Mexico City is not part of any state, it is a federal district that serves as the capital of Mexico. The federal district is separate from Mexico’s 31 states and its territory does not belong to any state.
Mexico City, officially called Ciudad de México, is the capital and largest city of Mexico. With over 21 million residents, it is one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. Mexico City is located in the Valley of Mexico, a large valley in the high plateaus in the center of Mexico.
Mexico City is the country’s economic, political and cultural center. It generates around 17% of the country’s GDP and is home to important financial institutions, media companies, universities, museums, sports teams, and more. It is a alpha global city with significant influence in the region.
Unlike other major world capitals like Washington D.C., London, Paris or Tokyo that are located within larger administrative divisions, Mexico City has a unique status in Mexico. Here is a look at where exactly Mexico City is located and what its administrative status is:
Mexico City is Located in the Valley of Mexico
Geographically, Mexico City is situated in the Valley of Mexico (Valle de México), a large valley in the central Mexican Plateau at an average elevation of 2,240 meters. The valley is surrounded by volcanoes and mountains that reach over 5,000 meters above sea level.
The Valley of Mexico basin has been a favorable location for human settlement due to its rich soil and mild climate. It has been inhabited for thousands of years, first by the Aztecs who founded their capital city of Tenochtitlan on an island in Lake Texcoco. After the Spanish conquest in 1521, the capital was moved to the same location and Mexico City was built on top of the ruins of the Aztec city.
Today, the Valley of Mexico encompasses not just Mexico City proper but also adjoining built-up areas in the states of Mexico and Hidalgo. In fact, Mexico City spills beyond the federal district limits into these neighboring states.
Mexico City is a Federal District, Not Part of Any State
Unlike other major cities, Mexico City is not part of any of Mexico’s 31 states or one of its territories. Rather, it is a federal district known as the Ciudad de México (CDMX) that belongs directly to the federation.
The Federal District was created in 1824 to host the capital after independence from Spain. District status gave the national government direct control and neutralized disputes between states who wanted to host the capital.
Over time, as Mexico City grew in importance and population, the federal district gained more autonomy and local administration rights. In 2016, it was officially declared the 32nd federal entity of Mexico with greater self-governance and its own constitution.
So in summary:
- Mexico City is located geographically in the Valley of Mexico region
- Politically, it is not part of any state but is a federal district
- The Federal District has its own autonomous government but still belongs to the Mexican federation
Mexico City’s Area and Territories
Mexico City covers a total area of 1,485 square kilometers or 572 square miles. The metropolitan area, which includes urban sprawl beyond the city limits, extends over 7,864 square miles making it one of the largest metro areas in the world.
The city is composed of 16 boroughs known as alcaldías. These boroughs function as administrative divisions somewhat similar to counties. Here are the 16 alcaldías:
- Álvaro Obregón
- Benito Juárez
- Gustavo A. Madero
- Magdalena Contreras
- Miguel Hidalgo
- Milpa Alta
- Venustiano Carranza
The urbanized area of Mexico City extends significantly beyond the limits of the Federal District into the State of Mexico, Hidalgo, Tlaxcala, and Puebla.
How Mexico City is Administered
As the seat of the federal government, Mexico City houses the President’s residence and offices, the meeting chambers of the Senate and Congress, the Supreme Court, and headquarters of federal agencies and entities.
On a local level, Mexico City has its own elected Head of Government, the most recent being Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum. The city also has a unicameral Legislative Assembly with 66 elected members.
Furthermore, each borough or alcaldía has its own elected mayor or alcalde along with a borough council. Responsibilities of the borough governments include providing local services like sanitation, civil registry, building permits, parks, and public safety.
Relationship with Surrounding States
As mentioned earlier, the urbanized area of Mexico City spills over considerably into neighboring states. This expansion came about as the city’s population exploded in the 20th century. Today an estimated 20 million people live in the Mexico City metropolitan area.
The built up portions that extend into the State of Mexico are referred to as zona metropolitana or Greater Mexico City. Significant suburbs exist in the states of Hidalgo and Puebla as well. Several of these suburbs have populations over 500,000 residents.
Integrating the management and coordination of Mexico City proper with adjoining urban areas in multiple states has been an administrative challenge. Currently, there are coordinating entities like the National Metropolitan Commission and Federation of Mexican States that aim to align policies, budgets, and plans across Greater Mexico City.
Is Mexico City the Capital of a State?
Given its unique status, Mexico City is not the capital of any of Mexico’s 31 states. Rather, as established in the constitution, it is the capital of the entire country.
Mexico’s states have their own capital cities distinct from Mexico City, as listed below:
|Baja California Sur||La Paz|
|Durango||Victoria de Durango|
|Guerrero||Chilpancingo de los Bravo|
|Hidalgo||Pachuca de Soto|
|Mexico||Toluca de Lerdo|
|Oaxaca||Oaxaca de Juárez|
|Puebla||Puebla de Zaragoza|
|Querétaro||Santiago de Querétaro|
|San Luis Potosí||San Luis Potosí|
|Tlaxcala||Tlaxcala de Xicohténcatl|
So in summary, Mexico City is not the capital of any Mexican state. The states have their own separate capital cities. Mexico City is the capital at the federal level for the whole country.
Does Mexico City Have Any Special Status?
Yes, Mexico City has a special designation in Mexico’s federal system. Here are some key aspects that highlight its unique status:
- Mexico City residents do not elect senators or federal deputies to represent them. Residents only vote in presidential elections.
- The Head of Government has a status similar to a state governor and is not subordinate to the President.
- Mexico City has its own legislative assembly and superior court.
- The city has greater autonomy and budgetary independence compared to other districts and territories.
- However, it does not have the full sovereignty that states have. Congress can override local laws.
In essence, Mexico City is somewhere in between a federal district and a state, with its own elected officials but still tied to the central government. The arrangement aims to give the capital significant self-rule without compromising federal authority.
To summarize the key facts:
- Mexico City is situated geographically in central Mexico’s Valley of Mexico region
- Politically, it is a federal district under direct control of the federal government
- It is not part of any existing state in Mexico
- The city has 16 administrative boroughs within its territory
- Mexico City functions as capital of the country while states have their own capitals
- It has a unique status that grants greater autonomy than other districts but less than sovereign states
So in answer to the original question – Mexico City is not part of any state, it is a federal district that serves as the capital of the country of Mexico.