Mexico City

Mexico City to be Known as Mexico City

The iconic term "DF" is being replaced. The country now has "31 states and Mexico City"

Aerial View of Mexico City

For years, Mexico’s capital has been divided between the Distrito Federal (Federal District) and adjacent municipalities in the State of Mexico, forming an area of some 20 million people referred to as the Zona Metropolitana del Valle de México, or simply, the metropolitan zone.

That changed – sort of – in January 2016 with the promulgation of the Mexico City political reform. The Federal District, with its nine million or so inhabitants, officially became La Ciudad de México.

Mexico City will remain the seat of federal power and the nation’s capital, and although it will enjoy political benefits like freedom to set its own budgets and debt levels, and have its own constitution, it won’t actually become a full-fledged state.

Instead of “31 states and the Federal District”, the country now has “31 states and Mexico City”.

The city’s 16 areas previously known as delegaciones (delegations) headed by delegados become demarcaciones (demarcations) led by a mayor.

The capital’s iconic term “DF” has been replaced with the new “CDMX” logo which is now especially visible on the city’s public transport vehicles, including taxis.

Elections will be held in June 2016 for a constituent assembly: a body of 100 of whom 60 will be chosen by voters, and others by the federal congress, the city government, and the federal government. They will be responsible for drawing up and approving a Mexico City constitution by January 2017.

The change is something that certain political parties have been seeking for years, especially the Partido de la Revolución Democrática (PRD), which has governed Mexico City since 1997 when capital residents for the first time got to vote for the mayor. Before then, the Mexican president would appoint the mayor of the Federal District, who was referred to as the regente, or regent.

The latest changes appear to be of less interest to the denizens than those made almost 20 years ago. Capital dwellers have been more concerned — and dismayed — by new city traffic regulations that raised fines for different violations to levels many consider unreasonable, given wage levels in the country.

There was a dearth of commentary, even on social media, about the political or democratic implications of the switch from Distrito Federal to Ciudad de México, but the Internet was abuzz with jokes and memes about what capital residents or natives would be called from now on.

Someone somewhere noted that the dictionary of the Real Academia Española — the ultimate authority on the proper use of Spanish — listed mexiqueño as the correct description of someone from Mexico City, where natives and residents are more commonly known by their nickname chilangos, as simply capitalinos, or defeños (of the DF). For many it’s anathema—mexiqueño sounds bad and is obviously way too similar to mexiquense which is what someone from the State of Mexico is called.

Someone else suggested that once the new constitution is drawn up and all the other legal and administrative procedures sorted out, a committee of some sort, presumably involving experts, could discuss and settle on an official name for Mexico City people. Sí güey, as a chilango might say.

See Also: Guide to Mexico City

Mexico in your inbox

Our free newsletter about Mexico brings you a monthly round-up of recently published stories and opportunities, as well as gems from our archives.


  1. Letty says

    Thank you for the update!

  2. B.Buckman says

    Curiously, where I live, the capitol is rarely referred to as “D.F.” or Ciudad Mexico but rather just plain Mexico. It seems to be locally understood that when one references a visit to Mexico the trip is to Mexico City. Don’t know if this is customary in other areas but in my area of Jalisco it is so.

    • John says

      To B.Buckman:

      Yes you are correct. Although I live in Mexico City, it is often referred to as simply “Mexico” in many other parts of the country, Jalisco included. Although some areas (mostly close to Mexico City) will refer to the metropolitan area as “DF” or “La Ciudad de Mexico”, it is safe to say that most Mexicans from the interior of the republic refer to the city as simply “Mexico”.

Comments are closed.