By Suzanne A. Marshall from the August 2012 Edition
Last month, having written about my neighborhood in Salahua, I closed with a question. Where were all the old folks in Manzanillo? Sure, we see a few here and there but relative to the presence of seniors we see out and about in our daily lives in Canada and no doubt the U.S.A., for me, it seemed a noticeable absence. Having raised this question with friends on numerous occasions I decided to put some energy into finding an answer.
With Canada having such a small population (34 million) I have researched the three North American countries, the U.S.A. (313 million) and Mexico (114 million) for greater validity. What I found through my research of Demographic Profiles and a number of studies was a bit surprising though not a really big shock.
The first comparison of note is the difference of age structure between countries. Looking at the age group of citizens 65 years of age and older I found a significant statistic. This portion of the population in the U.S.A. is 13%, in Canada 16% and in Mexico it is less than 7%. This is a truly dramatic statistical number. The basic assumption at this point is that we live longer in Canada and the U.S.A.
That being said it’s interesting to note that the population growth rate of Mexico is the highest with 1.1%, U.S.A. is .96% and Canada is .79%. So it also makes sense that the birth rates would share a similar pattern and they do. Based on a ‘per thousand’ statistic, the American birth rate is 14 births/1000, the Canadian birth rate is 10/1000 and the Mexican birth rate is over 19/1000 births.
( table 1)
It seems pretty safe to state that the Mexicans are definitely producing more babies than either the U.S. or Canada which also justifies the higher population growth rate.
Country Population 2011 % 65 yrs. and older Population Growth Rate Births/1000
United States 313,232,044 13.1% .963% 13.83
Canada 34,030,589 15.9% .794% 10.28
Mexico 113,714,226 6.6% 1.102% 19.13
And in Manzanillo the number of young mothers with small children and babies is absolutely astonishing. Every time we go shopping or walking I find myself with a permanent grin on my face as I do so love to see those beautiful little ones!
As I rooted around on the internet looking at all of this information I began to notice other rather interesting facts. For example the death rate in both the U.S. and Canada is much higher than Mexico. I would expect this with our older population being greater.
The death rate in U.S.A. is 8.38/1000; Canada is 7.98/1000; and Mexico is much lower at 4.86/1000.
And of course these stats are supported even more so when we look at the average ages of each country: U.S.A. – 36.9 years; Canada – 42.1 years; Mexico 27.1 years. Wow, this is a huge age gap!
But here comes the more serious news. The infant mortality rates and the average life expectancy of our Mexican friends are a much different picture.
Infant mortality rates in the U.S.A. are 6/1000; Canada 5/1000 and Mexico 17/1000. That’s about triple.
Life expectancy rates: U.S.A. 78.37 (males 76 years, females 81 years); Canada 81.38 (males 79, females 84); Mexico 76.47 (males 73.6 years, females 79.4).
Statistics 2011 United States Canada Mexico
Death Rate 8.38/1000 7.98/1000 4.86/1000
Average Age 36.9 years 42.1 years 27.1 years
Infant Mortality 6.06/1000 live births 4.92/1000 live births 17.29/1000 live births
Life expectancy 78.37 years 81.38 years 76.47 years
Without straying too far from my subject of the old folks, I would gather that the standard of living and health care systems have much to do with these statistics. Bear in mind though that Mexico is rapidly changing. With better livelihoods, wages, infrastructure manufacturing and other considerations, we can look forward to better circumstances for these wonderful people.
Mexico is seen as an evolving economy through significant manufacturing and trade growth. As the socio-economic environment, education and health services continue to improve for the people, so will the rates of infant mortality and life expectancies as well as the overall standard of living.
Concerning the old folks themselves, over 65% of Mexicans are aged 15 – 64 years. But after 65 the population drops dramatically to 6.6 %. There is an association with the ability of seniors up to 64 years of age to continue finding work however after 65 employability is limited and health issues and care become dependent upon the ability of families to support the seniors. As they age they become more and more reliant on family donations and housing to see them through the remaining years of life. If the family cannot provide adequately the results are an environment of poverty and ill health for many.
It certainly gives one pause to consider the gifts and good fortune so many of us have enjoyed all our lives in our own countries and to help those in need in whatever ways we can while we share this beautiful place with these wonderful people.
Suzanne A. Marshall hails from western Canada and has been living the good life in Manzanillo over the past 8 years. She is a wife, mom and grandma. She is retired from executive business management where her writing skills focused on bureaucratic policy, marketing and business newsletters. Now she shares the fun and joy of writing about everyday life experiences in beautiful Manzanillo, Mexico, the country, its people, the places and the events.