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Expat Insider - The World Through Expat Eyes

A Fiesta with the Locals in Mexico

The friendly locals and pleasant culture may make expats feel welcome, but the country is not rated as the safest place to live.
  • Over half give friendliness of locals highest rating
  • Climate and social life gain widespread approval
  • Low cost of living leads to financial bliss
  • Costs of education and children’s safety viewed with concern
  • 30% of respondents retired

Expat Statistics 2016

Expat Statistics for Mexico — infographic

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A Warm Welcome

Mexico retains the top spot in the Ease of Settling In Index for the third year running, scoring well in several subcategories such as Finding Friends (first) and Feeling Welcome (second). Expats in Mexico feel quite at home in the local culture — over four in five (82%) give this factor a favorable rating — and an impressive 33% also agree completely that it is easy to settle down there, more than double the global average of 16%. This is in addition to the friendliness of the population, which is rated as very good by 53% of respondents compared to just 26% globally. Not only is meeting the locals seemingly easy in Mexico but so is communication with them — over three-fifths of the respondents (63%) generally agree that it is easy to learn the local language.

“Life seems more relaxed and I actually feel the people seem much happier here than in many other countries.”

Good Quality of Life, but Better Be Careful

There seems to be a lot on offer for those who choose to live in Mexico. The country ranks fourth in the Leisure Options subcategory of the Quality of Life Index (in which it comes 22nd). The climate and weather rate predictably well with 51% going so far as to call it very good compared to 24% globally. In addition, more than double the worldwide percentage rate the socializing and leisure activities in Mexico as very good (42% vs. a global 20%).

It’s not all roses, though. Before making the move to Mexico, 42% considered personal safety to be a potential disadvantage compared to the global average of just 11%. This difference is, however, not so pronounced after expats have experienced life in Mexico. Fewer than one in five (19%) have something negative to say about this factor, a percentage that is, while higher, at least not too far off the worldwide average of 12%. Expats also have a less than rosy view of the political stability in Mexico: almost a quarter of respondents (24%) consider this factor to be generally negative.

“In certain places or cities, crime is an issue; also traffic in Mexico City is a little bit of a hassle.”

Finances: Attracting and Retaining Expats

Although the situation of personal safety and politics may be less than favorable, the financial situation is another story. In the Personal Finance and Cost of Living Indices, Mexico ranks eighth and fifth, respectively. In comparison to the global average, expats in Mexico are twice as likely to say they are completely satisfied with their financial situation (30% vs. 15%). The cost of living is likely a contributing factor to this satisfaction and was, indeed, considered the biggest possible benefit by 76% of respondents prior to moving to Mexico. In fact, 10% of respondents state financial reasons as their most important reason for making the move. They weren’t wrong. Only 7% find the cost of living in general to be bad compared to the global average of close to a third (32%)! Similarly, while globally 36% of expats find the cost of housing in their respective countries of residence to be overall bad, in Mexico the percentage is much lower at just 8%.

A Mixed Bag for Families

Expat parents show mixed opinions about family life in Mexico. The majority (52%) reports an extremely friendly attitude towards families with children and the country ranks well in the Family Life Index (18th out of 45) in general and the Costs of Childcare & Education subcategory in particular (7th). Unfortunately, while the costs may be acceptable, expat parents are less enthusiastic about the quality of education, with 13% rating it as very bad, compared to just 3% globally. This is in addition to the significantly lower than average rating for children’s safety, with only 53% of expat parents in Mexico regarding this factor positively while around the globe three-quarters are overall happy with this.

Offering Better Than Average Job Satisfaction

When asked about their main employment status, the largest group of respondents in Mexico (30%) actually indicates they are retired, perhaps explaining why 40% intend to stay possibly forever, nine percentage points more than the global average. Those working full time in Mexico work slightly more hours than the global average — 45.6 hours per week compared to 44.6. Despite potentially long hours, those working in Mexico are on the whole satisfied with their careers: the country is in second place in the Job & Career subcategory, with three-quarters of those who work in Mexico saying they are overall satisfied with their jobs. A quarter even cites complete satisfaction with their job compared to a global average of 16%.

Further Reading