A leading source for news and analysis about Mexico and the U.S.-Mexican border.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Story outlines how Mexico's third-largest city
may get into the big leagues of soccer

Tijuana's population passed that of Guadalajara and Puebla in the last decade;
its metropolitan area still is smaller, however, and ranks sixth nationwide

Table below shows population of top cities, metropolitan areas

Mark Zeigler of the San Diego Union-Tribune has a good front-page story Saturday about how the Tijuana Xolos soccer team may advance to the first, or primera, division. The story was entitled, "Tijuana rehabilitates image with soccer team." More on the Xolos.

However, he does write: "Recent census figures rank Tijuana as Mexico's third-largest municipality, passing Guadalajara, Monterrey, Ciudad Juarez, Puebla and Leon — all of which have had representatives in the 18-team Primera Division or still do." In fact, Tijuana in the 2010 census passed only Guadalajara and Puebla, as the below table shows. Tijuana did defeat León, however, to get to the point where if the Xolos beat Irapuato, they will advance to the first division. Irapuato's population went from 440,134 in 2000 to 529,440 in 2010. Both León and Irapuato are in Guanajuato state.
Update: Xolos won and now are in top division.

Tijuana also trails Mexico City, Guadalajara, Monterrey, Puebla and Toluca in terms of metropolitan area population.

Mexico's largest cities

2010 Rank City 2010 Population 2000
2000 Rank

Increase/ Decrease

Metro area size 2010 Metro area rank*
1 Federal District 8,851,080 8,605,239 1 +245,841 Mexico City 20,137,152 1
2 Ecatepec, Mexico state 1,665,015 1,622,697 2 + 42,318 see Mexico City, above see above
3 Tijuana 1,559,683 1,210,820 5 +348,863 1,751,302 6
4 Puebla 1,539,819 1,346,916 4 +192,903 2,668,347 4
5 Guadalajara 1,495,189 1,646,319 3 -151,130 4,434,252 2
6 León 1,436,480 1,134,842 6 +301,638 1,609,717 7
7 Juárez 1,332,131 1,072,554 8 +259,577 1,332,131 8
8 Monterrey 1,135,550 1,110,909 7 + 24,641 4,080,329 3
* Toluca is the 5th biggest metropolitan area with 1,846,602. Its city population is 819,561. 
— Data from INEGI and Geo-Mexico.


Why is Guadalajara's population shrinking? Its metropolitan area actually is growing, increasing from 3.7 million in 2000 to 4.4 million in 2010, according to Geo-Mexico. Geo-Mexico said the decline has to do in part with suburbanization and what it called counter-urbanization. It also may have to do in part with the reduction in the average number of people living per household in many parts of Mexico. Tijuana's, for example, dropped from 4.4 in 1990 to 3.6 in 2010.

Mexicali ranks as the 13th-largest metropolitan area with a population of 936,145.