I have lived in Trumbull, Connecticut my entire life, and up until high school I did not realize how sheltered I was growing up in Fairfield County. In high school I began to learn a little more about the world and other countries although until this course I have barely looked into other countries cultures and how they live compared to us. Looking at the different barometers has been very fascinating and enjoyable. I chose Latin America because of how close it is to the United States, I thought it would be interesting to compare and contrast.
Once I picked the Latin American Barometer I decided to focus mainly on Mexico. I first looked at the education statistics. Out of 1,200 people looked at, the highest percentage was 23% completing 9 years of school. Only 114% completed 12 years of school and 9.2% completed college. The most shocking part was that the fifth highest percentage, out of 17 total percentages was 8% having no education at all (Smith 2013). In the United States the total school life expectancy for school is 17 years (Central Intelligence Agency 2014) and today it is rare to see anyone with no education at all considering the plethora of opportunities provided to receive an education and not to mention how valuable an education is for you to succeed in life.
After looking through education I decided to look at language because after looking through education statistics I thought about how I used to take foreign language classes In the United States we are such a mix of ethnicities and languages.
82.1% speak English, then 10.7% speak Spanish, 38% speak a European language, and 34% speak other languages (Central Intelligence Agency 2014). This information did not surprise me at all. Then looking at Mexico it said 92.7% speak only Spanish, 57% Spanish and indigenous languages, 08% only indigenous and 0.8% are unspecified (Central Intelligence Agency 2014). Although I knew that Spanish was going to be a high percentage for Mexico I am surprised to see English is not even listed considering Spanish is the second most spoken language in the United States. I guess I just have to remember that unlike the United States other countries typically have people emigrating instead of immigrating.
I am sure that having almost everyone speak the same language provides minimal language barriers when it comes to education and learning in Mexico However, i do think that it is beneficial growing up in the United States because it allows us to become bilingual and experience diversity. While the list for differences between the United States and Mexico can go on and on, finding similarities was pretty difficult With that being said I did find some. One was the division of social classes. The percentage for each class was similar, The high-class percentage was the smallest for both countries, 08% for Mexico (Smith 2013) and 3% for the United States (The Class Structure in the US. 2015), Although Mexico’s data does not add up to 100% because they have a total of 15% for the categories “no answer“ and “don‘t know,“ the middle and lower class percentages are nearly the same for both countries, Mexico’s middle class is 397%, its lower class is 58.1% and the United States middle class is 40% and its lower class is 57%.
Although it is not guaranteed that everyone with the same socioeconomic status has the same academic results, often times certain classes do not have the same educational opportunities as others. Schools in low income communities tend to not have certain resources that schools in high income communities have such as computers, books, tutors and the best qualified teachers. It has been said that children from a low socioeconomic status develop academic skills more slowly due to the negative affects of their home environment’s low literacy and chronic stress. Also, the drop out rate is typically higher in low-income families compared to high-income families. Another similarity I found was both countries education expenditures. Mexico‘s is 5.1%, which is 72 in country comparison to the world and the United States is 5.4% at 63 in country comparison to the world.
They are not far away from each other at all, which I found interesting because of the difference in school life expectancy I had mentioned earlieri Obviously education expenditures have a big impact on the education experience. It is how much a country is spending on education related funds. The more that is spent the more opportunities students have for a better education Overall I have noticed that Mexico and the United States have a plethora of differences with few similar statistics This assignment has made me more aware but I will never truly understand how different they are unless I personally experience growing up or living in Mexico. I really enjoy comparing countries to the United States and I look forward to continuing my research and learning about different countries around the world.