Monday, December 15, 2014

Mexico by the numbers: * Hey, it costs money to look good. * If you can't do the time, go ahead and do the crime anyway. * Marriage is losing its appeal among the young . . . unless you're 12.

100 million . . . number of pesos the Peña Nieto administration has spent on image advice from outside experts, according to the online Mexican news site Sin Embargo. The expenditures, says reporter Linaloe R. Flores in the article, have been for consultation on such essentials as polling, analyses of how TV and radio spots supporting the administration’s reforms are going over, PR strategies, social network placement and a workshop on emotions control.  13.4 million . . . number of Mexican adolescents who had their first sip of an alcoholic beverage before age 18, according to the Health Secretariat’s 2011 National Addiction Survey42,678 . . . number of adolescent alcoholics in Mexico, from the same survey. A report in Reforma based on the survey uses the tone of foreboding that’s de rigueur in reporting about alcohol and young people. But isn’t the fact that 57.1% of Mexican minors have never had a drink (assuming the figures are correct) good news for the boozaphobes? And only 42,678 of the 13.4 million teenagers who have “ingested alcoholic beverages sometime in their life” suffer from alcoholism? That’s less than one third of one percent.  Help them by all means, but let’s not panic.

99.5 . . . If you want to panic, this is a number that should do it for you. It’s the percentage of crimes that go unpunished in Mexico. It’s not pulled out of the air. It’s from INEGI statistics, interpreted by the security analyst Alejandro Hope as follows. It is estimated that 33 million crimes were committed nationally in 2013. Less than 10% of them were reported. And in only a third of that 10% was any action taken by the authorities. Only 7.5% of those investigated cases went to a judge. Factor in the not guilty verdicts and you got about a half a percent of crimes resulting in a convicted perpetrator. And a certain percentage of the convicted, we all know, are innocent.

1,898,000  . . . Mexico’s annual population growth. That figure excludes immigration and emigration. You get it by subtracting the number of deaths each year (602,000) from the number of births (2.5 million). Those numbers adjust themselves over time, of course, and it’s thought that the population growth will level off sometime after 2050. 27.7 . . . average age of a Mexican today. So if it seems like most people around you are younger than you are, they probably are. That number won’t last either; the average age will be moving up. 23  . . . percentage drop in marriages during the first 12 years of this century by Mexicans aged 20 to 29. There were still more marriages in that age group during that period (8.86 million) than in all other age groups combined, according to figures from the National Statistics Institute (INEGI) as crunched by a team from El Universal. 45 . . . percentage drop in teenage marriages since 2002. But: 64,400 . . .  number of children younger than 15 who married in the 2000-2012 period. That’s a tiny number compared to the other age groups, about 5,000 a year. It still seems shockingly high, doesn't it?

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