Home > Society and Culture

Mexico: Society and Culture

Mexico is a country of socio-economic contrasts and its population is drawn from a diversity of regions, ethnic groups and economic backgrounds. The country's cultural landscape is composed of several cultural regions each one with its own dialects, customs, economic practices and ways of life.

Its cities, while on the one-hand exhibiting affluence and prosperity in their elite neighborhoods and modern commercial complexes, also display poverty and squalor in the surrounding slums and shanty suburban townships.

Social Classes

Mexican society is an epitome of socials schisms. Wide disparities in wealth, social status, and educational levels exist across different sections of Mexican society and across the country's many regions. After the liberalization of the economy in the 1990s have resulted in the emergence of a rising class of well-educated and affluent elite who are a direct contrast to the vast majority of the rural and urban poor many of who still reel under poverty and related socio-economic hardships. In between these two classes is the middle class whose condition have not changed much even in the cities. The worst off are the rural landless poor who live on low daily wages. They are in direct contrast to a growing breed of wealthy farmers who own most of the agricultural land and resources and therefore garner most of Mexico's agricultural income.

Cultural Identity

The diversity of Mexico's cultural milieu is mainly due to the strong regional identities and loyalties of its ethnically and socially diverse people. Regional sentiments are stronger among the country's rural populace who identify more strongly with the regions and agricultural areas that they inhabit. Moreover, Mexico's indigenous Amerindian communities also identify themselves as rooted in their own respective communities and traditional homelands. Nevertheless, Mexico's indigenous heritage in all its diversity has come to represent a unique character of Mexican national identity and culture today.

Social Life

Overall, Mexican society reflects traditional societal ethos and practices. The family or more particularly the extended family remains central to Mexican society. Familial ties and bonhomie characterize Mexican social life and it is a common practice to have social get-togethers and festivals that include family members and relations across several generations. This is unlike the individuality that permeates many cultures and societies in transition especially in post-industrial countries.

Food and Drink

Fondness for good food and drink is a characteristic of Mexican society across all social classes. Although there are regional variations in food habits there are many elements that bind Mexicans in a united culinary tradition. In fact, Mexican cuisine has come to play a great role in projecting the country's image and identity in far corners of the globe. Regional variations apart, the staple diet of most Mexicans includes corn, beans, rice, avocados, chili pepper, tomatoes, papayas and vanilla. Also popular dishes like tortillas, fajitas and tortas. Another integral feature of Mexican cuisine is the wide array of drinks, alcoholic or otherwise, with the most famous being tequila, which have gained international popularity. Mexico's culinary diversity and richness can also be savored at the time of the feastings and traditional gatherings during Christmas time and on the Day of the Dead. Finally, a nice afternoon siesta, after a sumptuous midday meal is a favorite practice among most Mexicans especially in the rural areas where life is slower and more relaxed.

For more in formation on the Mexico Society and Culture log on the following pages.