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At least 16 million people live in Mexico City and the numbers are increasing daily. Most of the people moving into the city are rural to urban migrants.

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People living in the rural areas of Mexico usually decide to move to Mexico City. This is due to the absence of employment, basic amenities such as hospitals and schools and entertainment in the rural areas. Some families leave the countryside because they are only able to produce enough food for themselves and are not making any money. This is called subsistence farming. There are many negative factors that push the people living in rural areas to go live in Mexico City.

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These are all reasons what people move to Mexico City:

Push Factors

Pull Factors

High unemployment rate

Employment opportunities


Money to be made

Very few schools

Better schools

Not much running water

Better hospitals

No sufficient health care

Good Entertainment

Trade and communication is difficult


Mexicans who want to move from the rural areas to Mexico City usually don’t go directly from their own small village to Mexico City. They step migrate. This is when the people move from a small village to a bigger one. They then go on to a town and eventually reach Mexico City.

Life for a migrant in Mexico City is very difficult. When they first arrive in Mexico City they usually live with family, but for those who have no family, they have to build shacks on public land that no one else wants such as land next to a main highway.

If the migrants manage to make some money they usually buy their own house. These houses are low cost and are usually located in the poor suburbs of Mexico City or a shantytown. These houses usually hold about eight people to a room.

Employment in Mexico City is not very good so the rates of unemployment are very high.

Most people don’t have full time jobs. The Mexicans work very hard but get paid very little and have to work long hours. Women usually have part time jobs. They also have to do the cooking and the cleaning. The cost of living in Mexico City is very similar to that of America but the Mexicans, on average, get paid $4 a day.

Children who live in Mexico City very rarely go to school. They usually have to work on the streets to earn money to contribute to the family’s income. There is a very low level of education within the children. Not many can read and write. There are many diseases among children and the infant mortality rate is quite high. Marriage of girls takes place at a very early age so there are many teenage mothers. Since there is hardly any education they have not learnt about birth control and family planning.

Some areas of Mexico City are trying to make their living standards better by starting self-help schemes where the people themselves build houses, schools and hospitals. One example of this is Valle Gomez.

The rapid population growth of Mexico City has created many environmental problems. The road systems are overcrowded. Mexico City doesn’t offer much public transport and unleaded petrol in not used. There are approximately 12 thousand contaminants being released into the air each day. Many experts say that breathing the air of Mexico City for a day is like smoking 60 cigarettes in 24 hours. Since the atmosphere is so toxic there are risks that babies can be impaired physically and mentally due to the high lead levels in the air. Officials have tried to reduce the number of cars on the roads by preventing a person from driving his to work more than once a week. Locals say that many people have found ways to beat this system. They buy many cars and use a different car each day.

Each day 11,000 tons of rubbish is dumped on streets and in waterways. The rubbish clogs up the drainage system and so water flows into open rivers. 2000 tons of untreated waste is dumped in rivers that are then used to irrigate plants in rural Mexico. The people of Mexico City then buy these plants and foods. All fruits and vegetables have lead limits twice the amount which is allowed in the USA. Too much lead in food is harmful for a human.

Mexico City’s government is trying to improve the quality of live in Mexico City. They spend public money on hospitals and sewerage. They have started more public transport like buses that use unleaded petrol, but many locals feel that the government is useless and that it can’t control the city.

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Kylie Garcia

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