According to INEGI, 42 percent of Mexican households are part of the middle classes, which mostly live in cities
The constant complaints of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) against the middle class, after the elections of June 6, put in the public discussion who belongs to this sector and what distinguishes them from others.
The president has accused those belonging to this social class of being “aspirational and selfish”, individualists who turn their backs on others, who to “climb as high as they can” have no moral scruples.
According to the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (Inegi), López Obrador refers to a sector made up of 42 percent of households in Mexico.
In the study “Quantifying the middle class in Mexico”, Inegi explains that of this 42 percent of homes in which the middle class lives, 39 percent of the inhabitants of the national territory live.
These settle, for the most part, in urban areas, because according to the estimates of this Institute, 47 percent of the population and 50 percent of households correspond to the middle classes.
In rural areas, the proportion is reduced to 26 percent of the population and 28 percent of households.
To be considered as belonging to the class, parameters such as living in a house where there is a computer, spending about 5,000 pesos to eat out, using a credit card, and paying 1,660 pesos are considered, which the boss family has high school education, among other characteristics.
Among the people who make up the middle class are not only professionals, as López Obrador mentioned, but also merchants, small businessmen, bureaucrats, and other people who make up the formal labor sector.
Between 2000 and 2010, around 4 million people joined the middle classes. (Pre AMLO)
However, the national average for this class is lower than the average established by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
According to the report “Under pressure: the reduction of the middle class”, prepared by the OECD, on average 61 percent of the population included in the international organization is in this income group, while in Mexico it is 45 percent.
The middle class has been reduced due to the fact that it is increasingly difficult for young people to access it because while 70 percent of those born after the war, the so-called “Baby Boomers”, were part of the middle class were 20 years old, only 60 percent of Millennials belong to the middle-class today.
According to the OECD measurement, a person with a salary of 20 thousand pesos a month and with four people living at home belongs to the middle class, while a person who receives 7 thousand 500 pesos a month and shares a home with two people, It is in the lowest income category.
In absolute terms, 12.3 million households and 44 million people make up this social stratum in Mexico. The Inegi points out that three-quarters of both magnitudes are in urban areas.
Another characteristic of the middle class, according to Inegi, is that whoever is in charge of the family would have, at least, upper secondary education.
What elements determine who is middle class
The Inegi found, based on quantitative and qualitative elements such as variables around well-being, sociodemographic, income and expenses, among others, seven strata on living standards:
– Stratum 7: upper class
-Strata 6, 5, 4, 3: middle class
– Strata 2 and 1: lower class
If from the set of households that were classified as middle class in the study, one was selected at random, it is most likely that that household had the following characteristics:
– Have a computer
– Pay around 1,600 pesos to a credit card
– Spend 4,380 pesos quarterly on food outside the home
– The home is your own or is being paid for with family resources or social interest credit
– At least one member is salaried and works for a private company
– Children attend public school
– The head of the household would have at least upper middle school
– The head of the household is married
– Have four members
In the book Clasemediero , by journalists and writers Luis Rubio and Luis de la Calle, he points out as attributes of the middle class the search for means of improvement and social mobility; the possession of certain types of goods and interest in certain forms of culture and entertainment.
For her part, journalist Viri Ríos, in a text published for the New York Times titled No, you’re not middle class , mentions that 61% of the population in Mexico identifies as middle class, however, only 12% is. .
The journalist Viri Ríos assured that for a person to be considered middle class, they must earn, on average, 16,000 pesos per month.
“The reality is that 84 percent of the population does not have job security or a salary that allows them to meet the needs of their family, but they deny it. Denying reality prevents having concrete and clear political demands, ” says Ríos in the text.
It also indicates that to be middle class, a family of four should earn 64,000 pesos, that is, 16,000 pesos per member, and that is a salary level that only the richest 10% of Mexico earns.
” CONEVAL calculates that with 3,200 pesos a month a person can satisfy all their needs, something far from reality in many areas of the country,” he says.
According to the Social Development Index of Evalúa of Mexico City, to belong to the middle class you need to have sufficient income to meet the needs of education, health, sanitation services, drainage, telephone, social security, electricity, fuel, durable goods basic and do not work more than 48 hours a week. To satisfy this, a minimum of 16,000 pesos per person is needed, says the journalist.
Ríos assures that in this social stratum, there are only 15 million people in Mexico.