— Jose Gonzalez


Poverty rate in Mexico

This map shows the percentage of the population living in poverty per municipality during 2010 (click here for full screen). Clusters of municipalities where more than 80% of the population is classified as poor can be found in the Northwestern mountains, Southern mountains and near the border with Guatemala.

High poverty rates can be found in less accessible areas, usually at high altitudes where scarce water supply makes large scale agriculture difficult. Moreover, poverty has a higher incidence in municipalities with larger indigenous populations.

While the poverty rate of large urban areas is around 20 to 39% percent, it is still significantly less than that of rural areas.

Last summer, CONEVAL published new data at the State level. The new statistics show that Mexico’s poverty rate fell slightly between 2010 and 2012, dropping 0.6 percent, from 46.1 percent to 45.5 percent (check out this article by the Wilson Center).

It would be interesting to see what the new statistics look like  at the municipality level.

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What if policy makers worked like entrepreneurs and engineers? Sometimes, public policy initiatives are very difficult to replicate due to the lack of management best practices, freely available data  and code. For one moment imagine working on a project or designing a public policy that would:

  • Management best practices:
    • Let people know on what are you working at every time
    • Less generals and more soldiers: have a lean management structure with the least herarchical levels possible
    • Avoid information silos
    • Manage requirements and not activities
  • Other best practices:
  • Have a version control system: ability to track who added what and seamlessly roll back to previous versions
  • Automated testing of assumptions
  • Simple deployment: run this script and see the results
  • Code reviews: public repos on github with everything needed to replicate the project and add more contributors to it
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A couple of days ago the web page how safe is mexico went viral on Facebook, there were posts from all my Mexican friends vouching for this link and the analysis presented.  I definitely commend them on a job well done  structuring a lot of data in one place and proving good comparisons regarding the size of the country. However, their analysis tells an incomplete story as it, by and large, only focuses on homicides.

While the country has a relatively low homicide rate in some areas, this does not automatically equate to a low crime rate, many other types of crime are still prevalent in those same areas.  Mexico’s crimes and crime rates vary a lot from one municipality to the other, even within bordering municipalities. Thus we are talking about many Mexicos and not about a single one.

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Via Daily Mail


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Group of 20 Meets in a Mexico Outperforming Brazil – NYTimes.com.

Very good analysis from the NYT maybe this is the best part:

“Mexico’s political paralysis has stopped it from taking effective measures to break up monopolies, rewrite labor laws, collect more taxes and pry open the world’s most closed oil company, changes that would add 2.5 percentage points to its growth rate, the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness estimated”

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MapAmericas: Project Results in Haiti – Inter-American Development Bank.

Excellent tool from the IDB to map their results on economic development.

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IDEAS publishes a series of rankings of papers and academic institutions using metrics such as citations and the number of papers published. I like this methodology because it takes away some of the branding and prestige associated with some institutions but keeps an objective measurement of their work. As of April 2012 this is the top 10 for economics:

  1. Department of Economics, Harvard
  2. World Bank Group
  3. Department of Economics, University of Chicago
  4. Department of Economics, University of California – Berkeley
  5. London School of Economics (LSE)
  6. Department of Economics Princeton University
  7. Booth School of Business, University of Chicago
  8. Economics Department, MIT
  9. Economics Research, World Bank Group
  10. International Monetary Fund
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OECD Better Life

Take a look to the OECD – Your Better Life Index it’s an interactive tool to find your path to what country you would like to live in. Unfortunately mine, Mexico, ranks at the bottom of the scale for everything but I still like it

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The following map depicts the share of population enrolled in the Mexican public health program Seguro Popular (SP) in 2005. Up to that moment, the program had 7 million beneficiaries and in 2012 it has over 50 million. This is an effort to provide a universal health coverage to all the Mexican citizens.

Share of Population in SP



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