Today's Mexico is very different from Mexico just a generation ago. The country has undergone a demographic shift in recent years, with more young Mexicans seeing better career opportunities and receiving college educations. In a recent New York Times article, Ivan Zamora, a young Mexican, shared how he moved back to Mexico after receiving a college degree in the U.S. to work as an engineering intern at a new Volkswagen maquiladora. The middle class is quickly becoming a driving force in the country, and it might be thanks to manufacturing activity in Mexico.
According to The New York Times article, Mexican demographics have shifted from laborers doing low-sophisticated work in one generation to another that values education, landing positions in highly-skilled industries. With more foreign manufacturers expanding to Mexico, there are increasing opportunities for younger Mexicans to receive the education they need to be successful in the country's growing manufacturing sector. Zamora explained that his parent's focus on ensuring he received an education instead of emigrating to the U.S. was only part of what led him to be successful; government investments in universities have also helped to create undergraduate and graduate technical degrees, which is encouraging young Mexicans to go on to school. These investments are also luring foreign companies to build plants in industrial clusters.
"There's just a lot more opportunity to study and to succeed," Zamora told The New York Times at the busy factory where he works. "Both my parents are teachers. They lived in an entirely different era."
A changing Mexico
The middle class has been on the rise in Mexico for some time. The "Mexico: A Middle Class Society" report by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars noted the middle class has always been a segment of Mexican society, but changing political preferences among the nation's population has recently shown how strong the middle class has become. As Mexico has become more of a democracy, the middle class has prospered.
According to The Washington Post, the report showed how Mexico is still adjusting to this shift in success. Mexicans are more likely to be driving their children to soccer practice than struggling to feed their families, the Post reported.
If Zamora's success is any indication, the manufacturing sector in Mexico is helping to drive this development and will help reverse the stereotypes among Canadians and Americans about Mexican society. Many foreign companies still believe Mexico is a country of poor workers, when the opposite is actually true.