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## versão impressa ISSN 1870-5472

### agric. soc. desarro vol.14 no.1 Texcoco Jan./Mar. 2017

Articles

Pluriemployment/Pluriactivity, factor and consequence of the change of land occupation in San Bernardino, Texcoco, México

1 Programa de Desarrollo Rural, Colegio de Postgraduados. Km 36.5 Carretera México-Texcoco. Montecillo, Texcoco, Estado de México. 56230. México.

2 Programa de Edafología, Colegio de Postgraduados. Km 36.5 Carretera México-Texcoco. Montecillo, Texcoco, Estado de México. 56230. México.

Abstract:

The change in land occupation from agricultural to urban generates the loss of important agricultural zones, an increase in irregular properties and the change in economic-productive activities. The objective of this study was to analyze the change of land occupation, from agricultural to urban, in San Bernardino, Texcoco, and its relationship with pluriactivity (diversity of activities). The methodology contemplates ethnographic observation and the application of surveys to ejidatarios in the locality. The detection of spatial change of land use from 1996 to 2007 was carried out with the methodologies by Bosque (2001), Eastman (2001) and Martínez (1989). The article presents: 1) sociodemographic analysis, as well as the pluriactivity found; and 2) territorial analysis of the change in land occupation. It concludes with a reflection regarding the results found, about the relationship there are between pluriactivity and the change in land occupation. For the case of the locality of San Bernardino, the relationship is cyclical, where the first is acting as factor and consequence; on the other hand, it is found that pluriactivity is directed towards the tertiary sector and the agricultural zone presents a loss of 4.41 ha per year.

Keywords: change of land occupation; ejidatarios; agricultural and urban land

Resumen:

Palabras clave: cambio de ocupación del suelo; ejidatarios; suelo agrícola y urbano

Introduction

The advancement of the urban sprawl is a process that has taken on importance in many places of the country; such is the case of the city of Texcoco de Mora and its localities, which have a rapid urban expansion since 1970, because during the decade of the 1960s in Distrito Federal there is an increase in population density, which causes for the city to expand over Estado de México, having as main characteristic the transformation of agricultural properties into lands destined for urban use.

The continuous growth of urban populations generates greater pressure on land conversion at several levels: from 1980 to 2010, almost 50 % of the states reduced their rural population, mostly migrating to urban centers with strong economies (Bonilla et al., 2012), which doubtlessly provokes an accelerated urbanization in the states of the country, originating a continuous dynamic unregulated process (Pérez García, 2015).

In many parts of the country the incorporation of agricultural areas to the urban sphere is taking place primarily through the legal or illegal sale of lands, particularly in zones adjoining the cities; such is the case of San Bernardino, locality that belongs to the municipality of Texcoco, which since its foundation was considered as an agricultural community, for its inhabitants were devoted exclusively to agricultural tasks, as day laborers, tenants or sharecroppers in haciendas in the region (RAN DF, Tome 1, 2014); however, its proximity to the periphery of Mexico City has left it exposed to the uncontrolled and unplanned urban expansion, having as consequence an accelerated change in land occupation from agricultural to urban, which is destined primarily to habitational use. In addition, multiple social, economic and environmental changes are present; however, this study is focused only on pluriacticity as one of the important social and economic changes that is happening in the locality, since the ejidatarios cannot manage to survive with what their lands produce, with it being insufficient for their financial support. Therefore, they resort to selling or renting out their plots and at the same time to the sale of their work, in many cases as day laborers or informally. Salas Quintanal y González de la Fuente (2013), Salas Quintanal et al. (2011), Ruiz Rivera and Delgado Campos (2008) and Appendinni and Torres Manzura (2010) are some of the authors who describe the change in peasants’ pluriactivity towards the tertiary sector.

Location

San Bernardino is located in the municipality of Texcoco, Estado de México, in the valley or basin of México, Valle de México or Cuenca de México, 2 km east of the Texcoco Lake, southwest of the Chapingo University, 3 km from the city of Texcoco de Mora, and 36.5 km from Distrito Federal on the México-Texcoco Federal Highway, at an altitude of 2245 m.

