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Expat Insider - The World Through Expat Eyes

Mexico Is the World’s Best Country for Expats

Expats find it extremely easy to get settled in Mexico and are happy with their personal finances.

Voting Mexico first in the Expat Insider 2022 survey overall, expats are wowed by the friendliness of its residents: it comes first in the Local Friendliness, Finding Friends, and Culture & Welcome Subcategories. Exactly nine in ten expats (90%) describe the local residents as friendly (vs. 66% globally), and 75% find it easy to make friends among them (vs. 42% globally). In fact, 28% have mainly local friends, which is eleven percentage points more than the global average (17%).

The majority of expats in Mexico has a personal support network (80% vs. 59% globally) and feels at home there (86% vs. 62% globally). “Mexicans are very friendly people and eager to help when you have a problem,” states an expat from Armenia, and a respondent from the US notes that “when you make friends with a Mexican, you have a friend for life”.

Easy to Afford

Mexico ranks second worldwide in the Personal Finance Index, just behind Vietnam, and more than three-quarters of expats (77%) are happy with their financial situation (vs. 60% globally). It might help that they are also satisfied with the general cost of living (2nd) and the affordability of housing (4th). While 70% find housing affordable (vs. 39% globally), 77% also say it is easy for expats to find (vs. 54% globally).

Digital & Bureaucratic Obstacles

The Housing Subcategory (4th) is just one of the topics covered in the Expat Essentials Index, in which Mexico (11th) narrowly misses out on the top 10. While 64% found it easy to get a visa in order to move to Mexico (vs. 56% globally), they struggle with the local bureaucracy (53% unhappy vs. 39% globally) and with opening a bank account (33% unhappy vs. 21% globally). With 16% of expats saying that it is hard to pay without cash, which is twice the global average (8%), Mexico does not perform well in the Digital Life Subcategory (47th). “It is hard to accomplish things online, and the postal system is unreliable,” reports a US American expat. In fact, a third of respondents in Mexico (33%) are dissatisfied with the availability of administrative services online (vs. 21% globally).

Great Career Opportunities

Mexico seems to be a good choice for career-driven expats: 60% rate the local job market positively (vs. 47% globally), and 68% are happy with their personal career opportunities (vs. 58% globally). Based on their industry, qualifications, and role, more than seven in ten (72%) also feel that they are paid fairly (vs. 62% globally). In fact, 30% are even extremely satisfied with this factor (vs. 23% globally). The most common sectors expats in Mexico work in are education (16%), IT (14%), and finance (13%).

An Open & Enjoyable Business Culture

Expats in Mexico also enjoy the second-best work-life balance worldwide, right after Denmark (1st). Most expats are satisfied with this factor (77% happy vs. 62% globally). In fact, the average working hours of full-time and part-time workers combined are just 37.7 hours per week, compared to 40.2 hours globally. Close to seven in ten expats (69%) are happy with their working hours (vs. 63% globally). “I enjoy that we do not work with so much pressure here,” says an expat from Portugal. Mexico’s work culture also sounds quite progressive: according to expats, the local business culture encourages creativity (59% vs. 51% globally), supports flexibility (61% vs. 60% globally), and promotes independent work (50% vs. 45% globally).

Outstanding Leisure Options but an Unprotected Environment

Mexico ranks worst — but still above average — in the Quality of Life Index (24th). Expats find the Leisure Options (2nd) outstanding, including the culinary variety and dining options (92% happy vs. 77% globally), the culture and nightlife (84% happy vs. 67% globally), and the opportunities for recreational sports (81% happy vs. 75% globally).

While the climate and weather (91% happy vs. 62% globally), as well as the natural environment (90% happy vs. 83% globally), are great, expats in Mexico are unhappy with the urban environment (22% unhappy vs. 17% globally) and the local air quality (36% unhappy vs. 19% globally). In fact, 37% believe that the government does not support policies to protect the environment, compared to 18% globally. A US American expat dislikes “the disrespect to the planet inherent in not caring for the immediate environment by controlling litter, trash, and urban waste”.

Unsafe & Challenging to Get Around

The Travel & Transit Subcategory (24th) is a mixed bag for Mexico. Expats find it neither easy and safe to get around on foot and/or by bicycle (22% unhappy vs. 13% globally), nor are they happy with the infrastructure for cars (26% unhappy vs. 13% globally). While the availability of public transportation is rated just about average (75% happy vs. 73% globally), 85% at least find it easy to afford (vs. 70% globally).

Lastly, Safety & Security (41st) is a major issue: close to three in ten expats (28%) rate the country’s political stability negatively (vs. 15% globally). Additionally, one in five expats (20%) feels unsafe (vs. 9% globally), ranking Mexico 49th for personal safety. Only expats in Kenya (50th), Brazil (51st), and South Africa (52nd) feel even less safe.

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