Poverty in Mexico City Persists

Poverty in Mexico
Although Mexico has the 13th largest economy in the world, poverty in Mexico City remains commons.

According to an article by The Huffington Post, poor people in Mexico make up half of the country’s population. “While the number of people living in extreme poverty fell… many more Mexicans are now worse off than they were when former President Felipe Calderon entered the last two years of a six-year term in which poverty swelled by nearly 3 percent”, the article states.

On the other hand, despite Mexico City being home to historical monuments and rich neighborhoods, another reality exists in which almost half of the city’s inhabitants are poor. Another article published by the BBC in 2006 argues that 40 percent of the city’s population lives below the line of poverty.

“This is a place of homeless street kids, piracy, pollution, crime, and 100,000 street vendors. At the same time, the rich live in a world of gated communities, rooftop swimming pools, and commuting by helicopter,” stated the author.

It is estimated that approximately 15,000 children live on the streets of Mexico City. Many children prefer such a lifestyle due to family disintegration and physical abuse, which are symptoms of poverty itself. Poverty in Mexico City causes devastation at home and cause arguments. But, sometimes these arguments become violent.

To make some pesos here and there, children would dress like clowns and entertain traffic at stoplights.

If drivers were impressed they would give them some money. Most of the time, however, drivers tend to ignore these children. With 15,000 children living in the streets, the working class in Mexico City has probably become desensitized to such an image.

On the national level, the number of Mexican children living in poverty is more absurd. According to a report by Fusion, the United Nations Children’s Fund “estimates that more than 20 million children and adolescents live in poverty in Mexico with more than five million living in extreme poverty.”

Whether people live in the streets or not, the BBC states, “at least 40% of the economy in the city is informal – people who do not pay taxes, and who make a living based on selling small amounts of things, from children’s books to luminous stars.”

These articles combined serve to show that despite Mexico’s progress throughout history, poverty is one of the many social issues that the country struggles to defeat. They also suggest that the poverty in Mexico City is bad, but not as bad as the poverty on the national level.

Juan Campos

Sources: BBC, The Huffington Post
Photo: Nick Rain