Poverty in Mexico
October 27, 2009
Lies, damn lies, and opinion polls
By Allan Nadel
As a life member of the Sierra Club, I enjoy a subscription to their bimonthly magazine. A small item in the Nov/Dec issue caught my eye: the University of Maryland’s Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) surveyed 19 countries asking, “How high a priority should addressing climate change be for your government?…on a scale of 0 (not a priority) to 10 (very high priority).” Not surprisingly, considering our “slacker mentality,” the United States ranked dead last, with a score of 4.7. Let’s see how some other contestants fared, countries whose people apparently care far more about Planet Earth than our own benighted citizens:
Mexico, 9.1 (top score!) According to the World Bank,
In 2002, half the population in Mexico was living in poverty and one fifth was living in extreme poverty… the rates for access to electricity, water and sanitation were 98, 90 and 80 percent, respectively.
Mexico Child Link provides more detail:
The bottom 40% of the population share only 11% of the wealth…Many families live in total poverty and children are compelled to work on the streets in order to supplement the family income… …Amnesty International has highlighted tortures and disappearances within Mexico in recent years….The Mexican standard of living is way below the US or Europe…There is little or no welfare state and no unemployment benefit. … it is officially claimed that unemployment is only 2%-3%. A more realistic employment estimate would be 40% unemployed or underemployed.
But not all Mexicans are poor. In 2002 Mexico ranked 15th in the world in terms of income inequality, right between Burkino Faso and Zambia. Mexico City, home to almost 20% of Mexico’s population, has a serious problem with pollution
…from pervasive incomplete combustion including low-temperature household cooking and heating and from vehicle emissions. In 1998, for example, the total volatile organic compounds emissions from the MCMA is higher than that from Los Angeles, the most polluted mega-city in the United States.
But Mexicans want their government to do more about global warming!