Sunday, June 16, 2024

The United Kingdom vs Mexico in Numbers

It’s the matchup you didn’t know you were waiting for!

In the red, blue and white corner, we have the United Kingdom, a constitutional monarchy that is famous around the world for its Royal Family, its music, its literature, its vibrant capital and more.

Queen Elizabeth II on a state visit to Mexico
The U.K. meets Mexico: Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip welcome former president Enrique Peña Nieto and his wife Angélica Rivera on a state visit to the U.K. in 2015. (Gob MX)

And in the green, white and red corner we have Mexico, a republic like no other, with over 200 years of history as an independent country and millions of citizens whose ancestors have lived on this land for thousands of years.

That’s right, it’s the U.K. versus Mexico … in numbers!

In this article — which continues our “Global Mexico: U.K. in Focus” series — I look at data on things such as population, geography and economy in order to make some objective comparisons between the U.K. and Mexico. There are even some football (soccer) and beer stats for good measure.

Did you know that the U.K economy is almost twice the size of Mexico’s?

Did you know that both countries are among the world’s top 10 destinations for international tourists?

Read on to discover many other facts about the U.K. and Mexico in this latest “head-to-head” addition to our data journalism series “Mexico in Numbers.”

Population and demographics

According to the United Kingdom’s Office for National Statistics, the population of the U.K. was estimated to be 67.6 million in mid-2022. Over 80% of the U.K. population lives in England.

The population of the four nations that make up the U.K. — England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland — is just over half that of Mexico, where 126 million people were counted in the 2020 census.

Mexico is the world’s 10th most populous nation (just ahead of Ethiopia and behind Brazil), while the U.K ranks 21st.

On average, Brits (and the Northern Irish) are much older than Mexicans. The median age of the U.K. population was 40.7 in 2022, while the median age of Mexicans was 29 in 2020.

U.K. citizens are not only older, on average, than their Mexican counterparts, but live longer as well. Life expectancy at birth in the U.K. in 2020 to 2022 was 82.6 for females and 78.6 for males. The figures in Mexico in 2022 were 78.4 for women and 72.6 for men.

Area and other geographical data

In area, Mexico is around eight times larger than the U.K.

Mexico’s territory covers 1.96 million square kilometers, making it the 13th largest country in the world, while the area of the U.K. is 243,610 square kilometers, making it the world’s 78th largest country.

Map of European countries superimposed on Mexico
Mexico is about eight times larger than the United Kingdom in area, and as this map shows, many European countries (including the U.K.) could fit inside Mexico. (

Mexico’s largest state, Chihuahua, is almost 4,000 square kilometers bigger than the entire territory of the U.K.

Mexico also one-ups the U.K. in comparisons of the two countries’ largest lakes, highest mountains and longest rivers. The stats are as follows:

  • Lake Chapala in Jalisco has a surface area of 1,100 kilometers whereas Lough Neagh in Northern Ireland is less than half that size with a surface area of 392 square kilometers.
  • The peak of Pico de Orizaba, an active stratovolcano on the Veracruz-Puebla border, is 5,636 meters high whereas the summit of Ben Nevis in Scotland is considerably lower at 1,345 meters.
  • The Rio Grande, which runs along a significant stretch of the Mexico-United States border, is 3,051 kilometers long, almost nine times the length of the 354-kilometer-long River Severn, which runs through Wales and England.

Britons in Mexico, Mexicans in the UK

Mexico’s 2020 census found that there were 2,582 immigrants from the United Kingdom living in Mexico. Almost 70% of that number were aged 39 or younger. Mexico City had the highest number of immigrants from the U.K. followed by Querétaro and Nuevo León.

Britons have lived in these lands for a very long time – since before Mexico was Mexico, in fact. Scotsman Thomas Blake lived in Mexico City during the early colonial days of New Spain. He worked as a hosier and in 1544 married Francisca de Ribera, widow of the conquistador Cristóbal de Canyego, according to the Scottish Centre for Global History.

According to the Institute for Mexicans Abroad, a government agency, 18,000 Mexicans were living in the United Kingdom in 2022.

Among the current Mexico residents of the U.K are Premier League players Raúl Jiménez and Edson Álvarez.


Mexico became the the 12th largest economy in the world in 2023, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), while the U.K. ranked sixth.

The IMF estimates that the nominal GDP of the U.K. was US $3.34 trillion last year, making the British economy about 1.86 times the size of the Mexican economy. Mexico’s nominal GDP was $1.79 trillion in 2023, according to the IMF.

