Mexico ranks better than the US on some recently-released key environmental measures, and ranks about the same on some key quality of life indicators.
Nicholas Kristoff of the NY Times brought the Global (un)Happiness Index to our attention recently in an op-ed piece. This index is actually based on pretty serious research as you can see if you browse through its site. It correlates environmental impact (ecological footprint), life expectancy and life satisfaction and ranks countries accordingly. In individual measures, Mexico shares the same top category of life expectancy as the US (+75 years) and in life satisfaction (a score of greater than ) as the US and scores in the second best category for environmental footprint, while the US scores in the worst category. The best category indicates if the world consumed and polluted at this rate, the planet could handle it. The second category indicates the world might be able to handle it, but it might require up to two planets to handle it. The worst category, the fourth category indicates that if everyone consumed at the rate these countries do, it would take more than four planets to meet their consumption and pollution patterns. There's a lot more detailed information on the site, and it's worth checking out.
Yale University's Center for Environmental Law and Policy came out today with its Environmental Performance Index (or at least today is when I found it). It is based on rigorous research and analysis. It finds that both the US and Mexico are in the middle tier of countries in terms of environmental impact, but the US is considerably further down the list in 61st place while Mexico is in 43rd place.
These sites (which I've linked to) provide a lot of detailed information on these topics. Another interesting site is the World Database of Happiness created by researchers at Erasmus University in The Netherlands. It is VERY complicated, but it looks interesting if you're interested. And more up my alley, there's the OECD site which attempts to define and measure the progress of societies. It has many reputable global groups involved.
Anyway, as R. Grabman reminds us on Mex Files today, the image of Mexico in the US has little to do with Mexico in reality. He also reminds us that the number one issue of concern for Mexico is political reform, not security. I should add that here the country isn't populated by tea-partiers, but rather by people who seem able to articulate their concerns, whether on the right, left or center.