People in Mexcio have a relative and a wide view of what should constitute a minimum standard of living, going beyond the basics of life.

In 2007, the government EDUMP survey asked about people's views on what is neceesary for life in Mexico today. The survey covered a wide range of items relating to social and public services and durables in the dwelling. Respondents were asked whether they thought the item 'very necessary', 'necessary', 'unnecessary', 'very unnecessary', 'neither necessary or unnecessary', or 'do not know'. The table below shows the percentages thinking an item is 'very necessary' or 'necessary'. Those who thought the item 'neither necessary or unnecessary', or 'do not know' represented about 2% of the ansers and were excluded from the analysis.

Items seen as 'very necessary' or 'necessary', Mexico, 2007

Mexico views on necsssities

Item Percentage seeing item as 'very necessary' or 'necessary'
To have a fridge 94%
To have a pension for old age 93%
To have life insurance 87%
To have a tv 87%
To have telephone 86%
To be entitled for a housing credit granted by public institution 85%
To have retirement savings, system of retirement savings 84%
To have a boiler or water heater 73%
To be entiteld to a nursery or day care centre for child 69%
To go for walks at least once a month 60%
To have a computer 61%
To have fan 55%
To celebrate people's birthday 47%
To have a microwave 47%
To have a dvd player 41%
To have a heating system 32%
To have time for going out with friends 30%
To have climate air conditioning 30%

Source: Yedith Betzabé Guillén Fernández PhD thesis on 'Multidimensional poverty measurement form a relative deprivation approach - a comparison between the United Kingdom and Mexico', 2017, (Unversity of Bristol).

The table shows that, over 80% of people consider the following items to be necessities: a fridge, a TV, a telephone; and essential services, such as: a pension for old age, life insurance, and entitlement to housing credit granted by public institution and enrolment in a retirement savings system or AFORE (Retirement Fund Management). Those items that received the support of between 50% and 70% of respondents were: a fan, a computer, a boiler or water heater, to go for walks away from home at least once a month and nursery care for young children. 
However, less than half of the Mexican population considers the following items to be essential; celebrating birthdays, a microwave, DVD Player, a heating system, going out with friends and `air conditioning. A total of 12 items out of 18 were considered by a majority of respondents (over 50%) to be essential.

Comparing the views of men and women and of those household who felt they had enough and those who felt they did not have enough, Fernández found that there was a high degree of consensus as to what was necessary.  Men and women and richer and poorer housholds agreed as to what were the necessities of life.

Read more in: 'Multidimensional poverty measurement from a relative deprivation approach - a comparison between the United Kingdom and Mexico', Yedith Betzabé Guillén Fernández PhD thesis, Unversity of Bristol, 2017.

Further resource

A presentation on poverty measurement in Mexico was made by Julio Boltvinik, Professor at El Colegio de México, at the Second Peter Townsend Memorial Conference, 'Measuring Poverty: The State of the Art', in 2011.


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