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Expat Insider - The World Through Expat Eyes

Mexico: Delighted Expats despite Poor Safety

Respondents in Mexico are the happiest worldwide — it’s easy to make friends and the cost of living is low. But expats are concerned about their personal safety.

Top Findings

  • Mexico ranks 2nd out of 59 destinations, right after Taiwan (1st).
  • 85% of expats find it easy to settle down in Mexico (vs. 62% globally).
  • But a fifth (20%) is concerned about their personal safety (vs. 8% globally).
  • Three in ten respondents in Mexico (30%) are already retired (vs. 11% globally).
  • 91% of expats are satisfied with the climate and weather (vs. 66% globally).

Easy to Afford, Easy to Make Friends

Mexico ranks 2nd out of 59 destinations worldwide, right after Taiwan (1st). It even ranks as the best country for expats in the Ease of Settling In Index (1st): 85% find it easy to settle down in Mexico (vs. 62% globally), and another 78% say it is easy to make local friends (vs. 44% globally). A US American expat says that “the culture and friendliness of the local people” is their favorite thing about living in Mexico.

I love the culture and friendliness of the local people.

Mexico also does well in the Personal Finance (2nd) and Cost of Living (4th) Indices. In fact, four in five expats (80%) are satisfied with their financial situation (vs. 64% globally), and 90% say their disposable household income is enough or more than enough to cover their living expenses (vs. 77% globally).

Worries about Environment & Personal Safety

Mexico performs slightly below average in the Quality of Life Index (31st). It comes in 42nd place in the Quality of the Environment subcategory, with 27% of expats being unhappy with the water and sanitation infrastructure (vs. 12% globally). Close to a third (32%) also give the air quality a bad rating; one in ten (10%) even consider it very bad (vs. a global 20% and 4%, respectively). Additionally, 13% of respondents find it difficult to pay without cash (vs. 9% globally), and only half (50%) rate the availability of online administrative and government services favorably (vs. 63% globally). For this reason, Mexico lands in 34th place in the Digital Life subcategory despite good results for the ease of getting a local mobile phone number (3rd) and the availability of unrestricted access to online services (12th).

I do not feel safe on the streets.

In the Safety & Security subcategory, Mexico even lands in the bottom 10 (51st), with 20% of expats concerned about their personal safety (vs. 8% globally). In fact, an Irish expat says that they “do not feel safe on the streets”.

The Happiest Place on Earth

On the upside, most expats in Mexico (89%) consider themselves happy with their life in general (vs. 75% globally), placing the country first worldwide for the Personal Happiness subcategory. A US American expat claims, “I JUST LOVE MEXICO: the dogs, the horses, the people, the music, the roosters, the culture, the architecture, the parades!” Moreover, the majority is happy with the local leisure options (82% vs. 72% globally) and praise the climate and weather (91% vs. 66% globally). This enhances their quality of life and leads to a second place for Mexico in the Leisure Options subcategory.

When it comes to work, opinions are somewhat more divided, with Mexico ranking 22nd out of 59 countries in the Working Abroad Index. While four in five expats (80%) are satisfied with their job in general (vs. 68% globally), a below-average share (54% vs. 62% globally) give the state of the local economy a favorable rating. Luckily, 30% of respondents do not need to worry about work anymore — they are already retired (vs. 11% globally).

The Impact of COVID-19 on Expat Life

During the current pandemic, roughly half the expats in Mexico (53%) are satisfied with the official communication regarding COVID-19, 13 percentage points less than the global average (66%). Out of those who are unsatisfied with the official communication, most respondents (72%) state that the information offered was unclear, confusing, or contradictory (vs. 67% globally). Most rely on social media (43% vs. 40% globally), local news (40% vs. 47% globally), and expat news (39% vs. 32% globally) in addition to or instead of official channels (31% vs. 48% globally).

Further Reading