In the 16th century, the Spanish conquered the vast Mesoamerican civilization. They established Spanish colonies and encouraged mestizaje, or cultural blending, in the hope of creating a more homogeneous national identity. In spite of these efforts, the Mexican population is still quite diverse. In some regions, indigenous groups retain their own customary laws and local forms of organization. In other areas, however, the situation is less favorable. In Mexico City, some indigenous groups are forced to accept Spanish culture and language, and some have witnessed their traditions and cultural practices fall apart under poverty.
While Mexicans have adapted to much of the Western way of life, they still hold onto their cultural values. While they value a sense of empathy for those who live in extreme poverty, they don't always translate this into help. Hence, many Mexicans have become used to the harsh reality of extreme poverty. In fact, their culture scores an 81 on the Hofstede scale, which indicates that they accept social order as natural.
With the growth in population, Mexico City's infrastructure has begun to suffer. The city's population has exceeded its water and sanitation systems, and water supply and waste treatment facilities are overwhelmed. This has caused numerous problems, including overcrowding of housing units, traffic jams, and inadequate sanitation. In addition, the government has failed to engage in effective long-term planning for the city. Fortunately, however, it has begun addressing these issues in recent years.