A recent article about expats in the Economist describes how Mexico is home to a larger number of American expats. Here are some key points:
As fewer Mexicans try their luck in el Norte, more Americans are migrating south. In 1990 fewer than 350,000 foreigners were living in Mexico. By 2010 there were nearly a million, most of them Americans. The recession back home has slowed the flow. But hotspots such as Baja California Sur, which offers a rugged coastline for silver-haired surfers, have taken on a strong gringo accent. San Miguel, with around 10,000 American residents, even boasts a US consular agency.
And what exactly is the draw for expats in Mexico, and what is their impact?
Expats are drawn by Mexico’s good weather and low cost of living, which translates into nicer houses and plenty of help to clean them. In some places immigrants have pushed house prices beyond the reach of most locals: San Miguel’s grander places go for well over $1m, an extraordinary sum in a pueblo in rural Mexico. But the newcomers have brought in tourism and provided employment, and many expats have set up charities for causes like children or the environment, says Irma Rosado, a local-government official.
What about all the drug violence in Mexico?
Short-stay tourists have been surprisingly gung-ho in the face of Mexico’s well-publicised violence. Last year a record 23.4m of them visited the country. Deep discounting has kept them coming; lower prices mean that income from tourism this year is about 6% down on 2008, the all-time high.
We all read and hear so much about Mexicans and citizens of other countries that head north into the United States. It’s interesting, and perhaps important, to read about American expats that head south into Mexico and other countries! Good article by the Economist.
Also, here is a great Q&A about American expats living in Mexico on Expat Exchange!