Challenging and disruptive demographics | Article by Mario Luis Fuentes

The National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI) announced the results of the National Survey on Demographic Dynamics (ENADID) 2023, one of the main data collection tools regarding the population structure of our country, as well as the practices and access to certain public services, especially for women, regarding the implementation and guarantees of their sexual and reproductive rights.

The data presented allows us to re-emphasize that the complexity of the challenges we face as a country is vast and colossal. In fact, the above findings should form an essential part of the diagnosis based on which the government transition process should begin from June 3, and at the same time the planning of the transition team to respond accordingly to everything that this implies. a universal guarantee of economic, social, cultural and environmental rights of the country’s population.

ENADID’s information is very broad, but there are various topics that, on first reading, represent elements for continuing the national debate about what course of development we should follow and on which a new generation of policies urgently needs to be formulated. . and programs that guarantee the right of every person not to be poor.

The first of these topics relates to global fertility levels and specific recorded fertility rates. The decrease is significant, but we will have to wait a few more years to determine whether this is a trend or a temporary effect associated with the pandemic, during which, specifically in 2020 and 2021, there has been a very significant decrease in the number of births registered in the country, the situation changed in 2022, when INEGI’s own fertility statistics already show a very significant increase compared to the two previous years.

Even so, it is worth emphasizing that the total number of births still exceeds one million per year; and that it was the huge mortality rate recorded between 2021 and 2022 (more than 2.2 million deaths), associated with intense international migration, that prevented us from exceeding the number of inhabitants of 130 million.

From this point of view, given the slow and insufficient economic growth recorded during this administration, the decline in per capita GDP can be tentatively estimated because if the annual average is around 1.5%, without taking into account population growth, we will be facing a critical crisis . scenario of stagnation in this area.

It is also estimated that just over a million people left the country between 2018 and 2022; with the primary destination being the United States, a sign that conditions of inequality, poverty and violence here are such that the difficult decision to risk everything to cross the northern border is still the best option for hundreds of thousands of families across the country.

ENADID also records the sad reality of child mortality rates, that is, the number of deaths of girls and boys under one year of age per thousand live births. The indicator remained virtually unchanged: in 2018 it was 15.6, in 2022 – 15.3; which shows the inadequacy of policies for the care and provision of children’s rights; and at the same time, the need to do much more to consolidate the national child protection system, and to recreate or re-establish the national DIF system.

Another fact that needs to be carefully analyzed is the changing structure of the demographic pyramid, as the 30 to 65 year old segments are witnessing very high male mortality rates, which is undoubtedly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. , but also with gun violence and its impact on homicide mortality.

It is necessary to understand, given these factors, as well as the important number of indicators available in the social sphere, that Mexico must move towards a new social pact; which must begin with the resolution of the tax crisis in the Mexican state, which has been delayed for decades and which has been reluctant to resolve, mainly due to the criteria of electoral calculations, which has led to the impossibility of the state fulfilling a set of mandates. which gave itself through its constitutional and legal architecture.

To put the above into perspective, just consider what an annual population growth of over 1.5 million people means; which are obviously added to those who require everything: housing, healthcare, education, jobs, access to food, a healthy environment, social security, as well as basic services that require the creation of much more social infrastructure, as well as its maintenance, repair and expansion of the existing one.

The next president of Mexico will face serious restrictions of various kinds; and the first of them is a set of problems associated with the rapidly changing demographic structure of the territory; and this, in addition to speeches and intentions, requires very real implementers, which must be guaranteed here and now, because the guarantee of human rights does not allow any delay.

Demography is disruptive, Rolando Cordera rightly stated at one point; and this “subversive” character is such because no government can remove anyone; because development must lead to general welfare; and because the principle of progressiveness forces us to improve more and more.

*Researcher PUED-UNAM.

Source: Aristegui Noticias