Mexico Is the Most Populated Spanish-Speaking Country1
Mexico’s total population is 124,574,795, which makes it the 11th most populous country in the world, following China, India, and the United States.2
Mexico is the second most populous country in Latin America following Brazil.3
Today, Mexico's population skews young: the median age is 28 years old, with over 65% of the population between 15 and 64 years old.4
27.3% of the population was under the age of 15 years old in 2016.5
Fewer Mexicans are migrating to the United States. From 2009 to 2014, the number of Mexicans returning to Mexico from the United States (one million) surpassed the number of Mexicans migrating to the United States from Mexico (870,000).6
Mexico's Population Is Aging7
Almost 20% of the population is expected to be elderly (aged 65 and over) by 2050, compared to just 6.9% of the population today.10
Education Is a Very Important Factor Influencing Mobility in Mexico11
57% of Mexico's 15–19-year-olds were enrolled in schools (the lowest recorded percentage among OECD nations) in 2015,12 despite the country’s having the largest population of this age group in its history.13
Less than one-quarter (22%) of 25–34-year-olds earned tertiary degrees.16
In 2014, 30% of women and 29.9% of men were enrolled in tertiary education within five years of completing secondary school.17
Among Mexico’s tertiary education students, women accounted for almost a third (32%) of those entering STEM fields in 2015, a proportion that is above the average (27%) across OECD nations.18
In 2015, women graduates in tertiary education programs included:19
- More than a quarter (28.3%) in engineering, manufacturing, and construction.
- Over half (52.6%) in the natural sciences, mathematics, and statistics.
- Over half (55.9%) in business, administration, and law.
Women’s Participation in the Labor Force Lags Behind Men’s20
In 2016, 62.2% of the population aged 15 years and older participated in the labor force.21
- 45.5% of women were in the labor force compared to 79.5% of men.22
- In 2020, women are projected to be 37.2% of the total labor force (23,282,000).23
Women are more likely than men to work in Mexico’s informal sector. More than half (55.5%) of women in non-agricultural occupations hold informal jobs, compared to 49.1% of men.24
Women Have a Low Participation Rate in Leadership Roles25
In 2015, women held only 5.7% of corporate board seats in Mexico.26
14.6% of firms have women in top management roles.27
- Of high potentials surveyed, women are more likely to work in a global firm, whereas men are more likely to work in a non-global firm.28
- Women held nearly a quarter (24%) of senior management positions in 2017.29
- The percentages of businesses in Mexico with no women in senior management decreased from 52% in 2016 to 38% in 2017.30
Women earn on average 49% less than men for doing similar work.31
Quotas and Laws Are Helping Women Close the Gender Gap in Politics32
Over a third of all positions in Mexico’s lower house parliament (42.6%) and Senate (36.7%) are held by women, placing it 7th out of 193 countries.33
- No woman has ever been elected to the Presidency of Mexico.34
Anna Beninger, Today’s Mexican High Potentials at Work (Catalyst, 2014).
Catalyst, First Step: Mexico Overview (2014).
Alixandra Pollack, Dnika J. Travis, and Erica L. Lizano, Corporate Landscape in Mexico: Understanding Approaches to Talent Management and Women’s Inclusion (Catalyst, 2014).
"Closing Mexico's Gender Gap." YouTube video, 2:06, posted by World Economic Forum, April 17, 2012.
Manuela Artigas, Heloisa Callegaro, and Maria Novales-Flamarique, "Why Top Management Eludes Women in Latin America: McKinsey Global Survey Results" (McKinsey&Company, 2013).
How to cite this product: Catalyst, Quick Take: Women in the Workforce: Mexico (October 27, 2017).
- 1. CountryWatch, “Mexico: Country Review” (2017).
- 2. CIA, "Country Comparison: Population," The World Factbook (2017).
- 3. CountryWatch, “Mexico: Country Review” (2017).
- 4. CIA, “Mexico, People and Society,” The World Factbook (2017).
- 5. CIA, “Mexico, People and Society,” The World Factbook (2017).
- 6. Ana Gonzalez-Barrera, More Mexicans Leaving Than Coming to the U.S. (Pew Research Center, November 19, 2015).
- 7. Jacqueline L. Angel, William Vega, and Mariana López-Ortega, “Aging in Mexico: Population Trends and Emerging Issues,” The Gerontologist, vol. 57, no. 2 (2017).
