Mexico is the United States southern neighbour, and although many people get confused about it, it is part of North America. Mexico's official name is "Estados Unidos Mexicanos" (United States of Mexico). Mexico's national symbols are the flag, the National Anthem, and the Coat of Arms. Here are some important facts you should know about the country.
Location and Geography
Mexico is bordered by the United States to the North, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea to the East, Belize and Guatemala to the South, and the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortes to the West. Mexico covers almost 780 000 square miles (2 million square km) and has 5800 miles (9330 km) of coastline.
The country is made up of 32 states. The capital is Mexico City, which used to officially be named Distrito Federal or D.F. for short, but officially changed its name to Ciudad de México (CDMX) in 2016, when it also changed from being a federal district into the 32nd state..
Mexico is one of the top five countries in the world in terms of biodiversity. Because of its great variety of ecosystems and the many species which inhabit them, Mexico is considered to be megadiverse. Mexico ranks first place worldwide in reptile biodiversity, second in mammals, fourth in amphibians and vascular plants and tenth in birds.
Government and Politics
Mexico is a federal republic with two legislative houses (Senate ; Chamber of Deputies ). The president of Mexico serves a six-year term and is not eligible for re-election. The current president of Mexico (2019-2024) is Andrés Manuel López Obrador (often referred to by his initials, AMLO). The president serves a 6 year term and is not eligible for re-election. Mexico has a multi-party system, which has for many years been dominated by three large political parties (the PRI, the PAN, and the PRD). The current president founded a new party called Morena (Movimiento de Regeneracion Nacional) in 2011; it was recognized in 2014, and has been gaining ground since that time.
Mexico has a population of about 130 million people, making it the 10th most populous country in the world. Life expectancy at birth is 74 years for men and 79 years for women. The literacy rate is 95% for men and 93% for women. Mexico is a secular country and has allowed freedom of religion since the mid-19th century, but around 80% of the population is Roman Catholic.
Weather and Climate
Mexico has a wide array of climatic conditions due to its size and topography. Low-lying coastal areas are generally hot throughout the year, whereas in the interior, temperatures vary according to elevation. Mexico City, at 7350 feet (2240 m) has a moderate climate with pleasant summers and mild winters, and an annual average temperature of 64 F (18 C). Rainy season through most of the country lasts from May to September, and hurricane season is from May to November.
The monetary unit is the Mexican peso (MXN). The symbol is the same as that used for the dollar ($). One peso is worth one hundred centavos. See photos of Mexican money. Learn about the exchange rate and exchanging currency in Mexico.
There are four time zones in Mexico. The states of Chihuahua, Nayarit, Sonora, Sinaloa and Baja California Sur are on Mountain Standard Time; Baja California Norte is on Pacific Standard Time, the state of Quintana Roo is on Southeast time (equivalent to U.S. Eastern Time Zone); and the rest of the country is on Central Standard Time. Learn more about Mexico's Time Zones.
Daylight Saving time (referred to in Mexico as horario de verano) is observed from the first Sunday in April to the last Sunday in October. The state of Sonora, as well as some remote villages, do not observe Daylight Saving Time. Learn more about Daylight Saving Time in Mexico.
Mexico's official language is Spanish, and Mexico is home to the world’s largest population of Spanish speakers, but over 50 indigenous languages are spoken by more than 100,000 people.