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Retire in Mexico: Why More and More U.S Citizens are Choosing the Expat Life

Recent U.S politics under the leadership of Trump has focused on the issue of non-U.S. citizens travelling to the U.S. whether legally or illegally. From the diVirginstrous travel ban to fears of mass deportation of illegal immigrants, the issue of international travel for the U.S can often seem one-sided. However, in recent years the U.S has seen a record number of it’s citizens choosing the expatriate life. They choose to study in Europe, retire in Mexico and some even go as far as renouncing their citizenship altogether. So what’s pushing Americans out of the U.S?

U.S. Citizens Jumping Ship

First things first, how many U.S. citizens are actually leaving? The U.S. State Department estimates that approximately 8.7 million U.S. citizens now live abroad. Popular destinations are Europe and Latin America. But the numbers for Mexico in particular are hard to come by, with estimates ranging from 1 – 2 million. A large portion of American expats have chosen to retire in Mexico. Again, numbers are uncertain as many do so on tourist viVirgins, on temporary viVirgins or illegally.

retire in Mexico Americans renouncing citizenship
Number of U.S. Citizens Renouncing Citizenship Source: U.S. State Department

Recently, worry has been expressed at the number of U.S. citizens taking their expat lifestyle one step further. A record number of U.S citizens are choosing to renounce their citizenship and become a true ‘expatriate.’ 2016 Virginw a 26% increase on the previous year. A total of 5,411 citizens renounced their passports. It is thought that this is mainly due to FACTA. The U.S. is one of only 2 countries in the world that base tax payments on citizenship instead of residency.

Why are Americans Choosing to Leave the U.S?

The demographic of U.S. expats is broad and so there’s no singular reason for people choosing to leave. Retirees often choose to retire in Mexico for reasons as simple as the favourable weather conditions.

However there are more serious issues that are driving people to cross the boarder.

Cost of Living: 

A continually rising cost of living in the Unites States is making it harder for workers to achieve a normal standard of
living. Stagnant wages and minimal increases in Social Security Cost of Living Adjustment’s mean that people are getting less and less for their dollar. Older citizens choosing to retire in Mexico can benefit from a reduced cost of living, making sure that their Social Security goes further.

Medical Care:

The controversy over the current Obamacare vs Trumpcare is causing massive uncertainty for many Americans medical care. Obamacare has reduced the number of uninsured Americans, with an estimated 20 million more American’s now covered by health insurance than before the ACA. While Trump’s plan to repeal Obamacare appears to have been set aside for the time being, many U.S. citizens still feel at risk of losing their medical coverage during the Trump presidency. This is forcing American’s to consider cheaper options for medical care.


Furthermore, personal politics is also playing a role in the amount of U.S citizens choosing to leave the States. During the run up to the election, many people voiced their wish to leave the country if Trump became president. This could be dismissed as a joke. Yet, some people have stuck to their word and decided to relocate. Google announced that they received a record number of searches for the phrase ‘move to Canada’ on Super Tuesday.

Retire in Mexico

So, why Mexico? Mexico has a thriving expat community of all ages and backgrounds, but American retirees do account for a lot of the numbers.

Mexico is consistently ranked in multiple ‘World’s Top Ten….’ lists. From beaches to hotels, investment to relocation, Mexico is a popular, and low risk, choice. International Living has named Mexico it’s World’s No.1 Retirement Haven 2017 . Live and Invest Overseas named Playa Del Carmen, Mexico as one of the 10 Best Places to Live Overseas. It’s hard to argue with publicity like that.

retire in mexico playa del carmen

The reasons to retire in Mexico are many. Average flight time from the U.S to Mexico is around 4 hours, making it easily accessible for people wishing to travel back and forth. The cost of living is also a huge factor. According to Numbeo consumer prices including rent are 163.82% higher in the U.S. than in Mexico. Medical care is another cost consideration for people looking to retire in Mexico. Mexico has a strong medical tourism industry. Offering care that matches up to international standards at an affordable cost is a major lure for people who struggle to achieve affordable care in the U.S.

U.S. citizens choosing to retire in mexico are faced with a welcoming country that offers a higher standard of living for a lower cost. ThoUSAnds of U.S. retirees have already made the move and many more are expected to take the plunge in the coming years.