Americans are settling in Mexico at rates not seen since records on the topic began in 2010, Bloomberg reports.
Temporary residency permits in Mexico soared 85% from 2019, the year before the pandemic.
While US authorities struggle to contain record migrant encounters at the border with Mexico, its southern neighbor granted 8,412 permits to US citizens through September, compared to 4,550 in the first three quarters of 2019, according to a Mexican government migration report.
And that’s an undercount. The true number of new US expats is unknown because the population is too fluid to be counted.
More US citizens also received permanent residence in Mexico this year, up 48% from 2019 to 5,418.
What started off as a pandemic escape for Americans seeking affordable destinations with few COVID-19 restrictions seems to have staying power. The increased presence of Americans, many of them remote workers, has implications for everything from the tourism industry to real estate prices.
Unlike Mexicans in the US, Americans can work in the Latin American nation for as much as six consecutive months under their tourist visas provided they are paid abroad. And while technically it isn’t allowed, many choose to go back to the US briefly and reenter Mexico to renew their six-month period in the country and keep working.
Overall, 10 million American tourists flew into Mexico through September, an increase of almost 24% from the same period in 2019, according to Anahuac University. International tourists overall spent $17.7 billion in Mexico through August of this year, 13% more than in the same period in 2019, according to the tourism ministry.
The top destination for these temporary American residents in Mexico isn’t a beach resort, but the country’s capital, Mexico City. They obtained 1,619 permits in the nation’s capital through September. That’s already more than the 1,417 from all of 2019.
The rise in Americans staying longer troubles some locals concerned about the cost of living, especially in some of the historic neighborhoods that are their prime destinations in Mexico City. Social media is rife with complaints about the so-called digital nomads and their assumed impact on rising rents.
In the leafy, walkable Condesa neighborhood, a favorite of well-heeled foreigners, apartment rents rose by 32% between January and June, according to a report from real estate marketplace Propiedades.com. Nationwide annual inflation stayed at 8.7% in September.
More Canadians are also staying on in Mexico. Through September, 2,042 Canadians obtained temporary residence permits nationwide, a 137% increase from the same period in 2019.
The US State Department said this year that 1.6 million Americans live in Mexico and that the country is the top destination for American travelers. Mexico’s 2020 Census counted 797,266 US citizens including 471,998 US-born children between ages 5 and 19.