50.7 . . . percentage of Mexicans who said they felt better at the end of 2014 than a year ago, according to a new survey by Consulta Mitofsky, one of Mexico’s premier polling organizations. That’s an improvement over December 2013, when 47.2 % thought things were going better than a year earlier. The highest feel-better percentage of the century was 68.6% at the end of 2001, the first full year that the PRI was out of power in seven decades. In only three years have feel-worse responders outnumbered the feel-betters — 2009, 2011and 2013.
36.7 . . . percentage of those who felt things got better in 2014 who credit the government for the improvement.
60.4 . . . percentage of those feeling things worsened in 2014 who blame the government for the decline.
18.0 . . . Percentage of Mitofsky respondents who cited “more security” as the most important factor for improving the country in 2015. It topped the list. But:
4.3 . . . Percentage who cited “more security” as the most important factor for improving their own lives in 2015. Improved personal economy was the winner by far.
3,000 . . . Number of meters into the air smoke and steam rose during an explosion of the Colima volcano on January 4. It was one of several such events in recent months. The volcano, on the border of the states of Colima and Jalisco, is one of the most active in Mexico, along with Popocatépetl, near Mexico City.
5,298,000 . . . number of U.S. tourists arriving in Mexico by air January through September of 2014, a 19.3% increase over the same period in 2013, despite negative publicity.
97.5 . . . room occupation percentage in the Zona Dorada tourist area of Acapulco during the winter holidays, again despite negative publicity.
79,000 . . . population of Mexican crocodiles (Crocodylus morelettii) along the Gulf Coast and Yucatan Peninsula. The small species was endangered in the 1970s, but protection programs were implemented and recovery has been successful enough that hunting restrictions in the state of Quintana Roo have recently been relaxed. The skin trade is seen as a means of improving the economy of marginalized areas.
15.9 million . . . Number of shares in the New York Times acquired last week by Carlos Slim, bringing his total to 27.8 million. The Mexican mogul is the venerable U.S. paper’s top outside investor, now with a 16.8% stake in tradeable Class A stocks. The Ochs-Sulzberger family still has a firm hold on the company.
100 million . . . number of euros Mexico’s Roberto Alcántara, whose holdings include the airline VivaAerobus and the IAMSA passenger bus empire, has invested in Prisa, the Spanish publishing group. Prisa publishes the Spanish daily newspaper El País, which circulates in Mexico.