Mexico and Mexican society is characterized by extremes of wealth and poverty. Prosperity remains a dream for many Mexicans, and the socio-economic gap remains wide. Rural areas are often neglected. Many impoverished Mexicans have sought to cross the 3,000 km long border with the US in search of a better life. Tens of thousands of people have been killed in drug-related gang violence in the past decade. However, in spite of the challenges it faces as a developing country, Mexico is one of the chief economic and political forces in Latin America. It has a population of 116 million in the total area of 1.96 million sq km. Spanish is the major language of the country.