The locality has 5667 inhabitants, of which 2778 are men and 2889 are women; 47 inhabitants speak some indigenous language, of which 25 are men and 22 are women (INEGI, 2010).

Methodology

Through the use of orthophotos, scale 1:10000 a cartographic restitution was carried out to unify scales, from years 1996 and 2007. The orthophoto was reduced with the IDRISI 3.1 software in the drisi-Reformat-Contract module to reduce the size of the pixel, twice, understanding that cartography is not amplified, only reduced (Campbell, 1983). In this way, the size of the pixel was unified to two meters in both orthophotos and the work scale was defined at 1:20000; finally, the impression scale is 1:40000.

The information from the orthophotos was digitalized with the QGIS 2.8 software through the methodology of Pernía (1989) to photoidentify and digitalize four thematic categories that stand out most in the landscape of land occupation in the locality: Ejido Agricultural Zone, Urban Zone, ALBAMEX Company, original urban limit of the town of San Bernardino (digitalizing 1996 and 2007). A name was assigned to each segment, an identifier, a color and a description.

Later, with the IDRISI 3.1 software using the module of Time series/Crosstab, the matrix of changes was obtained (Eastman, 2001; Bosque Sendra and García, 2001) to generate the areas of transition where the stable areas, losses and gains of the two maps from the years 1996 and 2007 are shown.

At the end of this procedure the respective area of the period 1996-2007 was calculated. After concluding the operations, the cartographic sketch was designed to build the dynamic maps of land occupation (Martínez Vega, 1989) in order to draw the final maps.

To understand the pluriactivity that is showing up in the locality, a survey was performed that was determined through non-probabilistic sampling, since the selection of the survey respondents did not depend on the probability, but rather on the causes related to the characteristics of the research. In this case, based on the total number of ejidatarios, with data from RAN, there are 183 ejidatarios; however, according to data obtained from the key informant Mr. F. Jesús C., the actual number of ejidatarios is 1281. For the development of the study, 128 ejidatarios in total were used and the following formula was applied:

n=NpqN-1×D+pq

where: n: size of the sample; N: size of the population; p: probability of success=0.5; q: probability of failure=0.5; D=(B/z)2; and B: maximum acceptable error. D=(0.10/1.645)2=0.003695457; B=0.10; z: level of trust 90 % -> z=1,645; replacing the values in the formula there are: n=44.

A total sample of 44 surveys was obtained, which have 40 reagents with the objective of analyzing the economic-productive modification (pluriactivity) that the change in land occupation from agricultural to urban has generated in the community, focusing primarily on the agricultural activity and the change it has undergone, as well as the alternate activities that have emerged as a result of this change. 1760 reagents were obtained, which were analyzed with the program SPSS.

Results and Discussion

Sociodemographic analysis

According to the surveys carried out the data analysis indicates that 90 % of the survey respondents are men and 10 % are women. The rural family in San Bernardino still conserves the characteristics of the patrilineal model2 (Giddens, 2010); that is, the sons are the ones who inherit or have more rights than the daughters, although the Federal Law of Agrarian Reform (Ley Federal de la Reforma Agraria, LFR) from 1971 grants equality of rights to women.

On the other hand, the average age of the producers surveyed is 68 years; the youngest is 40 and the oldest is 90, which allows witnessing the ageing of ejidatarios; seen from the lucrative side, they are reaching the end of their productive age and, in addition to the reduction of young people in the agricultural sector, translates into an undeniable abandonment of the countryside.

This implies in addition that the older ejidatarios do not work directly on their plots because they can hardly undertake technological innovations or implement improvements in their agricultural practices.

Within this context, the population increase in the locality is an important element that demands zones for housing. According to data from INEGI, in 1995 there were 3544 inhabitants and by 2010 this increased to 5667, showing the inner demographic pressure present in the locality.

Level of studies of the survey respondents

According to INEGI (2010), the average degree of schooling of the population at the national level is 8.6 years, which is equivalent to slightly more than second year of secondary school, while in Estado de México the average is 9.1, which is equivalent to slightly more than secondary school finished. Comparing the data from INEGI (2010) and the ejidatarios surveyed, average of 2.3 years of schooling is found, which is equivalent to slightly over two years of primary school, level that is very much under the national and state indicator.

