Monday, August 04, 2008


While Querétaro may not be the best place to live in Mexico - the standard of living is pretty high, though the standard of bars and Asian food is appalling - it's certainly not the worst. Which raises the question: what is the worst place to live in Mexico? Where is Mexico's Mississippi, where rising to #49 in the any quality of life index is cause for celebration? (Yes, we know South Dakota is shittier, but Mississippi is funnier.)

Thanks to the just-released United Nations Development Program's report on Mexico, we now know the answer to be Cochoapa el Grande, in the state of Guerrero. The report measures not just financial poverty but, as the press put it, "backwardness and social marginalization."

The average income in this town of 15,700 people is 25 pesos - about $2.30 - a day. 94% of households have no plumbing; 61% have no electricity; 58% lack running water, and 95% have dirt floors. 12,500 residents - mostly Mixtec indians - don't speak Spanish as their first language. 76% of the people over the age of 15 are illiterate and 98.63% have no access to medical care. (Stats like that always make us wonder where the other 1.37% get their medical care...) It case it's not clear just how much life in Cochoapa el Grande sucks, the UNDP equates the standard of living with that of Zambia.

Interestingly, Cochoapa el Grande is a relatively new town, having been formed in 2002 when the town of Metlatónoc, previously the Worst Town in Mexico, spun off its crappiest part into its own municipality. (The Mississippi analogy would be in Trent Lott and Dick Scruggs decided to form their own state. The rest of Mississippi would sink to #51, behind Guam.) Metlatónoc is now just the seventh-worst place to live in Mexico, a ringing testament to how much a town can accomplish just by further marginalizing its most-marginalized citizens.

(If you're keeping track of this stuff, the best place in Mexico, according to UNDP, is the Benito Juarez neighborhood of Mexico City. The report only deals with the best and worst, not with the vast middle, which is apparently where Querétaro falls. We're guessing it falls closer to the top than the bottom.)


Anonymous said...

If you and Laura moved there, you could significantly raise their stats.


Burro Hall said...

Ugh - have you ever been to Mississippi this time of year? No thanks...