in Mexico’s 3 poorest regions are monolingual, speaking only their own indigenous languages and not the country’s official language, Spanish. In Chiapas, Guerrero, and Oaxaca, it is projected that 22.1 percent of the population does not speak Spanish.
Due to its geography, southern Mexico is likewise at a disadvantage. Three mountain ranges divide the area, isolating villages and making economic growth more difficult.
Due to a lack of development, over half of the people living in the poorest states in the nation live in villages of fewer than 2500 people. The lack of industrial growth in the three poorest countries has impeded their potential to attract foreign investment.
Indeed, between 1999 and 2017, they represented just 2.5 percent of total foreign direct investment into Mexico.
The Three Poorest States In Mexico
Here are some observations about the three poorest states in Mexico, as measured by poverty rate:
1. Chiapas has 76.4 percent of the population.
Chiapas, with a poverty rate of 76.4%, is the country with the highest percentage of poverty in Mexico. Furthermore, roughly a third of the impoverished in Chiapas live in abject poverty. The marginalization of Chiapas’s inhabitants is another factor in the state’s poverty.
Chiapas has a population of around 5.4 million people, with over a quarter of them being indigenous. Indigenous peoples have long been abused and sidelined by Mexicans of European ancestry, particularly affluent landowners, in Chiapas and elsewhere in Mexico.
By allying with the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which ruled Mexican politics for the most of the twentieth century, these landowners solidified their dominance. This coalition aided landowners in thwarting land reforms that would have benefited the state’s indigenous people.
2. Guerrero is in second place with 66.5 percent of the vote.
Guerrero is the poorest state in Mexico, with 66.5 percent of the people living in poverty. Over a quarter of Guerrero’s impoverished are living in abject poverty.
Guerrero, unlike Chiapas, has plenty of natural resources as well as a burgeoning industrial industry. The state’s economy benefits greatly from tourism. Guerrero is home to Acapulco, a major tourist destination.
Despite considerable economic improvement and growth, the majority of Guerrero’s population remains impoverished. Guerrero, like Chiapas, has a sizable indigenous population that has benefited little from the state’s richness.
The total poverty rate in the state reduced by just 2% between 2008 and 2018. More than half of the people in the state do not have access to essential household utilities like water and electricity, and more than a third do not have access to food.
3. Oaxaca is ranked third with 66.4 percent of the vote.
With a poverty rate of 66.4 percent, Oaxaca is Mexico’s third poorest state, barely 0.1 percent lower than Guerrero.
Between 2008 and 2018, the state’s poverty rate increased, from 61.8 percent in 2008 to 61.8 percent in 2018.
On the plus side, the rate of severe poverty has decreased by 5.1 percent during the same ten-year period.
More than half of Oaxaca’s population, like Guerrero’s, lacks access to essential residential services. Furthermore, more than a quarter of the state’s population is food insecure.
Like Guerrero, Oaxaca has a thriving tourist economy but is otherwise undeveloped. Disagreements between the state’s numerous indigenous communities over the development of the state’s natural resources are one cause for the lack of development.
The state’s economy has also been impeded by a lack of infrastructure and mismanagement.
The Future Of Poverty In Mexico
Mexico is still a third-world country, with a large number of people living in poverty.
In reality, the national poverty rate declined just 2.5 percent between 2008 and 2018, indicating that the country’s poverty alleviation is still modest.
Furthermore, resentment among the impoverished masses has erupted into violent insurgencies, particularly in the south of the nation, where the three poorest states are situated.
In Chiapas, for example, an insurrection headed by the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) erupted in 1994 to attract attention to the region’s indigenous people’s problems.
In 2018, Mexico elected Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the country’s first president from the south in almost a century, who many feel would bring much-needed change to the country’s poor.