Suburban Living Growing in Mexico

Not the place one thinks of when thinking of suburbs, but as suburban demographic expert Wendell Cox reports, the connection is real.

An excerpt.

There is an increasing recognition – at least outside the academy, planning organization and urban core developer groups – that the spatial expansion of cities or suburbanization represents the evolving urban form of not only the United States and virtually all of the high income world but also across the developing world, whether middle income or third world.

In recent years, Mexico has made substantial economic progress. Per capita income (purchasing power parity) in Mexico exceeds that of all the “BRIC” nations (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) except resource-rich Russia.

In Mexico, as almost everywhere, cities continue to expand to provide more living space for an emerging suburban middle-class. This is obvious in the new townhouse (attached house) and detached house developments that ring the urban areas (photograph above). Some of the best evidence of this can be observed on and beyond the southern edge of the nation’s second-largest urban area, Guadalajara (for example on Google Earth).

The Valley of Mexico

Nearly 3 years ago, one of the first Evolving Urban Form articles highlighted the Valley of Mexico metropolitan area, which is Mexico City in its functional (economic) manifestation. That article noted that the core municipality of Mexico City in 1950 had 2.23 million residents out of the urban area’s fewer than 3 million and comprised only 54 square miles (139 square kilometers). By 1970, the city’s population had risen to 2.85 million. However, as has happened in Paris, Copenhagen, Milan, Osaka, Glasgow, Detroit, and many others, the urban core population plummeted. By 2000, the former city had a population of only 1.69 million, a 40 percent loss from 1970. There was a modest population increase between the 2000 and 2010 censuses, but its population seems unlikely to ever be restored to near their previous peak, which mirrors the experience of Paris and Copenhagen.

Instead all population growth in the Valley of Mexico metropolitan area has been outside the 1950 area of Mexico City and in the post-World War II suburbs. While comparable metropolitan area data is not available, the Mexico City urban area added more than 10 million residents between 1970 and 2010. The same period, the suburban areas added more than 11 million residents (Figure 1). The Valley of Mexico metropolitan area is located not only in the Distrito Federal, but also in the states of Mexico and Hidalgo.

Retrieved February 15, 2014 from

About David H Lukenbill

I am a native of Sacramento, as are my wife and daughter. I am a consultant to nonprofit organizations, and have a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Behavior and a Master of Public Administration degree, both from the University of San Francisco. We live along the American River with two cats and all the wild critters we can feed. I am the founding president of the American River Parkway Preservation Society and currently serve as the CFO and Senior Policy Director. I also volunteer as the President of The Lampstand Foundation, a nonprofit organization I founded in 2003.
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