10 Most Populated Cities in Mexico (with Pictures)
Mexico is the third-largest Latin American country after Brazil and Argentina. It is the 13th largest in terms of area and the 10th most populous country in the world. An interesting fact about the country is that it has more Spanish speakers than Spain, to which the language originally belongs.
Mexico consists of 31 states and one “federal entity,” Mexico City, which isn’t formally a state yet. The states are further categorized into municipalities, considering the increasing population in the country. According to the United Nations, about 127.5 million people are living in Mexico as of July 2022.
If you’re planning to experience the busy life in Mexico, here are the 10 most populated cities in the country that you shouldn’t miss out on.
The 10 Most Populated Cities in Mexico
1. Mexico City
As the capital city of Mexico, Mexico City is the only federal entity of the country. It is also the biggest and most populous city in Mexico. Because of their similar names, many people confuse both the country and its capital with each other.
However, there is a historical reason behind it. When the Spanish took over Mexico City, it was the center of the Aztec Empire (also called the Mexica Empire). It was established as “Mexico Tenochtitlan” in 1325 and later became “Mexico City.”
The city is situated inside the Mexico Valley, consisting of hills, volcanoes, and mountains and surrounded by Lake Texcoco. Currently, the city hosts about 22 million people, which is impressive!
Guadalajara is the capital of the state of Jalisco, situated in Mexico’s central-western region. The city has a rich cultural and agricultural history. Until the 19th century, Guadalajara was the central hub for farming. Till today, most of its industries focus on alcohol and food manufacturing.
With a population of 5.3 million, the city stands way behind Mexico City. But when it comes to the traditional Mexican delicacies, Guadalajara outclasses every other city on this list.
On your visit to the city, you’ll find delicious lamb or goat meat stew with rice, vegetable salad, and peppers called Birria. If you’re a fan of sandwiches and tacos, the city is heaven for you. It has a fantastic spicy baguette sandwich called torta ahogada and special tacos called tacos de barbacoa.
Monterrey is famous as the second-richest Mexican city after Mexico City. Since it’s located near the Mexico-US border, it’s the primary gateway for businessmen to travel between Northwestern Mexico and the Eastern Atlantic coast.
It is also highly populated, with 5 million people living in the city as permanent residents. Not only that, but it is also a great place to spend your vacations.
Monterrey is also the favorite spot for tourists in Nuevo León because of its warm weather. The average temperature in the city stays around 22.3 degrees Celsius and only drops below 20 degrees Celsius. That’s the time around November to January. The city also receives very light rain all year.
4. Puebla City
Puebla City is another populous city located near Mexico City. Its population has been skyrocketing over the past few years and now reached 3.3 million, including the city’s metro area. Like its neighbor, Puebla City also has a historical background that dates back to 1530.
The city was founded to stabilize the Spanish colony in the Veracruz port and Mexico City. A Spanish bishop, Julian Garces, especially contacted the Queen of Spain to establish Puebla City as a settlement between the two regions in 1530.
Puebla City is also famous for producing some professional footballers and coaches. The city also has many antique places and delicious food to enjoy.
5. Ecatepec de Morelos
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The name of the city originates from the indigenous Nahuatl language. The word “Ecatepec” refers to “windy hill.” Ecatepec de Morelos is located near the Northern borders of Mexico City, with a population of about 2 million.
The city is connected to the Mexico City metro, making the city a popular place for business tycoons and individuals to come, rent, and live. The commute here is quick, and the property, rent, and living costs are relatively cheaper than in Mexico City.
Ecatepec also has a range of markets filled with affordable locally produced goods. That means you can easily find high-quality clothing and souvenirs from traders at low prices.
Tijuana is another city near the Mexico-US border, a little below California. The unique part about the city is that it is officially the most-toured border city worldwide. It’s estimated that around 50 million people visit Tijuana every year. Besides, 2.2 million residents already live there.
Tijuana doesn’t have a historic background compared to other populous cities on this list. Instead, it’s a newly founded city, formed in 1889 when several towns joined together.
The territory was undiscovered till the end of the American Mexican War. When the borders were redrawn between the two countries, Tijuana became a popular destination for nightlife, casinos, and gambling parlors. All these hotspots invite many people from the US, Mexico, and nearby places.
León is the capital of Guanajuato, hosting about 2 million people from the adjacent territories. If you’re in the leather business, you must have heard about León. The city caters to many local companies producing clothing items like jackets, shoes, and belts. The leather material is of high-quality in all over the world.
The city is also famous for being one of Mexico’s most environmentally friendly cities. One prominent feature of León is the multiple cycling lanes built across the city. It also has many open green spaces popular among tourists and locals, including the León Zoo.
If you’re a science freak, visit the Explora Science Center and enjoy interactive exhibits. You can also witness the country’s modern and historic art museums, primarily the Museum of Art and History.
8. Ciudad Juárez
Another city situated on the Mexico-US border, Ciudad Juárez, is one of Mexico’s rapidly growing industrial areas. The city is on the Rio Grande River, close to the Texas City of El Paso.
Over the years, many car-manufacturing companies relocated to the country from the US to benefit from low wages. These growth opportunities have significantly raised Ciudad Juárez’s population, which is now 1.56 million.
Tourists love the city’s transportation links connecting Mexico to the US through four bridges, passing over the Rio Grande River. As a result, visitors can easily travel to and from Ciudad Juárez to the US.
The famous attractions in the city remind us of the Mexican Revolution of the 19th century. The list consists of the Cathedral of Ciudad Juárez, the Museum of Revolution, and a modern art museum called Tumbleweed Interactive Space.
Named after the Virgin of Zapopan, the city of Zapopan holds significant importance for the Catholics. Pope John Paul II also recognized the city. You may also know Zapopan as “Villa Exmaicera,” meaning “ex-corn village,” since it is Mexico’s largest corn producer.
Zapopan is a historic city founded in the 12th century after the mass migration of many indigenous tribes. When the Spanish discovered the city, it had a population of tens of thousands. Now, the city is home to 1.4 million people.
The most prominent landmarks in Zapopan include the Basilica of Our Lady of Zapopan (a religious attraction) and Estadio Akron (a modern football stadium in Mexico).
10. Ciudad Nezahualcóyotl
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The final city in our top 10 most populated cities in Mexico list is Ciudad Nezahualcóyotl. The city is built on an area that was drained by Lake Texcoco, one of the largest Mexican lakes in the country’s center.
Ciudad Nezahualcóyotl is firmly connected to New York, which is why its culture differs from other Mexican cities. It’s believed that around 300,000 Mexicans from this city currently live in New York, and these people are strongly connected to their place of birth. That’s the main reason the culture of Ciudad Nezahualcóyotl and certain US cities continue strongly influence each other.
Aside from the North-American connection, Ciudad Nezahualcóyotl also includes traces of the culture of Aztec tribes living in the city before the Spanish arrived. All these influences make the overall vibe of the city very diverse.
The city is also home to various popular landmarks, such as the El Tepeyac National Park and Sierra De Santa Catarina (a mountain that overlooks Ciudad Nezahualcóyotl and Mexico City).
Mexico is one of Latin America’s biggest and most diverse countries. It consists of many populous cities with populations of over a million people. Undoubtedly, Mexico City is the crown for being the most populated city in Mexico. It is followed by Guadalajara, Monterrey, Puebla City, and others.
All the cities we listed above are not only large but filled with diverse cultures, rich history, and delicious delicacies. So don’t forget to check out these cities on your next trip to Mexico!
Featured Image Credit: darkside-550, Pixabay