OECD reports wide gaps in well-being across Mexico’s states


14/10/2015 - Improvements in health, access to basic services and housing have contributed most to raising standards of living of Mexicans over the past 15 years but further advances are needed to bring well-being indicators closer to the average of OECD countries, according to a new report.


Measuring Well-being in Mexico’s States says Mexico should improve performance in areas such as quality of education, safety, poverty levels and quality of jobs. It adds that stark differences exist between the different states of the country.


According to the multi-dimensional poverty indicator, as much as 76% of the population of Chiapas lived in poverty in 2014 compared with 20% in Nuevo Leon, the state with the lowest poverty. The report measures well-being by using the 12 dimensions of the international framework developed by the OECD:  income, jobs, housing, health, access to services, education, civic engagement and governance, environment, safety, work-life balance, social connections and life satisfaction. 


Presenting the conclusions at the World Forum on Statistics, Knowledge and Policy in Guadalajara, OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría said: “Designing the policies that ensure a higher quality of life for all requires accurate information about what life is like - not just at the broad national and international levels but in our regions and neighbourhoods, in our schools and hospitals.”


Also present at the launch was Eduardo Sojo, President of Mexico’s National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI), which collaborated on the project and launched the one-stop website of well-being indicators for the Mexican states .


OECD analysis shows that states with similar levels of GDP per person can differ markedly in the reported level of well-being. The obesity rate in high-income states varies from 43% of adults in Campeche and Tabasco to 34% in the Federal District. Maternal mortality rates have been more than halved in Quintana Roo and Queretaro between 2000 and 2013, while they worsened in Baja California Sur and Campeche.


Academic performance varies widely between states. Results in the international OECD PISA assessment tests for 15 year-olds show that students in Guerrero lag behind their peers in Aguascalientes by the equivalent of one year of schooling.


Regional differences in accessibility to services and health have narrowed since 2000, due mainly to the reduction of maternity and infant mortality rates and better services provision in the weakest performing states. But safety, income and jobs have on average deteriorated across the country. Security has worsened in particular in Guerrero and the State of Mexico over the past five years, while income has deteriorated since 2008. In the minority of states where income has increased —like Hidalgo, Coahuila and Yucatán—inequality  (as measured by the Gini index) has also risen.


By aggregating the results, the report finds that Baja California Sur, Sinaloa and Tamaulipas perform better than the Mexico average across all 12 of the dimensions measured, according to the latest data available. In Guerrero, only civic engagement is above the national value.


The report warns against seeing well-being scores in each state as separate items: well-being dimensions are interlinked and policies to improve the different aspects of well-being should not be the sole responsibility of a single government ministry. Integrated whole-of government and coherent policy responses are needed.


Highlights of the report, including state-by-state summaries are available here:


The OECD’s work on regional well-being is to be expanded to cover other Latin American countries. An OECD Development Centre project, How’s Life in Latin America? was also launched at the World Forum in Guadalajara. Its first results are expected at the end of 2016.


Journalists requiring further information are requested to contact Carolina Ziehl ( of the OECD’s Mexico Centre or the OECD Media Division in Paris (


Working with over 100 countries, the OECD is a global policy forum that promotes policies to improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world.


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