The 28th parallel  divides the Baja California peninsula into two states, Baja California (BC) north of the parallel and Baja California Sur (BCS) to the south. The northern state is sometimes called Baja California (Norte) or BCN to distinguish the state from the entire peninsula.
Mexicali  is the capital of Baja California (Norte), and the state consists of five municipios that are similar to U.S. counties: Tijuana, Rosarito, Ensenada, Mexicali, and Tecate. The state shares an international northern border with the United States.
Baja California Sur also consists of five municipios: La Paz, Los Cabos, Mulegé, Loreto, and Comondú. La Paz  is the state capital.
The 31 United Mexican States form a representative democracy, which functions according to a constitution that was ratified in 1917. There are three branches: executive, legislative, and judicial. Presidents serve for six-year terms with no reelection. The legislature consists of two houses, the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies. States and municipalities (counties) have some independence, but each one must follow a republican form of government based on a congressional system.
Three parties dominate Mexican politics today: the National Action Party (PAN), the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), and Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which was the single reigning party through most of the 20th century.
The present governor of BCN is José Guadalupe Osuna Millán (PAN), an economist and former representative in the federal Chamber of Deputies. He took office in 2007. In February 2011 Baja California Sur elected a new governor, Marcos Covarrubias, from President Felipe Calderón’s National Action Party (PAN). The election ended 12 years of rule by the leftist PRD. The former ruling party, PRI, won local elections in La Paz and Loreto, while the PRD was victorious in Mulegé and Los Cabos.
Tourism, commercial fishing, large-scale agriculture, and manufacturing in the border zone drive the economy of the Baja Peninsula. The mining of salt and other minerals plays a lesser role in the state of BCS. Organic agriculture is on the rise, with peppers, tomatoes, mangoes, basil, asparagus, and oranges among the crops that are being grown without the use of pesticides.
In the border region, hundreds of maquiladoras produce airplanes, electronics, automobiles, and medical devices. This part of the Baja economy is inseparably tied to that of the County of San Diego in the United States. People on both sides of the border regularly cross to the other side to work, shop, and travel.
People who live in Baja are well-off compared to the majority of their fellow citizens on the mainland. Per-capita income in both states ranks higher than the national average, while unemployment is the lowest in the country. Workers employed by the in-bond plants earn higher wages than at comparable jobs elsewhere in the country, though the pay is far less than what their U.S. counterparts would make on the other side of the border.
President Calderón has spent his term fighting the drug cartels and ridding the government of corrupt officials at every level. Immigration, corruption, and narco-terrorism continue to pose grave challenges to the Mexican economy. Some see these problems as isolated border issues, and they say that the increase in violence is a sign that the strategy to prevent the flow of illegal drugs is working. Others believe the entire country could be on the brink of collapse if it doesn’t stop the violence soon.