Our Important Neighbors to the South
February 2, 2022
Over the 2021-2022 Christmas break, I had the amazing opportunity to travel to Mexico City and the city of Cuernavaca, in the heart of Mexico. I had been to Mexico five times previously–for vacations in Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, Isla Mujeres, and Riviera Maya. All of these places were amazing and beautiful. Every time I traveled to these places, I left with one thought on my mind: What was the rest of the country like? The places that I visited basically served tourism. After my trip most recent trip, I was able to see the eighth biggest city in the world as well as get a better understanding of what a common citizen’s life was like.
Who is the average citizen of the country of Mexico? According to Nationmaster.com, the average GDP per capita of Mexico is $8,516.67. The average GDP per capita of the United States was $47,264.02. The U.S. GDP per capita is roughly six times higher than that of Mexico. It was also evident that the poverty rate was noticeably higher than what it is in the United States. After doing research to find exact statistics, the poverty rate of Mexico was 41.9 percent in 2018 (worldbank.org). This statistic blew me out of the water for multiple different reasons.
One of the main reasons I was so shocked to learn the poverty rate was so high was because of how happy I noticed the people of Mexico seem to be. Everywhere I traveled, I noticed how welcoming local people were to me, as well as the rest of my classmates. I was treated as if I was family traveling long distances to visit Mexico. Another reason I was so shocked about the poverty level was, everywhere I looked, I saw happy families together. It made me stop and think about everything I had taken for granted in the United States. The greatest takeaway I had from this trip is to be thankful for what I have, and not resentful for what I do not have.
With this being said, why is Mexico so very important to the United States? My greatest conclusion is because there can be ideas to take away from both sides, which can benefit both countries. For example, the president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), has a press conference Monday through Friday live on YouTube. This is great for the country of Mexico because it promotes transparency within the government. It is improvements like these that bridge gaps between the government and its citizens. Given the current situation regarding politics in the United States, I think a daily press conference with our own president could be extremely beneficial for the United States.
Another reason why Mexico is so important to the United States is that it is a significant trade partner. According to State.gov, Mexico was the second biggest supplier in crude oil to the United States in 2020. On the other hand, companies in the United States invested a total of $101 billion in Mexico. It is clear that Mexico and the United States depend on each other.
University of Minnesota student Austin Lentz said, “The heart of Mexico is an incredibly underrated area. Commonly when one thinks of Mexico, minds immediately wander to the beaches and resorts that populate the country. On the contrary it is a rich and deep rooted area in history that we could definitely learn from here in the states.”
The heart of Mexico is an incredibly underrated area. Commonly when one thinks of Mexico, minds immediately wander to the beaches and resorts that populate the country. On the contrary it is a rich and deep rooted area in history that we could definitely learn from here in the states”
— Austin Lentz
From the rich history of Mexico to the areas still under development, the country has been a great neighbor. Although the country may not be as developed as the United States, it is still a work in progress. With its breathtaking views, very nice people, and values, Mexico is on a great and exciting path to being an amazing country.