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indicator value unit
Population 106.7 mil.
Visitors per year 22.6 mil.
Renewable energy 9.52 %

How’s Life?

Mexico has made tremendous progress over the last decade in terms of improving the quality of life of its citizens, especially in the areas of education, health and jobs. Notwithstanding, Mexico performs well in only a few measures of well-being and, ranks low in a large number of topics relative to most other countries in the Better Life Index.

Money, while it cannot buy happiness, is an important means to achieving higher living standards. In Mexico, the average household net-adjusted disposable income per capita is 12 850 USD a year, less than the OECD average of 23 938 USD a year. But there is a considerable gap between the richest and poorest – the top 20% of the population earn nearly thirteen times as much as the bottom 20%.

In terms of employment, nearly 61% of people aged 15 to 64 in Mexico have a paid job, lower than the OECD employment average of 65%. Some 79% of men are in paid work, compared with 45% of women. People in Mexico work 2 226 hours a year, more than the OECD average of 1 765 hours. Almost 29% of employees work very long hours, much more than the OECD average of 9%, with 35% of men working very long hours compared with 18% for women.

Having a good education is an important requisite for finding a job. In Mexico, 36% of adults aged 25-64 have earned the equivalent of a high-school degree, much lower than the OECD average of 75% and one of the lowest rates amongst OECD countries. This is slightly truer of men than women, as 38% of men have successfully completed high-school compared with 35% of women. In terms of the quality of the education system, the average student scored 417 in reading literacy, maths and science in the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), lower than the OECD average of 497. On average in Mexico, girls outperformed boys by 1 points, less than the average OECD gap of 8 points.

In terms of health, life expectancy at birth in Mexico is almost 74 years, six years lower than the OECD average of 80 years. Life expectancy for women is 77 years, compared with 71 for men. The level of atmospheric PM10 – tiny air pollutant particles small enough to enter and cause damage to the lungs – is 29.8 micrograms per cubic meter, considerably higher than the OECD average of 20.1 micrograms per cubic meter. Mexico also performs below the OECD average in terms of water quality, as 68% of people say they are satisfied with the quality of their water, below the OECD average of 84%.

Concerning the public sphere, there is a moderate sense of community and level of civic participation in Mexico, where 74% of people believe that they know someone they could rely on in time of need, lower than the OECD average of 89%. Voter turnout, a measure of public trust in government and of citizens’ participation in the political process, was 63% during recent elections, lower than the OECD average of 72%. Social and economic status can affect voting rates; but in Mexico there is little difference across society. Voter turnout for the top 20% of the population is an estimated 63% and for the bottom 20% it is an estimated 61%, suggesting there is broad social inclusion in Mexico’s democratic institutions

In general, Mexicans are more satisfied with their lives than the OECD average, with 82% of people saying they have more positive experiences in an average day (feelings of rest, pride in accomplishment, enjoyment, etc.) than negative ones (pain, worry, sadness, boredom, etc.). This figure is higher than the OECD average of 76%.

For more information on estimates and years of reference, see FAQ section and BLI database.


OECD in Action

OECD Economic Surveys: Mexico 2015

OECD's 2015 Economic Survey of Mexico examines recent economic developments, prospects and policies. Special chapters boosting growth and reducing informality as well as sharing the fruits of growth.

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Mexico in Detail