This explains why the ejidatarios have less access to information, which causes loss of opportunities for the development and wellbeing of their locality and family, since they are more reluctant to modernity and innovation.

Pluriactivity

Pluriactivity is central to the definition of peasantry and essential to preserve the peasant lifestyle; however, it has taken different directions, since although pluriactivity in this sector is not new, previously the variety of activities took place within the family plot or connected to it. Despite pluriactivity (diversity of activities) continuing to prevail, it is currently being directed primarily to the tertiary sector in the informal sale of products, putting aside and sometimes completely out the primary sector (agricultural, livestock and forestry).

At the present time, what defines the rural economies is labor diversification. The diversification has three central characteristics: on the one hand, it is directed mostly towards activities of commerce and services. In the second place, the modalities of diversification -commercial, services, manufacturing - have increasingly less to do with local activities and increasingly more with the characteristics of the regional and micro-regional labor markets. Lastly, the local economies depend increasingly more on two resources: public external transferences, that is, subsidies to poverty and private transferences, or remittances that domestic and international migrants send to their domestic groups (Appendini and Torres Mazuera, 2010).

When analyzing the change in productive economic activities in the locality of San Bernardino, there is agreement with what Salas and González (2013) suggest in that paid work has been turned into an essential, but not unique, source of income; however, the importance that tertiary activities have been acquiring is noticeable, among which commerce in detriment of primary activities stands out, without forgetting that there is still a small percentage that continues to cultivate, primarily for their animals’ consumption.

This outlook was validated with data from the National Survey on Occupation and Employment (Encuesta Nacional de Ocupación y Empleo, ENOE, 2014), which shows that the sectors of economic activity that concentrate the highest number of people occupied in the country are Commerce, with 8.7 million; Transformation, with 7.6 million; and Agriculture, with 5.7 million. These three sectors reach 47.2 % of the total of the occupied population (Servicio Nacional del Empleo, 2014).

Based on data from the ENOE (2014), the (net) monthly average income of the people occupied is $5141 pesos. Per sector of activity, the monthly average incomes of the workers in the Extractive, Education, Health and Government are the highest ($9972, $8110 and$8016, respectively). The sectors with the lowest average incomes are Tourism, with $4391; Personal Services, with$3841; and Agricultural and Livestock, with \$2855.

In towns neighboring cities it is very common to observe a high demand for agricultural lands because they are building lands, due mostly to the insufficiency of spaces in the city to house the population that arrives there; such is the case of the locality of San Bernardino, situation that has consumed its agricultural lands, fostering social, economic and environmental changes within it.

With the social-economic changes an uncertainty comes up for future generations, such as the lack of the land resource and the (economic) benefits obtained from it, as well as due to the end of agricultural work for them and their families, provoking without a doubt the change in occupation in productive-economic activities and the country-city migration, which is not necessarily given by the change in address or residence, but rather the address is virtually used solely as a place to sleep and in some cases is where people who wish to continue within their community resort to pluriactivity in nearby zones.

The practice of several activities is frequently accompanied by temporary movements. These migrations are a strategy to adapt to the modern economic growth, since previously the peasant economies were based on agriculture, but they have reached a situation of deterioration, so that today peasant families depend increasingly more on diverse incomes obtained from pluriactivity, that is, from the combination of different activities foreign to agriculture.

Main activity

Through time, in México the change from an agrarian society to urban society has taken place gradually, where the agricultural activity not only coexists with other economic activities, but rather it has ceased to be the predominant activity, in terms of the number of members of the family involved in this field, as well as in the increase in the generation of non-agricultural incomes within the families (Figure 1).

In the locality of San Bernardino, the change from a rural society to an urban one is confirmed with the data obtained in the field, where 27.26 % of the ejidatarios surveyed obtain their main source of incomes developing their principal activity in the primary sector, another 20.45 % in the secondary, and 52.29 % in the tertiary.

