Worker Demographics



Challenges and Future



Worker Demographics

Total Number of Men, Women and Children working in the Maquiladora Industry: nearly one million
Mainly low-income, working-class families inhabit the Mexican borderlands. The problem lies in the fact that most Mexican maquiladora workers barely earn enough wages to sustain themselves and their families. Although factory workers in both the U.S. and Mexico perform comparable work, the minimum wage in Mexico is only $3.40 per day compared to $6.55 per hour in the U.S. Almost all of the workers weekly wages are spent on necessities making it nearly impossible for them to save money and improve their situation. Although the Mexican government raised minimum wage by 14%, the consumer price index rose 18.6%.

Example of the earnings of a typical maquiladora worker:

Type of employment: Worker from Auto Trim de Mexico
Work Schedule: 40 hours per week
Daily wage: $8.29
Minimum wage (Geographic Area): $3.44 per day
Wage per hour: $1.04
Weekly salary: $58.09
Discount for union dues (4%): $2.32
Net pay: $55.77

Amount leftover per week for clothes, shoes, entertainment and medical attention: $2.03

No. of Women Working in the Maquiladora Industry: more than 570,000

In the early days women made up as much as 80% of the assembly plant workforce, today they number close to 60%. While they can legally be hired at the age of 16, it is common for these girls to get false doucments in order to go to work at ages as young as 12, 13 or 14.

Wages: Hourly Compensation in U.S. dollars from 1997-2006

The following video clip represents the women who continue to work in maquiladoras, despite poor working conditions. For many of them the border presents the best oportunity of work they will ever find and so they stay.


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This site was created by Mitali Shah for Professor Vinnie Ferraro's World Politics course/Mount Holyoke College- All information, images and videos are extracted from cited sources for educational purposes

For more information, please email shah20m@mtholyoke.edu