In the last decade, Mexico has made a lot of headlines for the battles over immigration and shocking violence occurring between its drug cartels. These common themes have made many people envision the entire country as a sad, destitute, crime-ridden place. While people should certainly practice caution in certain areas of Mexico, don't let the stereotypes about this powerful country misinform you.
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Large income disparity in Mexico does give the impression to outsiders that the country is not very wealthy. The average per capita income is around one-third of the United States, but Mexico is also home to a man who has spent years on the Forbes list of richest people in the world, even reaching number one. As a whole, Mexico's economy is worth $1.3 trillion, making it the 15th largest in the world. While agriculture is a large part of Mexico's economy, they are also big players in manufacturing.
No matter how big or small, when a place is unfamiliar, our brains like to characterize it in simple ways. Admitting many of us have been a little too dependent on sweeping generalizations for our understanding of Mexico is a step in the right direction. There is much more to do from there but a good next step in educating yourself is doing a little research on Cinco de Mayo - a lesson in both Mexican culture and cultural appropriation gone awry.
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Read more about common misconceptions about Mexico:
Forbes: Carlos Slim Helu and Family
CIA: The World Factbook: Mexico