Join now
Expat Insider - The World Through Expat Eyes

Mexico Continues to Delight Expats in 2024

After two years in first place, Mexico concedes the top spot in 2024 — but it’s still home to the happiest expats.

Close to nine in ten expats in Mexico (89%) say they are happy, over 20 percentage points more than the global average of 68%. What makes Mexico so special? It ranks in the top 10 of four out of five indices, proving expats love their life there — despite room for improvement in some areas of the Quality of Life Index (25th).

How Expats Rate Life in Mexico

The Warmth of the People

Since the first Expat Insider survey in 2014, Mexico has regularly ranked well for Ease of Settling In — and 2024 is no exception. Beaten only by Costa Rica, Mexico (2nd) receives top marks across all factors of this index. An impressive 86% of respondents rate the general friendliness of the Mexican population favorably (vs. 63% globally), and a similar share (85%) feel welcome (vs. 63% globally).

“I love the warmth of its people and climate.” – US American respondent

Getting used to the local culture (1st) and finding local friends (2nd) are also not a problem. It’s hardly surprising that over three-quarters (77%) feel at home in Mexico — nearly 20 percentage points more than the global average of 58%.

Settling Down Has Its Ups & Downs

There’s more to feeling settled abroad than a warm welcome. Essentials like housing and the local language also play a key role. And although Mexico ranks 7th in the Expat Essentials Index, it’s a bit of a mixed bag when it comes to the individual factors.

So while it’s not particularly easy to live in Mexico without knowing Spanish — only 43% agree it’s easy to get by without speaking the local language compared to 48% globally — close to two-thirds of expats (65%) consider Spanish easy to learn (vs. 38% globally). Respondents also highlight that housing is both affordable (10th) and easy to find (12th). And getting a visa (5th) to move there in the first place is hardly an issue.

However, they’re less enthusiastic when it comes to other admin topics: close to half (47%) say it’s difficult to deal with the bureaucracy (vs. 42% globally), and just 54% find it easy to open a local bank account (vs. 60% globally). Speaking of money: Mexico lands among the 10 worst-performing countries when it comes to cashless payment options (47th out of 53).

Finances & Work? Ningún Problema

Around one in ten expats (11%) moved to Mexico to retire. Low living costs may play a role here, as 62% of respondents rate this factor favorably (vs. 40% globally). In fact, 71% are satisfied with their financial situation in Mexico (vs. 54% globally).

Expats in Mexico are less likely to still be working compared to the global average (56% vs. 69%). Of the ones that work, 68% find they’re paid fairly based on their industry, qualifications, and role — 10 percentage points above the global average of 58%.

Overall, Mexico’s 8th place in the Working Abroad Index shows a marked improvement from its 22nd place in 2023. Expats not only appreciate the local job market (8th) and their personal career opportunities (5th), but they’re also satisfied with their job (6th). And they really love their work–life balance: 43% are completely satisfied (vs. 25% globally)!

Safety Remains a Big Drawback

Not all is perfect in Mexico, though. Expats may love the climate and weather (85% rate it positively vs. 58% globally), but they regard the air quality negatively (46th) and don't agree that the Mexican government supports policies to protect the environment (47th).

Similarly, excellent Leisure Options (2nd) can’t make up for safety concerns: less than two-thirds (66%) feel safe in Mexico, compared to four in five expats worldwide (80%).

“I got robbed recently … that has been hugely stressful. But it’s the only time in 24 years that I have felt unsafe.” – Canadian expat

These mixed results, together with average views on Healthcare (22nd) and Travel & Transport (34th), rank Mexico at a modest 25th place for Quality of Life.

The Typical Expat in Mexico

Further Reading