Economic facts about the Baja California Peninsula
Here are some quick economic facts about the Baja California peninsula
The Baja California peninsula is made up of two Mexican states, Baja California and Baja California Sur.
In Baja California the cities of Mexicali, Tijuana and Ensenada have heavy manufacturing. Following NAFTA a variety of maquiladoras sprung up in Baja, particularly in the border areas, making everything from tennis shoes to televisions. With the opening of the Chinese markets in the late 90's many of these manufacturers moved to cheaper labor and less stringent environmental restrictions.
Tourism and real estate sales in the northern state of Baja California were a significant source of income from 2000-2007 have suffered over the last few years, first by increased border waits following 9/11 and then by a rash of drug Cartel violence in 2007 and 2008 along with the world wide general economic slow down. Wikipedia states GDP of Baja California at about $23 billion US dollars.
Agriculture is a significant part of the economy in both Baja California and Baja Sur. Large scale modern farming techniques are used in what is referred to as 'the Valley' near Cd Constitucion. Large scale green house farming can be found from Ensenada to San Quintin, Vizcaino and Todos Santos, wine is produced along the coastal areas near Ensenada.
In Baja California Sur tourism makes up a significant portion of the economy. Resort real estate were exploding through 2008, when the banking crisis put the breaks on foreign loans. Los Cabos offers luxury resorts and a wide variety of travel adventures. Tourism in La Paz is just developing with a focus on eco-travel in the Sea of Cortez. Loreto is another focus of local development investment by the government although the region has been slow to catch on..
Fishing, pearling and shrimping were at all one time important aspects of the economy on both sides of the peninsula. Over use of all these resources has ended or severely contracted these industries. Tuna processing facilities were once located on both coasts of the peninsula. All are now closed. Shrimping has been banned from the western side of the Sea for the next few years as the species tries to recover.
Pearling goes back to the early foundations of La Paz nearly 400 years ago. The industry thrived through the early 1900's and brought significant wealth to the companies that harvested them. Pearl oysters were fished to extinction in the late 1930's.
Silver was one a major export from the peninsula from the mid 1800's through the early 1950's silver was extracted from the mountains of Baja California Sur. El Triunfo, in the mountains of Baja Sur was once the largest city on the peninsula with a population of nearly 50,000 in the early 1900's. Large scale commercial mining of silver ended in the early 1950's but with the increased price of precious metals some of these mines have been reopened under smaller operations.
La Paz, Baja California Sur is one of the richest per capita cities in Mexico. (this INEGI stat is for working persons and does not include wealthy foreign property holders in resort cities) Baja California Sur has one of the lowest GDP's of any Mexican state with between $4 to $5 billion annually. Agriculture is its main export. Organic agriculture is a major product of the Todos Santos area on the Pacific side of Baja Sur.
Nearly all of the electricity in Baja is produced by petroleum based thermoelectric generation and nearly all fuel is imported from the mainland or the US. There are no refining facilities in Baja. Sempra Energy has constructed major natural gas tanker facilities south of Tijuana on the Pacific coast. Nearly all the peninsula's population has electricity, with the exception of very rural pueblos. All children have access to free education through primary school.
Tijuana is the largest city in Baja California and on the peninsula with a population of about 1.4 million. Mexicali is the capital of Baja California. Ensenada is the major port in Baja California with construction scheduled for a major port in Punta Colnet over the next decade.
La Paz is the largest city in and capital of Baja California Sur with a population of about 350,000. La Paz is also the only commercial port on the eastern side of the peninsula, supplying most of the goods transported from mainland Mexico and all petroeum products used in the state through the Pemex port facility.
Major chain store shopping is available in Tijuana, Mexicali, Ensenada, La Paz and Los Cabos. Los Cabos refers to the combined tourist region of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo. As of 2008 Constitucion has a chain supermarket. Grocery shopping in other towns is done at regional markets of varying capacity.
International flights are available to Tijuana, La Paz, Loreto and San Jose del Cabo. Only Los Cabos and Tijuana have daily service. There are a large number of smaller and private air strips.