Complementary activities

The situation that ejidatarios from San Bernardino experience is quite difficult; however, those who are reluctant to leave their lands seek other ways of subsisting, so they resort to performing several activities to complement their family income. Most combine activities inside and outside the family plot, that is, they are pluriactive households. It is important to mention that they have not entirely lost their function as Family Economic Unit.

The data obtained from the research indicate that 86.36 % of the ejidatarios manifested performing several activities and only 16.64 % carry out a single activity.

Of the total of answers obtained, 54.54 % mentioned that in addition to their principal activity they also carry out a complementary activity in the primary sector, 6.82 % in the secondary and 22.72 % in the tertiary.

To complement their family income some must be employed in a second activity, so that 22.27 % are occupied in the primary sector, 4.54 % in the secondary, and 9.09 % in the tertiary, while 2.27 % have a third activity within the primary.

It is necessary to highlight the highest percentage of those who carry out complementary activities are part of the statistics of the primary sector, which manifests because they are livestock producers and the need to feed their livestock induces them to carry out the role mentioned; some with less possibility of raising livestock destine their small production to the upkeep of their backyard animals.

Likewise, the incomes they obtain from these activities are shown on Table 1 (according to the minimum salary of Zone B, valid up to 2015).

Table 1 Income from type of activity of the participants in the study.

SMV: Minimum Wage Valid on 2015 (DOF) Diario Oficial de la Federación: Zone A 70.15: Zone B 60.45.

The pluriactivity is a strategy that families have had to carry out with the aim of improving their incomes; that is, the greater diversification of activities, the more opportunities of having a better quality of life or reducing the poverty levels. The households of the ejidatarios surveyed resort to selling their production, selling their labor or having a small business, with which they try to increase the family income and stay in a better position.

Therefore, the pluriactivity in the community of San Bernardino turns out to be real and implies a rupture from the single activity that the peasant family carried out; that is, the agrarian activity has ceased to be the main and most important one, thus giving place to one of the most important effects of the transformations in the local rural society, pluriactivity, and which in addition is being directed primarily to the tertiary sector, performing mostly the activities of taxi drivers, bricklayers and shopkeepers.

Non-agricultural contribution to the family income

Half of the total ejidatarios surveyed manifested receiving financial support from members of their family, with the aim of contributing to the family income, and these carry out minimal contributions of 1.49 minimum wage valid (salario mínimo vigente, SMV), maximum of up to 6.45 SMV, and average of 2.80 SMV per day. To obtain this income they are employed in activities other than agriculture and they migrate from the country to the city; this migration tends to be temporal, since the city lacks a labor market that guarantees the rural inhabitants will be inserted into this sphere.

Likewise, the fact of residing in the country allows them to maintain a less expensive lifestyle compared to the city.

The indicator of Economically Active Population (EAP) shows the labor diversity there is in peasant families and to determine their type of income the separation in agricultural and non-agricultural income was made; according to data from the municipality, Texcoco has 90 460 inhabitants, of which 5.85 % are part of the agricultural EAP and 94.15 % correspond to the non-agricultural EAP (Estadística Básica municipal del Estado de México, 2011).

For San Bernardino, in the year 2000 the EAP was 1775, of which 156 were found in the primary sector, 588 in the secondary, and 947 in the tertiary3.

On the other hand, 50 % of the ejidatarios responded that their children contribute to the family income, where 13 % of the responses correspond to an agricultural EAP, while 77 % is non-agricultural EAP, that is, the activities they carry out are in their majority totally foreign to agriculture or outside the family unit; the activity of employee and shopkeeper stand out, with 29.54 %; bricklayer, 13.63 %; taxi driver, professional and another activity, 6.81 %.

The family workforce constitutes a very important factor within agricultural production; however, in the locality of San Bernardino the families of the ejidatarios are characterized for making an incursion into non-agricultural activities to be employed in small commercial establishments or in the realization of trades on their own. In this regard, most of the ejidatarios surveyed (90 %) manifested not receiving help from their family members for the field activities.

It is important to highlight that only 13.63 % of the children of ejidatarios are devoted to agriculture, which shows the decrease in the participation of young people in the field.

