Capital city Ciudad de Mexico
Surface 1,972,550 km²
Population 123,675,000
Road network length 116,802 km
Length of highway network 9,718 km
First highway 1958
Motorway name autopista
Traffic drives Right
License plate code MEX

Mexico (Spanish: México), formally United Mexican States (Spanish: Estados Unidos Mexicanos) is a country in North America, located south of the United States and bordering Guatemala and Belize. The capital is Ciudad de México, more commonly known as Mexico City. The country has an area of ​​1,972,550 square kilometers and is therefore more than 56 times the size of the Netherlands. The country has 123 million inhabitants.


According to ABBREVIATIONFINDER, Mexico is sandwiched between the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. The country is the 13th largest country in the world. It is also the 10th most populous country in the world with 125 million inhabitants. Mexico measures 3,200 kilometers from northwest to southeast as the crow flies. The distance between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean varies from 220 to 2,000 kilometers. The country is bordered to the north by the United States (California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas) and to the south by Guatemala and Belize.

Mexico is a mountainous country, with a central plateau, flanked by the Sierra Madre Occidental and Sierra Madre Oriental, which are considered part of the Rocky Mountains. In central Mexico there are some volcanoes, of which the 5,636 meter high Pico de Orizaba is the highest point in the country. Characteristic is that the plateau descends steeply on the sides to the coastal plain. The eastern coastal plain is quite wide, the western coastal plain is generally narrow. The Yucatán Peninsula consists of flat terrain with tropical forests.

The plateau is largely desert, especially the Sonoran Desert which occupies northwestern Mexico and the southwestern United States. In the United States, the Sonoran Desert is often known by other regional names. The Sonoran Desert is dry, but because of its altitude, snow falls regularly in the winter. The highest volcanoes in central Mexico are permanently covered with snow.

There are few major rivers in Mexico. The Río Colorado flows into the Gulf of California, but the flow is low due to the extensive irrigation in the United States and Baja California. The Río Grande forms the border with the US state of Texas, but here too the flow is low because of the irrigation. Other rivers are often short and originate in the Sierra Madres.

Geographically, Mexico is classified as North America, Central America and Latin America. Culturally, it is a part of Latin America. The term North America has multiple definitions, the continent includes everything from Panama and further north. Politically, this often only refers to the United States and Canada, but more recently Mexico has been added more often. Mexico is sometimes included and sometimes not included under the terms Central America or Central America.

States of Mexico

Mexico is made up of 31 states and a federal district. The formal name of Mexico is Estados Unidos Mexicanos (United States of Mexico). The federal district is the Distrito Federal, formed by Mexico City, in Spanish simply México, México, DF or Ciudad de México. The surrounding state of México is not part of the Federal District.

Aguascalientes • Baja California • Baja California Sur • Campeche • Chiapas • Chihuahua • Coahuila • Colima • Durango • Guanajuato • Guerrero • Hidalgo • Jalisco • México • Mexico City • Michoacán de Ocampo • Morelos • Nayarit • Nuevo León • Oaxacarét • Puebla • Quearo •Quintana Roo • San Luis Potosí • Sinaloa • Sonora • Tabasco • Tamaulipas • Tlaxcala • Veracruz • Yucatán • Zacatecas


The Autopista México – Toluca after expansion in 2016.

Mexico is one of the largest economies in the world. Since the 1990s, Mexico has had an ever-expanding middle class. Among the OECD countries, Mexico has the second largest wealth inequality. There is also a big difference in wealth between the big cities and the countryside. Due to the low labor costs, there is a lot of manufacturing industry in Mexico, including textiles, household products, cars and electronics. An important economic pillar is the energy sector, Mexico is the sixth largest oil producer in the world. Oil is exploited by the state-owned company PEMEX. Fuel prices in Mexico are among the lowest in the OECD. The Mexican economy has become much more diverse since the 1980s. In 1980 oil exports accounted for 62% of Mexican exports, in 2000 this was only 7%. Economic growth in Mexico is hampered by internal conflicts with drug gangs, which have a lot of power. Mexico is an important tourist country, with well-known tourist resorts such as Cancún, Playa del Carmen, Acapulco and Cabo San Lucas. It is the most important tourist country in Latin America. The poor security situation in some states and cities is eroding Mexico’s image as a holiday destination.


Name Population
Mexico City 19,232,000
Guadalajara 4,096,000
Monterrey 3,664,000
Puebla 2,109,000
Toluca 1,611,000
Tijuana 1,484,000
Leon 1,425,000
Ciudad Juarez 1,313,000
Torreon 1,111,000
San Luis Potosi 958,000
Queretaro 918,000

Mexico is the largest Spanish-speaking country in the world. The population grew rapidly after the Second World War, from 19.6 million in 1940 to 66.8 million in 1980 and 112.3 million in 2010. See Mexico population density. The population is ethnically diverse, by far the largest population group are the Mestizos, who are mixed European and are of Amerindian descent and make up 65% of the population. Full Amerindians and Europeans both make up about 17% of the population. The largest group of foreigners are Americans. In contrast, many Americans are of Mexican descent, although emigration from Mexico to the United States has declined sharply due to economic growth. Mexico is still a transit country for immigrants from Central America to the United States.

Mexico has several million cities. Mexico City is one of the largest cities in the Western Hemisphere, with almost 20 million inhabitants. Mexico also has a few other large cities, which are a lot smaller than Mexico City. Most of the larger cities are located on the plateau, although especially the north of the plateau is sparsely populated. The largest population concentration is in central Mexico, with major cities such as Mexico City, Guadalajara, Puebla, Querérato, León, Morelia, and Toluca. There are a number of major cities on the US border, including Tijuana, Ciudad Juárez, Reynosa, and Matamoros.


Mexico was originally the base of great Native American empires, including the Olmec, the Maya, and the Aztec. In the 16th century, the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire in Mexico began, which took place between 1519 and 1521. The original population was largely wiped out by smallpox, which the Spaniards were immune to. In 1522, the area was named Nueva España, a Spanish territory that encompassed all of Mexico, most of Central America, and southwestern North America. Then followed 300 years of Spanish colonial rule. During colonial times the country was developed, education was soon introduced, as well as literature and architecture, with the construction of great cathedrals and monuments.

In 1810 a revolution for the independence of Mexico started. This almost bled to death after a few years, but intensified from 1820 onwards, eventually leading to Mexican independence in 1821. However, the situation was unstable with civil wars leading to the Republic of Texas declaring independence from Mexico in 1836 and joining the United States in 1846. In 1840, the unrecognized Republic of Río Grande briefly existed. The Republic of Yucatán also existed between 1841 and 1848. These last two republics later became part of Mexico again. A border dispute with the United States led to a war between the two countries in 1846-1848, after which Mexico lost large parts of its territory to the United States, including Alta California (modern dayCalifornia) and New Mexico. With the so-called ‘Gadsden Purchase’ of 1854, the United States bought 76,800 km² of Mexico, which is today southern Arizona and New Mexico. The largest contemporary city in this acquired land is Tucson.

The rest of the 19th century was marked by uprisings, revolutions, and an occupation by France between 1861 and 1867, which occurred at the same time as the American Civil War, which initially prevented the United States from intervening. In the early 20th century, Mexico was unstable, with a democracy regularly ravaged by political assassinations and revolutions. Mexico was a one-party state between 1929 and 2000. An important economic milestone was the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994. Since 2000, Mexico has been a multi-party democracy. However, the country is plagued by powerful drug gangs with particularly violent conflict between rival drug cartels.

Mexico Location Map