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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 October, 2004, 09:50 GMT 10:50 UK
Mexico has 'giant wealth divide'
The historic centre of Mexico City
Mexico City has a population of more than 20 million people
Mexico has some of the highest and the lowest standards of living in the world, a United Nations report has found.

Some parts of Mexico City could be compared to Spanish or German cities, the study found, but other parts were more like the poorest parts of Africa.

The UN Development Programme study found that more needed to be done to close the nation's wealth gap.

It added that a lot had already been done to reduce the sharp divide.

Us and them

"Because of the advances of the last 50 years, Mexico has tackled the goal of reducing the gap between its communities, especially in the (larger) municipalities," said UN representative to Mexico Thierry Lemaresquier.

However, the report made clear that more needed to be done.

Using the UN Human Development Index, the report rated 2,426 major Mexican cities and towns based on the life expectancy of their residents, available education programmes per capita and the level of capital investment that flows into the areas.

The wealthiest zones of Mexico City and the industrial hub of Monterrey in the north could be compared to rich European cities, but other parts of the capital and rural areas in the south of the country could have been in Africa, the report found.

The town of Metlatonoc, in the southern state of Guerrero, was found to be the most deprived in Mexico.

Other southern states that scored poorly in the index were Oaxaca and Chiapas.

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