Sunday, June 23, 2024

Survey finds over 80% of expats ‘very satisfied’ with life in Mexico

The vast majority of Mexico-based foreign retirees and other older expats are satisfied with their life here and feel safe in the country, according to the results of a recent survey.

Conducted by the real estate company Far Homes and the Expats in Mexico website, the survey also found that most expats moved here for the good weather, the affordable cost of living and the culture and lifestyle Mexico offers.

Ajijic, Jalisco
View of Lake Chapala and Ajijic, a popular retirement location in Mexico. (Somniphobiac/Creative Commons)

More than six in 10 respondents – 85% of whom are retirees and 95% of whom are 55 or older – intend to stay in Mexico for the rest of their lives rather than return to the countries where they previously lived, the United States or Canada in most cases.

Respondents identified a range of dislikes about living in Mexico, but it was clear that the positives outweigh the negatives for the majority.

Let’s take a more in-depth look at the results of the Far Homes/Expats in Mexico “7th Annual Expats in Mexico Survey.”

Why do retirees (and other expats) move to Mexico? 

The survey respondents – men and women in almost equal numbers – were asked why they moved to Mexico and directed to choose all applicable reasons from a selection of 10.

Almost nine in 10 respondents – 86.3% – cited “climate and weather,” while 79.9% selected “cost of living” and 74.1% chose “Mexican culture and lifestyle.”

“When it comes to reasons for moving to Mexico, it seems good weather reigns supreme,” said Far Homes CEO Chet Kittleson.

The fourth and fifth most popular reasons for moving to Mexico were “health care cost and quality” (32.4%) and “safety and crime” (20.9%).

Far Homes survey data
When asked about their decision to move to Mexico, the overwhelming majority chose weather and cost of living, as well as Mexican culture and lifestyle. (Far Homes)

The other five reasons presented to respondents were selected by less than 10% of the surveyed cohort. They were “transportation and infrastructure”; “frustration with government and politics”; “to be closer to family”; “work and economy”; and “schools and childcare.”

Cost of living in Mexico

Around two-thirds of survey respondents said they pay monthly rent of 20,000 pesos (about US $1,175) or less, and about a quarter reported paying less than 10,000 pesos (about US $590).

Close to 30% of those polled said they spend between 10,000 and 20,000 pesos per month on groceries and eating out, while about 10% reported spending less than 10,000 pesos per month on food.

At the other end of the scale, almost 10% of foreigners said they spend more than 50,000 pesos (about US $2,940) per month on rent, and 15% reported exceeding that amount in their monthly expenditure on groceries and restaurant dining.

According to online consumer prices website Numbeo, “the cost of groceries and restaurant dining in the U.S. are 75% and 105% more expensive than in Mexico, respectively,” the survey report said.

Puerto Vallarta is one popular beach destination for foreigners who retire in Mexico. (Nicole Herrero / Unsplash)

More than half of surveyed expats – 56% – said that living in Mexico has improved their financial situation.

Among the minority of respondents who work, 61.3% said they have a better work-life balance in Mexico, while an additional 19.4% said their work-life balance was the same as in their home country.

Cost of living in Mexico, as in many countries around the world, has recently risen due to inflation. Two Mexican cities, Querétaro and Aguascalientes, were the biggest movers up the rankings in the “Worldwide Cost of Living 2023” survey, conducted by The Economist Intelligence Unit.

However, as the survey results indicate, the cost of living in Mexico remains lower than in many other countries, including the United States and Canada.

How satisfied are foreigners with their retirement in Mexico?

More than 70% of retirees said they were “very satisfied” with their retirement in Mexico, while almost 26% indicated they were “somewhat satisfied.”

Far Homes survey chart
The majority of respondents expressed they were “very” or “somewhat” satisfied with retirement in Mexico. (Far Homes)

Thus, 96% of surveyed retirees indicated they were satisfied to some extent with their lives in Mexico.

Only 2.8% of retirees expressed regret over their decision to move to Mexico.

A map published in the survey report showed that the Mexico-based retirees and other respondents live all over the country, including in popular tourism destinations such as Cancún, Puerto Vallarta and Los Cabos.

Health care cost and quality 

Almost nine in ten survey respondents – 89% – indicated that they spend 5,000 pesos (about US $290) or less per month on health care including medications.

Just over one-third of those polled said they spend less than 1,000 pesos (about US $60) per month, while 22.5% said they spend between 1,000 and 2,000 pesos.

Elderly man being vaccinated
Health care in Mexico was rated well on affordability and quality by the majority of expats. (Health Ministry BCS)

The survey report highlighted that health care in Mexico is much more affordable than in the United States, “where the average cost of healthcare is about [US] $12,914 per person, per year or $1,072 per month.”

“We’ve previously reported that American expats in Mexico are saving about [US] $8,000 per year by moving and that still appears to be the case,” the report said.

“Those cost savings don’t seem to sacrifice healthcare quality, though, because most of our expats surveyed with experience using the Mexican system say they are satisfied with their doctors and hospitals.”

Asked to rate hospitals in Mexico, 56% of respondents said they were excellent, very good or good, and 43% said they had no experience of them. Just 1% rated hospitals in Mexico as “not very good.”

The survey didn’t differentiate between public and private hospitals, but it would seem likely that most Mexico-based retirees and other expats received treatment in private ones.

Four in five respondents rated doctors in Mexico as excellent, very good or good, while 18% said they had no experience with one. Only 1% of respondents said that doctors in Mexico are “not very good.”

Expats’ pet peeves 

The survey respondents were asked what they disliked most about living in Mexico and were directed to choose all applicable responses, among which was “nothing.”

Almost one-third selected “transport and infrastructure” as a dislike, while just under a quarter chose “frustration with government and politics” and “safety and crime.”

About one in six respondents said they didn’t like being far away from family, while close to one in 10 indicated there wasn’t anything they disliked about living in Mexico.

Among the other dislikes were “Mexican culture and lifestyle” (8.6%); “health care cost and quality” (3.6%); “cost of living” (2.9%); and “climate and weather” (1.4%).

The survey also canvassed opinions on President López Obrador, who has been in office for just over five years and has maintained a strong approval rating throughout his presidency. The majority of respondents – 61% – had no opinion on the president or “didn’t know [him],” according to the survey report.

“Of those who had an opinion, our expats were split fairly evenly on the issue at 49% approval and 51% disapproval of the President,” the report said.

Views on safety in Mexico

Violence is a well-known problem in Mexico, but 55.6% of survey respondents said they feel “very safe” in Mexico and 40.8% said they feel “somewhat safe.”

Far Homes survey chart
The survey asked expats about how safe they feel in Mexico. (Far Homes)

Only 4.2% said they feel “somewhat unsafe” living in Mexico, while no respondents chose the “very unsafe” option.

Four in five expats “very satisfied” with life in Mexico

Just over 80% of respondents said they were “very satisfied” with the decision to move to Mexico, while an additional 15.1% said they were “somewhat satisfied.”

Just over six in 10 respondents “said they had no plans to leave [Mexico] or plan on staying for life,” according to the survey report,  while about three in 10 “said they ‘maybe’ would consider a move.”

Only 8.7% of those polled said that their move to Mexico is temporary.

Far Homes/ Expats in Mexico didn’t reveal how many people responded to the survey, but said that participants included “Facebook expat group members, email subscribers, and other expat groups on social media.”

Just over 80% of the respondents are originally from the United States, with many of the remainder from Canada.

Mexico News Daily 


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