Wealth, as measured on a per-person basis, is four times higher in the United Kingdom.

Per-capita GDP in the U.K. was US $46,125 in 2022, according to the World Bank, while the figure for Mexico was $11,496.

Mexico’s economy grew 3.2% last year while the U.K. economy was at a virtual standstill, expanding just 0.1% compared to 2022.

In a report published last week, the IMF forecast that the Mexican economy would grow 2.4% this year and that the U.K.’s GDP would increase 0.5%.

International tourist numbers 

Buckingham Palace or the Palace of Fine Arts? Stonehenge or Chichén Itzá? Loch Ness or Lake Chapala? Brighton or Cancún?

They are some hypothetical choices a person might face if trying to decide whether to take a trip to the United Kingdom or Mexico.

While both countries are undoubtedly interesting and alluring tourism destinations, data shows that more international tourists are visiting Mexico than the U.K., although the numbers are not too dissimilar.

Chichén Itzá temple and Stonehenge
Both Mexico and the U.K. are known for their rich cultural and historical offerings for tourists, such as Chichén Itźa (left) and Stonehenge (right). (Wikimedia Commons)

Mexico was the sixth most popular destination for international tourists in 2022 with 38.3 million arrivals while the United Kingdom was one spot behind in seventh place with 31.2 million arrivals.

In 2023, international tourist arrivals increased 10% in Mexico to reach 42.1 million. Final data for the U.K. has not yet been published, but the tourism board Visit Britain estimated late last year that international tourist numbers would total 37.8 million in 2023.

England vs Mexico in football 

Football is popular all over the U.K., but England has been the most successful among the four constituent nations at international events. It is also home to the world’s most lucrative football league.

England v Mexico 8-0 1961

Here’s a look at England vs Mexico across a range of football stats.

  • Men’s international matches: England has recorded six victories (including a win at the 1966 World Cup) to Mexico’s two. One match ended in a tie.
  • World Cup results: England won the 1966 World Cup at home and made the semi-finals in 1990 in Italy and in 2018 in Russia. Mexico’s best result is reaching the quarter finals twice, at home in 1970, and at home again in 1986.
  • Women’s World Cup: England has competed at six of the nine women’s World Cup events and was runner-up in the 2023 edition. Mexico has played in three, but has never gone past the group stage.
  • English Premier League (EPL) and Liga MX: Twenty clubs play in the EPL while 18 compete in Mexico’s top professional division. The highest paid player in the EPL is currently Manchester City player Kevin de Bruyne, a Belgian who has a base salary of £ 20.8 million ($25.9 million). Spaniard Sergio Canales, a midfielder for C.F. Monterrey, is reportedly the highest paid Liga MX player, earning US $5 million per season. A total of 11 Mexican players have graced the EPL since its inception in 1992.

Beer production and consumption 

Mexico is a much bigger beer producer than the United Kingdom, and Mexicans also drink more suds than the British.

According to the 2022-23 report of hops company BarthHaas, Mexico was the world’s fourth largest beer producer in 2022 with a total output of 141 million hectoliters.

The U.K. ranked 11th with a total output of 37.4 million hectoliters, or just over a quarter of Mexico’s production.

As for beer drinking, Mexico ranks above the U.K. for both total and per-capita consumption, according to Kirin’s latest Global Beer Consumption Report.

Mexico and UK beer production and consumption chart
Mexico wins the drinking contest with the U.K. – and also produces significantly more beer than Britain. (MND)

The Japanese beverages company reported that Mexico ranked fourth for total beer consumption in 2022 behind China, the United States and Brazil, while the United Kingdom ranked eighth. Mexico had a 5.2% share of the global market for beer in 2022, 2.8 points ahead of the U.K.’s 2.4% share.

On a per-capita basis, Mexico was the 19th largest beer consumer in 2022, with the average person drinking 75.9 liters of cerveza that year. That equates to around four bottles or cans of beer per person per week.

Britons, meanwhile, were more temperate in their consumption of lager and ale, drinking 67 liters per person in 2022. The U.K. ranked as the world’s 27th largest beer consumer on a per-capita basis.

At the top of the list was the Czech Republic, which Kirin said was the world’s largest per-capita beer consumer for a 30th consecutive year in 2022. Ranking second to 10th were Austria, Poland, Ireland, Lithuania, Spain, Germany, Estonia, Romania and Namibia.

By Mexico News Daily chief staff writer Peter Davies ([email protected])


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