Education Stats: Mexico vs. US Education Stats

Although Mexico invests a lot in education, especially at a tertiary level, it’s still far beyond the United States. Thanks to a stronger economy, the US offers better salaries and worker conditions. It’s why many Mexicans look to move out of the country, especially if they have higher education. Here are the crucial stats on both countries’ education systems and levels!

Top 10 Mexican Education Stats & Facts

  1. Mexico uses a 6-3-3 system to divide the schooling years, which is different than the 5-3-4 approach in the US.

  2. It’s compulsory to attend the first nine grades of schooling in Mexico.

  3. Only 45% of Mexicans finish high school.

  4. The literacy rate is above 95%.

  5. Mexico invests 46% of per capita GDP in higher education.

  6. 23% of young adults from 25 to 34 years old had tertiary education in 2018.

  7. Many high schools have active partnerships with specific public and private universities.

  8. 34% of women aged 15 to 29 are unemployed and not in education, compared to only 10% of men.

  9. The median yearly salary in Mexico is USD16,610.

  10. Starting wages for a university degree are eight times lower than in the USA.

General Mexican Education Stats

Mexico has a K-12 division system that covers primary, middle, and secondary schools. However, it’s only compulsory to complete the first two levels. For the last three years, Mexican could choose a high school or a vocational school. Here’s how that affects general education!

The Literacy Rate Is Above 95%

Although the reports vary, most sources agree that the literacy rate in Mexico is high. Some put it at over 95% in 2017 but indicate it hasn’t changed for more than 1% compared to five years before that.

Mexican literacy is at a high level compared to the rest of the world. But it’s still lower than in the United States, which has a 99% literacy rate.

( Macrotrends )

Mexico Invests 46% of Per Capita GDP in Higher Education

The authorities recognized the importance of higher education, so they’ve been investing 46% of per capita GDP into this area. It’s above average, especially when compared to countries that belong to OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development).

The problem is, however, that Mexico only invests 15% of per capita GDP in elementary school children. It’s similar for high school students, which get 17% of per capita FDP.


Mexico Education Level Stats

According to UNESCO, the net enrolment rate for pre-primary education is below 70% for both males and females. Despite that, the literacy rate is high, and overall education levels are improving.

Tertiary Education Increased to 23% Among Young Adults in 2018

In 2018, 23% of young adults from 25 to 34 years old had tertiary education. That’s a huge step forward compared to only 16% in 2008. However, the OECD country average is 44%, and Mexico is far beyond that number. Distant learning, better geographical coverage, and more institutions available could lead to the country increasing the number of adults with tertiary education.

( OECD )

34% of Women from 15 to 29 Years old Aren’t Employed or in Education

The statistic is discouraging for females from 15 to 29 years old since 34% of women in that group aren’t employed or in education. By comparison, only 10% of men from this age group are in the same situation.

In this group, 52% of men are employed, but the same is true for only 31% of women. It’s encouraging to see similar levels of both genders in education. About 38% of all men and 35% of women from 15 to 29 years are currently in the process of getting their degrees.


US vs. Mexico Education Stats

The United States is not only the leading world economy, but it also offers an excellent education system. Here are some crucial comparisons between Mexico and the USA.

75% of American Students Finish High School, and Only 62% of Mexicans Even Reach It

The reports show that three out of four Americans receive a high school diploma. But in Mexico, that number drops to 45%.

Only 62% of Mexicans even choose to attend high school. Since it’s not compulsory, the others choose vocational schools or start working immediately.


Starting Wages After Getting a University Degree Are Eight Times Higher in the USA

The most common starting wage for university graduates in Mexico is up to MXN8,000 monthly. That’s about USD500, and graduate degrees in the USA can expect above USD4,000. Even if you consider the higher cost of living, wages are much more impressive in the USA. It’s why many Mexicans look to move out of the country.

( Statista )

The success of Education in Mexico

The average annual wage in Mexico was USD16,610 in 2021. Here are some statistics that indicate whether education levels can affect your employment chances and salary levels!

Tertiary Education Gives You Better Employment Chances in Mexico

81% of Mexican adults between 25 and 34 years old with tertiary education have a job. The rate is higher compared to below upper (66%) and upper secondary education (71%). Interestingly, the employment rate among adults with short-cycle tertiary programs is only 79%.

( OECD )

Masters in Science Have an Average Wage Set at USD85,000

If you get a masters in Science degree in Mexico, you could earn USD 85,000 annually. It’s the highest salary for graduates and alumni. Executive MBAs have USD 58,000 annually on average, while an LLM degree has an average set at USD 29,000 annually.

The median yearly salary in Mexico is USD 16,610. That means you can expect over six times better wages with advanced degrees.

( Emolument )


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Mehdi Punjwani
Mehdi Punjwani
Mehdi is a writer and editor with over five years of experience in personal finance, writing for brands including MoneySuperMarket, Equifax and The AA. He graduated from Brunel University with a BA and MA, and likes to spend his free time hiking, travelling, and reading.