This map does not reflect a position by UNICEF on the legal status of any country or territory or the delimitation of any frontiers.
Mexico is the most populous Spanish-speaking country in the world. Some 43.5 per cent of the population are children under the age of 18. Due to poverty, many children migrate, with or without their families, within rural areas, from rural to urban areas, among urban areas, and to the United States. This results in family instability and a large number of working children. According to 1996 statistics, 3.5 million children aged between 12 and 17 are part of the formal or informal labour force.
Economic growth over the last decade has made Mexico an upper-middle income country, but there remain tremendous disparities and social exclusion. Approximately 24 million Mexicans live in extreme poverty.