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Missionary Spotlight-Fact File

June 2003

Area: 756,066 square miles.

Neighbouring countries: USA, Guatemala and Belize.

Environment: Mexico has high central mountains (highest peak 5,700m) and plateaus, and low coastal plains especially in the Yucatan peninsula. Its climate is hot desert in the north and tropical in the south. However, most of Mexico lacks adequate rainfall. The coasts are exposed to severe storms and the interior to volcanic and earthquake activity.

Population: 104 million.

Infant mortality: 24.5 per thousand live births.

Life expectancy: 72 years.

Capital: Mexico City (22.5 million).

Major cities: Guadalajara – a mining centre (4 million), Monterrey – a heavy industry centre (3.5 million), Puebla (2 million) and Leon (1.5 million).

Urbanisation: 72%.

Ethnic groups: Mestizo (Amerindian-Spanish) 60%; Amerindian 30%; white Euro-American 9%; others 1%.

Languages: Spanish (official); indigenous, including Aztec and Maya.

Literacy: 89%.

Economy: Mexico has a mixed free-market economy, heavily dependent on the USA. It has a high external debt, and 40% are below the poverty line – including many Amerindians. Natural resources include timber, petroleum and natural gas, silver, copper, lead, gold and zinc. Mexico exports manufactured goods, oil and agricultural products. Tourism is important. There is a large, illicit drug trade into the USA.

Religions: Roman Catholic 83% (many nominal and animistic); Protestant 6%; Independent 2%; cults 3%; others 6%.

Protestant denominations: National Presbyterian, Union of Independent Evangelical, Assemblies of God, Methodist, various Pentecostal, National Baptist Convention, and many others. Most profess to be Evangelical.

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