20 March 2016

Why is Mexico viewed as a Third World country?

It’s not anymore, at least not by anyone who knows what they’re talking about. It’s poorer than the US, but Mexico’s Human Development Index score is 0.756, which is officially considered “high”. But this photo of Mexico City perfectly illustrates the problem.

The problem in Mexico is inequality. The raw human development score for Mexico makes it look like Eastern Europe – not the highest, but decently good. Adjusted for inequality, however, Mexico finds itself amongst countries like Iraq and Vietnam.

So only a relatively small amount of people, limited mostly to Mexico City and other large cities, are able to enjoy very high levels of development.

Edit: Yes, technically “Third World” meant unaligned countries during the Cold War, and Finland and Switzerland were/are technically “Third World countries.” Mexico was officially one of those unaligned countries, hence its technical designation as a Third World country. But this classification was made decades ago and I answered the question as it pertains to modern usage of the term.

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7 Comments on "Why is Mexico viewed as a Third World country?"

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Dana Greet

How would Mexico compare to the US in terms of inequality ? Specifically, in terms of how much of the total amount of money in the top 5% of the populace, access to affordable health care, and percentage of people in poverty?


I consider Mexico a third world country because of all the Beggars on the streets the General Public don’t seem to recycle anything they just trow they’re garbage anywhere they want to, there public beaches are disaster areas, the roads are full of potholes buildings are never finished and thieves are everywhere

haha.. You are pretty funny. That happens everywhere. Actually it shouldn’t be considered a third world country. Yes, there are many people who do that but Americans do that as well. In every country, there will be thieves, people who throw their garbage anywhere and more. Do you actually know how developed Mexico is? Pfft. Actually you should research more. Also take in mind that there are many school shootings in USA than in Mexico or any other country. USA also doesn’t have a good president. Also less discrimination in Mexico. Does USA do anything about shootings, gun control and… Read more »
Catherine Davis
Wow, that certainly cuts to the chase. I view Mexico as a nation that stands its ground. Look at how Mexico won’t build a border wall. Don’t you think that if Mexico were that disadvantaged, it would follow suit in order to keep the peace with the U.S. Why would a super power nation like the U.S. even go there if Mexico were so poor, and third world. The president that we have here in the states, is obviously out of touch with reality, thinking he could order Mexico to do a job that will take man power, millions of… Read more »
Max the Great
To the poster known as TRUE: Let’s get some fact straight here. First off by comparison, Mexico’s quality of education and success rate of its youth is far below that of the United States, or most other countries as well. The statistics for Mexico show that only 62% of Mexican children attend secondary school while only 45% finish high school and only 25% of those students who finish secondary school go on to a university. In comparison, 99% of American children attend high school, and 85% of them graduate. So no, please do not compare Mexico’s education system with the… Read more »
Catherine Davis

Statistics go up and down all the time. Mexico has a decent educational system, although not as developed as that of the U.S., this is true.