Americas Alliance Cultures and Economies

Familiarize yourself with some of the basic facts and figures of the powerhouse economies of Brazil, Mexico, Canada and the U.S.—all strong trading partners.


Sao Paolo SkylineBrazil boasts the largest population in Latin America and the fifth in the world. A global melting pot, Brazil is a blend of early and recent immigrants from Portugal, Africa, Europe, the Middle East, Japan and Asia. Over 80 percent of the population lives in urban areas, predominantly in the south.

Brazil has one of the most advanced and diverse industrial sectors in Latin America, including automobiles and parts, machinery and equipment and textiles. This vibrant country has earned a reputation as a leader in environmental responsibility with companies at the leading edge of leveraging environmental programs to gain competitive advantage. About 90 percent of large companies, mostly with ties to multinational groups, had instituted environmentally responsible programs by 2004.

Area 3.3 million square miles, slightly smaller than the U.S.
Total population (2010 est.)
201 million
Workforce 50.1 percent of population
Capital Brasilia, 2.5 million
Largest cities
São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte, Salvador, Fortaleza, Curitiba, Recife, Porto Alegre
Language Portuguese
Government Federal Republic
GDP (official exchange rate)
$1.6 trillion
Annual real growth (2010 est.)
7.1 percent
American firms with offices in Brazil


Mexico City SkylineMexico is the second most-populous country in Latin America after Brazil. The population is predominantly native Mestizo with a significant portion of Amerindian; more than 75 percent live in urban areas situated primarily in the center of the country.

Sharing a border with the U.S. of more than 2,000 miles, Mexico has a logical and long history of cross-pollination with the U.S. The United States is home to over 10 million first-generation Mexicans; in return, Mexico has provided a home for U.S. manufacturing jobs, with about 10 percent of formal sector jobs in assembly plants near the U.S./Mexico border.

An interesting facet of the Mexican economy is the preponderance of family-owned businesses. With the introduction of NAFTA, this landscape is changing; as family-owned businesses are looking to grow and become players in the global market, they are adopting more traditional ownership forms or entering into partnerships with transnational companies.

Area .76 million square miles, about three times the size of Texas
Total population (2010 est.)
112.5 million
Workforce 39.6 percent of population
Capital Mexico City, 22 million
Largest cities
Guadalajara, Monterrey, Puebla, Ciudad Juarez, Tijuana, Acapulco, Merida, Leon, Veracruz
Language Spanish
Government Federal Republic
GDP (official exchange rate)
$1.0 trillion
Annual real growth (2010 est.)
4.5 percent
American firms with offices in Mexico


Vancouver SkylineWith the equivalent of $1.6 billion (U.S.) in goods crossing the border every day, Canada and the United States boast the world's largest and most comprehensive trading relationships. Canada is the leading export market for the U.S., accepting more goods than the 27 EU countries combined. Conversely, Canada is the single largest foreign supplier of energy to the U.S., providing approximately 20 percent of oil and 18 percent of natural gas imports.

A relatively affluent society, Canada offers a market-oriented system similar to that of the U.S. Combined with low tax rates, its strategic location as the crossroads between North America and Asia, and a sophisticated transportation infrastructure, Canada has been named the #1 place to do business in the G7 through the year 2014 by the Economic Intelligence Unit.

Area 3.8 million square miles, second-largest country in the world
Total population (2010 est.)
33.7 million
Workforce 54.6 percent of population
Capital Ottawa
Largest cities
Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary
Language English (official) 57.8 percent; French (official) 22.1 percent; other 20.1 percent, including Chinese and aboriginal languages
Government Federation, parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy
GDP (2010 est.)
$1.34 trillion
Annual real growth (2010 est.)
3.0 percent
American firms with offices in Canada

United States

Nashville SkylineSlightly larger than China and almost two and a half times the size of the European Union, the United States is bordered to the north by Canada and to the south by Mexico, two of its largest trading partners.  Slightly over 80 percent of Americans live in urban areas; 47 of the 50 fastest-growing metro areas are located in the South or West.

As a market economy with strict regulatory oversight, the country is balanced between privately held and publicly traded companies. The United States has the largest GDP in the world, comprising approximately 24 percent of the gross world product. A relatively affluent society, the country ranks ninth in the world in per capita GDP. The U.S. is the largest importer of goods in the world and the third largest exporter.

Area 3.54 million square miles
Total population (2010 est.)
309.6 million
Workforce 50.1 percent of population
Capital Washington, D.C.
Largest cities
New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Phoenix, Philadelphia, San Antonio, San Diego, Dallas, San Jose
Language English
Government Federal Republic
GDP (2009)
$14.1 trillion
Annual real growth (2010)
2.8 percent

Data Sources

CIA World Factbook
IHS Global Insight
IMF (International Monetary Fund)
Population Reference Bureau
U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis
U.S. Department of State