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About the Border Region

The United States and Mexico are two countries with different health systems, who share populations and many health issues. Both countries may be viewed as a single epidemiologic region, especially the geographic area where both countries meet: the United States-Mexico border region.

US Mexico border region

The United States-Mexico border region (shaded) is defined by the La Paz Agreement [PDF – 22 pages] as the area of land that stretches 100 km (62.5 miles) to the north and south of the international border. It contains 80 municipalities in six Mexican states and 48 counties in four U.S. states. Map credit: Kevin Liske, CDC.

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Cars crossing the United States-Mexico land border

View from pedestrian walkway of cars crossing the United States-Mexico land border. Photo credit: Maureen Fonseca-Ford, CDC



Interesting Facts

  • Mexico is the most populous Spanish-speaking country in the world.
  • The United States-Mexico land border is the busiest international land frontier in the world.
  • Thirty percent of immigrants living in the United States are from Mexico. This is the largest group from any country, with approximately 65,000 legal permanent residents admitted annually.
  • Each year, tens of thousands of Mexican-born immigrants come temporarily to the United States legally to work or study (196,000 and 86,000 in 2009, respectively).
  • Mexico is the top country of origin of international travelers visiting the United States (19% of the total).
  • Mexico is the top destination for U.S. residents traveling internationally (31.7% of all travel).
map of US - Mexico population

Map of the percentage of the U.S. population born in Mexico, based on U.S. Census and American Community Survey data from 2006 to 2010. Map credit: Ginny Lee, CDC.

Data for map of the percentage of the U.S. population born in Mexico [XLSX – 173 KB]

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