Thus, a process of abandoning the country is observed; young people are giving up the transference of knowledge from one generation to another, they give little importance to agricultural work. Of the data obtained, 70.45 % of the survey respondents manifested that their children do not support them in the field activities because they do not know how to and are not interested in learning; 45.45 % expressed that their children do not like working in agricultural activities, while 40.90 % mentioned that the tasks of their children do not leave them time to work in the field activities. On the other hand, 6.82 % of the survey respondents said they received help from one of their children and 2.27 % from two of them in agricultural tasks.

This is mostly because the children of ejidatarios study and paradoxically they are occupied in a different activity, while the non-owners together with their children work the land because they do not have a schooling index so as to be inserted into the urban labor market, or the means of production to generate that income.

Abandoning the country is not only reflected in the indifference of young people to giving support in the field tasks. In Table 2, made with data from the Direct Support to the Country Program (Programa de Apoyos Directos al Campo, PROCAMPO), it can be observed that sowing has decreased considerably in the locality of study; the number of beneficiaries that PROCAMPO has supported since 1995 and up to 2013 is shown, where a huge decrease in backing can be seen, since 152 ejidatarios were supported in 1995 and by 2007 it was just 90, while by 2013 it decreased to 75.

Table 2 Matrix of changes in the 1996-2007 period.

It is important to mention that PROCAMPO has the objective of complementing the economic income of producers in the Mexican countryside to contribute to the individual and the country’s economic growth, backing provided for the production of legal crops.

With the PROCAMPO data, it can be seen that support to the country in prior years was important in the locality, and currently sowing has decreased considerably, reduction that is directly linked to urban expansion in agricultural zones, since where there used to be alfalfa, maize and squash crops, to mention the most important ones in the locality, there is now mostly residential homes and in some lands even factories.

Territorial analysis of the change of land occupation

According to the process of geographic analysis performed between two maps of different dates, 1996 and 2007, from the locality of San Bernardino, Municipality of Texcoco, the transition areas, stable areas, losses and gains were calculated, obtaining the change matrix with the help of the IDRISI 3.1 software in the module of Series of time/Crosstab; the results are presented next.

The change in land occupation from agriculture to urban in the locality studied has taken place gradually, at a rhythm of 4.41 ha per year, which for the 1996- 2007 period represents a total of 48.62 agricultural ha, incorporated to the urban zone (Table 2).

Agriculture is considered a fundamental activity in the rural environment; however, the difficulties that it faces have generated the loss and abandonment of agricultural lands.

For the crops in the community of San Bernardino, the irrigation system is used and thanks to it the agricultural activity has remained valid, although to a lower proportion. Of the ejidatarios surveyed, 61.36 % manifested that they still cultivate their lands, while 38.64 % said they do not cultivate anymore. The predominating crops are alfalfa, maize, squash, bean, cilantro and carrot. On the other hand, the ejidatarios who still conserve their lands, but who have left crops aside, manifested having changed the agricultural activity for another, in which renting ejido plots stands out.

The change of land occupation has several forms or expressions as to how it should be analyzed, since land uses are the materialization of the economy and the social conditions, idem, the first of them that can be seen in terms of territory, is the agricultural one for the urban one, from the economic angle, through pluriemployment and the sale of lands; the change in land use from the territorial angle is presented when the landscape changes from rural to urban.

In Figure 2 the growth of the urban zone over the agricultural zone is shown, which by 1996 was 8.47 ha.

Figure 3 shows how by 2007 the urban zone already covers 57.09 over the agricultural area.

In Figure 4 the total change of land occupation from 1996 to 2007 is shown, where the urban zone won 48.62 ha over the agricultural one.

Regarding the map, the ejido plots located in the north, south, southeast and west zones have been urbanized; likewise, in the west there are also some plots that have been expropriated.

This remarkable change reinforces what was obtained through the surveys applied in June 2014 to ejidatarios from this locality, where 52.29 % obtain their income primarily in the tertiary sector, that is, a notable abandonment of agricultural lands is taking place, which in most cases leads them to selling or renting them to be employed in activities different than agriculture.

