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Most Americans Still View Mexico Negatively

Border violence is decreasing. The Latino population is gaining more influence in American politics. And as we’ve covered in our NAFTA series, some six million jobs depend in some way on trade with Mexico. However, most Americans still view Mexico negatively.

A new survey released by consulting firm Vianovo polled 1,000 adults about their attitudes toward the country. The results are not flattering:

Question: How safe or unsafe would you feel about traveling to each one on vacation or for business?

Among the respondents 72 percent thought Mexico was unsafe for travel. Border cities had the highest concentration of worry, with 73 percent believing it was unsafe. Cancun was perceived to be safest at 32 percent.

Question: Thinking about Mexico, what are three words that come to mind?

Credit: Vianovo

Question: Which is closer to your view of Mexico’s current relationship with the U.S.?

14% = Mexico is a good neighbor and partner for the U.S.

59% = Mexico is a source of problems for the U.S.

27% = Don’t know enough

Question: Below is a list of statements about Mexico. Please indicate whether you agree or disagree with each statement (Respondents were able to strongly or somewhat agree/disagree – results have been collapsed):

Credit: Vianovo

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Avatar for user 'scottintj'

scottintj | December 8, 2012 at 6:09 p.m. ― 4 years, 3 months ago

As an expatriate resident of Tijuana, I am fully aware of the opinions of most Americans regarding Mexico in general and Tijuana in particular. I've lived here for nearly two years in the Playas de Tijuana neighborhood and I can honestly say that I feel much safer here than I did living in Golden Hill. During my five years in Golden Hill there were two shootings on my block and constant vandalism. I now live in a beachfront condominium where the women in my neighborhood feel safe going jogging alone up to one hour after sunset. My biggest frustration living here is the fact that my American friends in San Diego are all too fearful to visit me in my new home, even for a few hours.

Hopefully this will provide some perspective. Tijuana is about the same size as Philadelphia and New Orleans. The crime rate is also about the same as both of those cities. As far as I know, there is no US government travel warning for either of those cities. There are parts of Mexico that are probably too dangerous to visit but the Baja California peninsula is not one of them. About 15% of Mexico's population lives in areas that are currently experiencing high crime rates. The rest of the country is less dangerous than most of the Caribbean islands, including Puerto Rico, a US territory. Mexico's current homicide rate is approximately 23 per 100,000. Admittedly this varies greatly by location. The homicide rate for the island of Puerto Rico is 27 per 100,000 and for Jamaica is 40 per 100,000. Most of the popular tourist destinations in the Carribean are in the high 20's to mid 30's per 100,000. One of the great advantages to living in the border region of San Diego/Tijuana is the fact that both are culturally vibrant, alive cities. People in Tijuana generally understand this. San Diegans are the ones losing out by refusing to learn about their neighbor in person.

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