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World bank, 2020
Poverty headcount ratio at $6.85 a day (2017 PPP) (% of population)
Population below international poverty line

Varies per region.

National minimum wage

Equivalent to 13,117 Mexican pesos per worker per month (Michoacán region).
Global Living Wage Coalition, 2022

per month
Rural living wage
World bank, 2019
Employment in agriculture (% of total employment) (modeled ILO estimate)
Agricultural workforce
World bank, 2021
Agriculture, forestry, and fishing, value added (% of GDP)
Agriculture share of GDP

ITUC Global Rights Index, 2022
Regular violation of rights.

Risk to workers' rights


Mexico’s population is roughly 129 million.[1] The country is highly urbanized, with 81% of its population living in cities[2] and only 19% inhabiting rural areas.[3] The agricultural sector employs 12% of the workforce[4] and represents 3% of the national GDP.[5]

Although Mexico is considered the second largest economy in Latin America, it is characterised by severe rural poverty and social inequalities. These issues are especially relevant to indigenous peoples who represent the majority of the rural population. The Mexican agricultural sector faces significant problems, including degraded natural capital and poor rural development mechanisms, which lead to low productivity, insufficient incomes, and poor living conditions for farmers. In addition, products that create key markets for smallholder farmers, like coffee and white corn, are highly vulnerable to climate impacts.[6]

The top produced commodities in Mexico are sugar cane, maize, cow milk, oranges and sorghum.[7] Mexico’s top export of agri-food commodities in terms of quantity are beer of barley, tomatoes, avocados, chilies and peppers and raw sugar.[8]

  1. ^ World Bank (2020).
  2. ^ World Bank (2020).
  3. ^ World Bank (2020).
  4. ^ World Bank (2020).
  5. ^ World Bank (2019).
  6. ^ IFAD. Countries: Mexico.
  7. ^ FAOSTAT (2020).
  8. ^ FAOSTAT (2020).


Minimum wage

The minimum wage in Mexico varies greatly per sector, and differs between Mexico’s free trade zone and the rest of the country.[1] In any case, the minimum wage remains way too low, even below the World Bank poverty line. In all sectors employees use the “hours-bank” method, increasing or decreasing the workhours of employees depending on the workload, to avoid paying overtime. Tax evasion and avoidance of social security payments to workers is also common by companies which employ workers informally. Conditions are especially bad in the agricultural sector, where employers often pay workers based on certain harvest quotas instead of paying them per week as mandated by law. In this sector, cases of modern slavery and wage withholding persist. There are farms where employers prohibit workers to leave the farms premises until the end of the harvest season, refuse to pay wages and even make violent threats.[2]

  1. ^ Wage Indicator Foundation (2022). Minimum Wage-Mexico.
  2. ^ U.S. Department of State. 2019 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Mexico.

Living wage

The Global Living Wage Coalition has developed 3 Living Wage Benchmarks based on the Anker methodology, 1 for the non-metropolitan urban and rural areas of the Michoacán region in Mexico, next to 2 studies comprising different regions of Baja California: Municipality of San Quintín and Municipality of Ensenada. 

The estimated living wage in the northwest of Michoacán, Mexico, for a family of 4 with 1.63 workers is 13,117 Mexican pesos (564 EUR) per month. This is the wage required for workers in the Michoacán region to afford a basic but decent standard of living. Agriculture is a key economic activity for the region. This region is one of the most important for the agricultural production of many basic commodities such as avocado, strawberry, berries, sugar and corn. .[1]

The living wage for Baja California has been estimated in two municipalities, Ensenada and San Quintín. Ensenada is a predominantly urban municipality, while San Quintín is mainly rural and with small towns. Because of that, in Ensenada, the estimated living wage is MXN 17,849 (767 EUR) per month, while for San Quintín, the value is 16,820 Mexican Pesos (723 EUR) per month for a family of 4 with 1.71 and 1.69, respectively[2]. Baja California is the number one national producer of onions and flowers; the second national producer of red tomato, strawberry and cotton; and comes third in the production of raspberries, grapes and asparagus. Even so, agriculture's contribution to the national economy is not reflected in the majority of workers' wages.[3] 

  1. ^ Global Living Wage Coalition (2022). Anker Living Wage Reference Value: Michoacan, Mexico-Non-metropolitan Urban and Rural Northwestern Regions 2020.
  2. ^ Global Living Wage Coalition (2022). Living Wage for Baja California, Mexico. Municipality of San Quintín.
  3. ^ Global Living Wage Coalition (2022). Anker Living Wage Reference Value: Baja California, Mexico 2021.

What's happening


Living Wage Benchmark, Baja California, Mexico

Living wage estimate for workers to be able to afforc a basic but decent living standard in the municipalities of Enseada and San Quintín, Baja California, Mexico. 


Living Wage Benchmark, non-metropolitan Michoacán, Mexico

Living wage estimate for workers to be able to afford a basic but decent standard of living in the Michoacán region of Mexico.


Fairtrade Coffee Impact in Mexico, Indonesia, Peru and Tanzania

This report explores how and to what extent small coffee farmers benefit from Fairtrade with a focus on price and income.


Small Producer Organization Development:A 6 country study

This research identifies the conditions to develop and strengthen small producer organizations in Mexico, Ivory Coast, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Peru.

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