Of the survey respondents, 65.91 % said they had resorted to the sale of agricultural lands and only 34.09 % states they haven’t sold. The ejidatarios mention that the main causes that have forced them to sell those lands is the lack of profit from harvests and, therefore, the need for money (70.45 %), followed by the lack of interest from children over the agricultural activity (61.36 %), little support from family workforce (56.82 %), and family emergencies (47.73 %).

The main cause why they manifest having sold their agricultural terrains is the scarce earnings from the harvests and, therefore, the need for money, followed by the disinterest from the children over the agricultural activity, little support from family workforce and family emergencies.

Concerning the problems that they face to complete the production process of their products, in some cases the production is not enough, there is no excess that can be incorporated into the offer; in addition, other elements interfere, such as the accessibility and compatibility with the market (Kunz Bolaños, 1987).

Although in the first there is the excess mentioned, they do not manage to fulfill the productive process, due to not having the local market to acquire the production, thus turning it into upkeep, which leads to peasants and their families seeking other ways to obtain or complete the family income, thus incorporating new jobs from other sectors different from the primary, going from the countryside to the second or third term, breaking with the regional equilibrium, also causing for the knowledge from production to cease to belong to the peasantry; that is, agricultural knowledge is lost, the family does not participate in the function of production and there is no subsidy in the workforce. In this sense, the functional balance of the process is broken, thus fragmenting the country-production scheme (Kunz Bolaños, 1987).

The compatibility is now related to urban processes, which causes the value of agricultural land to decrease and the urban one to increase because there is demographic pressure that demands land for housing. In the second place it is related to the process of livestock production, in small scale.

When the process of agricultural production is broken, the change of land occupation takes place, mostly irregularly, fractioning the agricultural lands for urban use, especially for housing, due to the high demographic pressure present.

Conclusions

The process of change of land occupation is complex and is determined by multiple economic, political, social and environmental factors. They are all found at a macro and micro level, and because of the complexity of this process, the relationship from the pluriactivity/pluriemployment of the peasant sector and the relationship with the change in land occupation, they are only addressed in this study at the local level.

According to the analysis performed it is concluded that, although it is true that pluriactivity has always existed as a survival strategy in the peasant lifestyle, the results from this research indicate that it presents a cyclical relationship with the change in land occupation, insofar as it seemed to be a consequence at the beginning and, nevertheless, the analysis results in that it can also be an important factor influencing the intensification of the change of land occupation from agricultural to urban.

As consequence and as factor, pluriactivity seems to have the same explanation; the increase in the change of economic-productive activities (pluriactivity/ pluriemployment) of the ejidatarios, which are being directed primarily towards the tertiary sector (among which bricklayer, shopkeeper and taxi driver stand out), is due to these representing a greater increase and, thus, the access to a better quality of life than the one generated from agricultural activity.

Pluriactivity as peasant strategy continues to be present in San Bernardino, which allows the peasants to have a better quality of life or to reduce the poverty levels, but in most of the cases it is towards the outside and directed importantly to the tertiary sector, even leaving aside the agricultural activity.

The households of the ejidatarios surveyed resort to the sale of their production, the sale of their workforce, or to having a small business, with which they try to increase the family income and remain in a better position.

On the other hand, the change of land occupation from agricultural to urban in San Bernardino has been happening gradually, presenting itself at a rhythm of 4.41 ha per year, which during the period evaluated (1996-2007) represents a total of 48.62 ha lost from the agricultural zone that have been transformed into urban zones, provoking a redefinition of the landscape in its territorial structure.

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1(There is an area within the ejido, called zone of common use (salitral), where 1000 m2 were distributed to all the active ejidatarios; in total it was 128 ejidatarios benefitted, so the decision was made to take this piece of data as the real one, because the list that appears in the RAN is not totally updated, for there are ejidatarios who have died and continue to be registered).

2In the past, property was inherited following generally the male line, although nowadays this is less habitual.

3Source: INEGI (1980/1990/2000): General Population and Housing Census from Estado de México. México.

Received: July 2015; Accepted: May 2016

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