Pub. date: 2002 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412950664 | Print ISBN: 9780761922582 | Online ISBN: 9781412950664| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Mexico is a democratic, federal republic, comprising thirty-one free states and the Federal District, with a population of about 97.4 million in 2000. It is a multicultural nation in which 10 percent of the population belongs to indigenous Native American groups, which speak sixty-two different languages. In 2000, Mexico experienced a major political change, as the Institutional Revolutionary Party (Partido Revolucionario Institucional; PRI), which had ruled for seventy consecutive years, lost the presidential election for the first time. One of the major factors that led to the change in leadership was an increase in crime and fear of crime in the 1990s, as well as a loss of faith in the institutions and authorities responsible for ensuring law and order. Mexico, like most Latin American countries, has deep income and wealth inequalities. In 1999, the lowest income group (40 percent of the population) received barely 11 percent of total income, ...