Participants in the annual Huapango dance competition in Pinal de Amoles
While indigenous people make up a very small percentage of the population of the region, the Huasteca culture has had a strong impact since the pre Hispanic period. Most of the region is considered to be at least nominally the far western part of this cultural region. Huapango is the dominant native musical and dance style in the Sierra Gorda, with festivals dedicated to it in Xichú, Pinal de Amoles, San Joaquín, where Huasteca influence is strongest. Most of the population lives in very small rural communities, many under 500 inhabitants. There are no notable social conflicts in this area, which is free of problems related to the illegal drug trade that afflict other parts of the country.
Most still make a living from agriculture, livestock and mining and in some areas, these traditional economies are protected by law. However, the extreme poverty of the area has forced many, especially younger residents, to migrate to seek employment. This has led to many areas becoming dependent on remittances sent back home, much of it from the United States. In some areas, one in four households is supported by remittance money.