Key figures

Key figures

Research overview

Responding to challenges and existing knowledge gaps facing the cooperative movement, this mapping research seeks to provide exhaustive information on cooperatives around the world.

This is achieved through a process jointly conducted by the ICA and its four regional offices – Cooperatives of the Americas, Cooperatives Europe, ICA Africa, and ICA Asia-Pacific – using a common methodology, designed with the support of external experts from the European Research Institute on Cooperative and Social Enterprises (Euricse).

Each office collected the input of ICA members present in the countries within its geographic area, by using a common questionnaire, and completing it with relevant national statistics, in order to obtain a picture of the national situation. As a result, the data above is collected following two strategies: 1) a survey targeting ICA cooperative members 2) collecting national statistics already available in the country. The numbers above provide aggregated data from ICA members on the number of cooperatives, as well as the number of cooperative employees and memberships in the country. More methodological information is available in the full report. In Mexico, the data is collected for the reference year 2018.

Mapping out cooperatives in each country provides a more precise picture of the cooperative context at national and regional levels, enhances the movement's visibility, networking, partnerships opportunities, as well as advocacy, and empowers cooperators by providing tools for positive change.

This webpage presents a snapshot of the research results for Mexico. For more information and the full research results, you can download the report by clicking on the links above.



The cooperative movement began in Mexico in the 1870s, with the creation of a cooperative for the Production and Sale of hats in 1872; basically, it is the birth, apogee and decline of the Porfiriato.

Despite the "peace" that existed in Mexico, the cooperatives had many constant obstacles throughout the country: indifference, lack of organization, intermediaries in the field of production, the constant struggle for a niche within the market and the (in some cases) political ends of which they were objects. Even before the start of the Mexican Revolution, the movement began to have weight and strength, but these collapsed due to the movement of social rebellion. This movement almost made the cooperatives disappear; however, they became a kind of appendage of the Mexican labor movement that took a lot of strength in those years of struggle.



Mexico counts 4 ICA member organisations:

- Caja Popular Mexicana, is a full member in the finance sector.

Confederación Nacional Cooperativa de Actividades Diversas de la República Mexicana (CNC), is a full member and is the APEX organisation in Mexico.

Federación de Cajas Populares ALIANZA, is a full member in the finance sector.

Federación Regional de Cooperativas de Ahorro y Préstamo Noreste S.C.L. de C.V. (FENORESTE SCL DE CV), is an associate member in the finance sector.

In Mexico the research questionnaire was distributed to and completed by 2 ICA member organisations. The data collected was for the reference year 2018.



Legal framework

Legal framework
Legal framework


The legal framework analysis aims to provide general knowledge of the national cooperative legislation and of its main characteristics and contents, with particular regard to those aspects of regulation regarding the identity of cooperatives and its distinction from other types of business organisations, notably the for-profit shareholder corporation.

It aims to evaluate whether the national legislation in place supports or hampers the development of cooperatives, and is therefore “cooperative friendly” or not, and the degree to which it may be considered so, also in comparison to the legislation in force in other countries of the ICA region, or at the supranational level.

In addition, the research aims to provide recommendations for eventual renewal of the legal frameworks in place in order to understand what changes in the current legislation would be necessary to improve its degree of “cooperative friendliness”, which is to say, to make the legislation more favourable to cooperatives, also in consideration of their specific identity. This webpage presents a snapshot of the legal framework analysis results for Mexico.



In Mexico, according to the constitutional framework, the cooperatives are regulated starting from their mention in the Political Constitution of the United Mexican States, which establishes the obligation of the Mexican State to govern the full and sustainable national development through, among other things, the promotion of economic growth and employment that allows the exercise of the freedom and dignity of Mexicans. To comply with this, the State through the law will establish mechanisms for the organization and expansion of the economic activity of the social sector, among which are the cooperatives. To comply with the constitutional mandate, the Mexican legislators integrated the cooperatives (as an associative figure) into the General Law of Mercantile Corporations.


Cooperative Friendliness

There are no legal barriers or impediments arising from regulation, since even the General Law of Cooperative Corporations itself establishes a chapter related to the "support for cooperative corporations", but the problem is in the execution and enforcement of the legal postulate, as well as in the sanctions for its non-compliance by becoming an imperfect norm, which establishes duties and obligations, but does not impose consequences for non-compliance.


Key recommendations for improvement

  • Allow the operation of financial activities or services that are currently reserved for financial groups with a mercantilist approach.
  • Establish the responsibility of an entity of the Mexican State to set up a cooperative registry.
  • Clearly define the concept of "cooperative act", as well as its scope, consequences and jurisdiction of the courts and entities of the State responsible for its implementation.
  • To replicate in its case the experience of Mexico City regarding the publication of a Law of Cooperative Development, but of federal application and binding for the State entities.
  • Establish mandatory mechanisms to comply with what is currently mandated by the General Law of Cooperative Corporations.



Cooperative legislation in Mexico is too general, which could be taken advantage of by anyone to use the figure as a means of developing initiatives and productive activities, however, criticism of the outdated General Law of Cooperative Corporations is unanimous and what is required is a modification that includes and specifies in the permit any legal economic activity, establishing the necessary provisions so that public policies and legislation allow the operation of cooperatives of insurance, health, energy, association of moral persons (legal persons), definition and nature of the cooperative act (as opposed to the commercial or mercantile act), among others.




The legal frameworks analysis is a tool developed under the ICA-EU Partnership #coops4dev. It is an overview of the national legal frameworks at the time of writing. The views expressed within are not necessarily those of the ICA, nor does a reference to any specific content constitute an explicit endorsement or recommendation by the ICA. 

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