- 8. Tim Searchinger, Craig Hanson, Richard Waite, Brian Lipinski, George Leeson, and Sarah Harper, Achieving Replacement Level Fertility: Installment 3 of “Creating a Sustainable Food Future” (World Resources Institute Working Paper, 2013): p. 1.
- 9. CIA, “Mexico, People and Society,” The World Factbook (2017).
- 10. United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division, “Percentage of Population by Broad Age Group, Both Sexes (Per 100 Total Population), Age 65+,” World Population Prospects: The 2017 Revision (2017); CIA, “Mexico, People and Society,” The World Factbook (2017).
- 11. Shannon K. O’Neill, “Social Mobility in Mexico,” Council on Foreign Relations Blog, May 9, 2013.
- 12. OECD, “Table C1.1: Enrolment Rates by Age Group (2005 and 2015), Mexico,” Education at a Glance 2017: OECD Indicators (2017): p. 256.
- 13. National Institute of Statistics and Geography (Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía), “Población Total por Entidad Federativa, Grupo Quinquenal de Edad, Año y Sexo (In Spanish)” (2017).
- 14. OECD, “Mexico–Country Note,” Education at a Glance 2017 (2017): p. 4.
- 15. Tertiary education describes “all post-secondary education, including both public and private universities, colleges, technical training institutes, and vocational schools.” The World Bank, “Higher Education: Context,” The World Bank Topics A-Z: Tertiary Education (October 5, 2017).
- 16. OECD, “Mexico–Country Note,” Education at a Glance 2017 (2017): p. 4.
- 17. The World Bank, “Gross Enrolment Ratio, Tertiary, Female, Mexico, 2014,” The World Bank Databank (2017).
- 18. OECD, “Mexico–Country Note,” Education at a Glance 2017 (2017): p. 2.
- 19. Data for total tertiary education (ISCED2011 levels 5-8); OECD, “Graduates by Field, Mexico,” OECD Stat (2017).
- 20. OECD, Building an Inclusive Mexico: Policies and Good Governance for Gender Equality (2017): p. 62.
- 21. The World Bank, “Labor Force Participation Rate, Total (% of Total Population Ages 15+) (Modeled ILO Estimate), Mexico, 2016,” The World Bank Databank (2017).
- 22. The World Bank, “Labor Force Participation Rate, Female (% of Female Population Ages 15+) (Modeled ILO Estimate), Mexico, 2016,” The World Bank Databank (2017); The World Bank, “Labor Force Participation Rate, Male (% of Male Population Ages 15+) (Modeled ILO Estimate), Mexico, 2016,” The World Bank Databank (2017).
- 23. International Labour Organization, “Labour Force by Sex and Age—ILO Modelled Estimates, July 2015 (Thousands), Mexico,” ILOSTAT (2015).
- 24. National Institute of Statistics and Geography (Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía), “Encuesta Nacional de Ocupación y Empleo, Informalidad Laboral, Indicadores Básicos, Segundo Trimestre de 2017,” National Survey of Occupation and Employment (In Spanish) (2017).
- 25. Catalyst, First Step: Mexico Overview (2014): p. 8.
- 26. Credit Suisse Research Institute, “Table 1: Percentage of Women on Boards by Country, Mexico,” The CS Gender 3000: The Reward for Change (2016): p. 8.
- 27. The World Economic Forum, The Global Gender Gap Report 2016 (2016); A “top manager” refers to “the highest-ranking manager or CEO of the establishment.” The World Economic Forum, “User’s Guide: How Country Profiles Work,” The Global Gender Gap Report 2016 (2016).
- 28. Anna Beninger, Today’s Mexican High Potentials at Work (Catalyst, 2014).
- 29. Unpublished Grant Thornton data (2017); Grant Thornton, Women in Business: New Perspectives on Risk and Reward (2017).
- 30. Unpublished Grant Thornton data (2017); Grant Thornton, Women in Business: New Perspectives on Risk and Reward (2017).
- 31. The World Economic Forum, The Global Gender Gap Report 2016 (2016).
- 32. Catalyst, First Step: Mexico Overview (2014): p. 3.
- 33. Inter-Parliamentary Union, “World Classification, Mexico," Women in National Parliaments (September 1, 2017).
- 34. Abigail Geiger and Lauren Kent, “Number of Women Leaders Around the World Has Grown, But They’re Still a Small Group,” Pew Research Center Fact Tank, March 8, 2017.