moving to mexico

Moving to Mexico

Mexico Score
Shithole Paradise

What is Mexico?

living in mexico

Mexico is a sunny and cheap Latin American country

Mexico, officially known as the United Mexican States (I didn’t know that either) is the 3rd and most southern part of North America, besides Canada and the US.

It’s the 13th largest country by area, has 126 million inhabitants and is the 10th most populous country, with the most Spanish speakers.

Mexico borders the United States, Guatemala, Belize and the Pacific Ocean, the Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico.

Like most other Latin American countries, it used to be a colony of Spain, until 1821 when they gained independence.

This led to major political and socioeconomic upheaval, a war against the US, civil unrest, a civil war, and other unpleasantness.

During the late 20th century it developed a neoliberal economic policy, and currently Mexico is a Federal presidential republic.

It’s still a developing country, but it has the 15th largest economy by nominal GDP in the world.

That’s great, but the US is its largest economic partner … which does not bode well for its future when the US collapses.

Mexico is certainly a regional powerhouse, a newly industrialized state which is part of NAFTA.

That said, the country still has issues such as social inequality, poverty, and extensive crime.

The ongoing conflict between government and drug cartels causes hundreds of thousands of deaths, and a proliferation of the criminal underground in many, many other countries.

If all drugs were legalized and taxed by the government, there would be no need for drug wars anymore… but that’s outside the scope of this article.

Cannabis, fortunately, is legal in Mexico for recreational use.

Mexico is a major tourist destination, with millions of people traveling there every year for its nice weather, beaches, great food, and plenty of cultural sites and artifacts.

Geographically speaking, Mexico has quite a lot of mountain ranges, more specifically the extensions of the Rocky Mountains.

There are only a few rivers and lakes and the climate is pretty varied, with both temperate and tropical zones.

Mexico is one of the world’s 17 megadiverse countries and it ranks 4th or 5th in natural biodiversity.

The country’s ruining a lot of this though, due to a high rate of deforestation.

Natural disasters such as hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes and volcanism are also a factor.

Mexico has the world’s third largest solar power potential, which is great if you envision a world without the need to rely on fossil fuels.

All areas of Mexico are connected by an extensive roadway network.

living in mexico map
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Requirements for moving to Mexico

The requirements for moving to Mexico are really relaxed, and anyone should be able to make this work.

Let’s start with the low cost of living: anyone making around $1000 a month should be able to live a decent life in Mexico, although as usual I would recommend you aim for at least double that, so around $2,000 a month.

Visa wise, you probably won’t need a visa for a stay up to 180 days. Unfortunately, this probably cannot be extended.

A great option for staying in Mexico long term is a Temporary Resident visa, which is valid for one year, renewable up to four years.

At this point, you can go for the Permanent version, for which you need have about $50,000 in a bank and/or an income of roughly $3,000 a month.

You can even get the Mexican nationality after 5 years of permanent residence!

I would say the only moderately difficult “requirement” is learning Spanish, and even that isn’t completely necessary.

Mexico scores rather poorly on the English Proficiency test, and it’s estimated that only 1 in 20 people can speak it at a professional level.

That being said, many people speak it at a basic level, especially in the tourist zones.

Hell, Spanish isn’t that hard to learn, so if I were to move to Mexico, I’d definitely learn it.

What is the cost of living in Mexico?

The cost of living in Mexico is really low compared to all Western countries.

If you earn around $1,000 per month, you should be able to get by as a single person.

If you want to live a more abundant lifestyle (which I would advise), I’d say you will need a budget of $2,000 to $3,000 a month.

The latter sum will also allow you to get Permanent Residence.

Benefits of living in Mexico

  • Steadily growing economy

    Although the current rate of economic growth has slowed down in recent years, the Mexican economy is still growing and has plenty of room to expand. By 2050, Mexico could become the world’s 5th or 7th largest economy

  • Legal cannabis

    Cannabis in Mexico is legal for private, recreational use

  • Great climate

    Mexico can be really hot, but on average the weather here is very clement and pleasant

  • Beautiful nature

    Throughout the country, you can find great beaches, extensive mountain ranges, and all sorts of other natural vistas which are worth exploring

  • Ancient history

    Centuries ago, the Aztec empire flourished in central Mexico, until the Spanish wiped them out. Some of the relics of this age can still be seen today, such as the magnificent Chichen Itza

  • Low cost of living

    Mexico’s a pretty cheap location to live, and if you earn around $1,000 a month, you should be able to manage. I’d advise you to aim for around $2,000 per month though

  • Great visa system

    Moving to Mexico is pretty easy, and you often won’t even need a visa for a stay of up to 180 days per year. Getting Temporary/Permanent Residence and Citizenship are also on the table

life in mexico for expats

Downsides of living in Mexico

  • Tied to the US

    The US is Mexico’s largest trade partner, which means that when the US economy struggles, so will the Mexican one

  • High crime rates

    Kidnappings, extrajudicial killings, attacks on journalists, corruption, drug wars … the list goes on and on, and Mexico can be a very unsafe country – if you travel to unsafe locations. If you don’t behave like an asshat and stick to the safer areas, you should be fine

  • Natural disasters

    Mexico has to deal with natural disasters such as hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions

  • Low English proficiency

    Only 5% of inhabitants speak English at a high level

Moving to Mexico - by the numbers

Mexico Score
Shithole Paradise

Climate: 8.8/10

Hours of sunshine (9/10) Temperature (7/10) Rainy days (9/10) Humidity (10/10)
17 C – 63 F

Level of English: 2/10

Very Low Proficiency

Cost of Living: 9/10

Minimum Annual Wage Average monthly cost single person

Taxes on international income: 8/10


If you establish a home in Mexico, you are considered a “Resident individual”, which means you are subject to Mexican income tax on your worldwide income, regardless of your nationality.

Economic growth: 4/10

Average GDP growth over the last 10 years: 2%

Safety: 6/10

Global Terrorism Index (8/10) Intentional homicide rate (2/10) Rape rate (8/10)

Visa: 7.3/10

  • Visa (8/10)

    No need to apply for a visa for a stay up to 180 days, but you cannot extend it

  • Permanent Residence (9/10)

    Mexico Temporary or Permanent Resident Visa. The former is valid for one year, and is renewable for up to four years. After this, you need to apply for a Permanent Resident Visa. This is reasonably easy to get, you just need to have roughly $50,000 in your bank and/or an income of around $3,000 per month

  • Citizenship (5/10)

    Possible if you are a permanent resident, after 5 years you can go for naturalization. Need to speak Spanish. Keep in mind that as a naturalized citizen in Mexico, you cannot have dual nationality

living in mexico

How is life for expats in Mexico?

Life in Mexico for expats can be truly pleasant.

Many American expats move here to retire, because it’s a sunny and cheap location close to their native country.

Mexico is doing a lot of things right, and it looks like an awesome place to live – with several caveats.

The crime rates are definitely elevated, but once you put them next to the crime rates in multiple large American cities, they’re not even that high.

Don’t be an idiot, and Mexico should be perfectly safe for you.

The natural disasters could hinder you, but they aren’t frequent or ubiquitous enough to really matter.

The low English proficiency is only an issue if you do not speak Spanish.

As I’ve mentioned ad nauseam on this blog, Spanish isn’t hard to learn, and everyone who wants to become a citizen of the world can benefit from mastering this language.

There are so many great nations to plant flags in where Spanish is the main language, so the advantages extend well beyond Mexico.

Being tied to the US economy isn’t a great situation, but if you have a location independent income derived from other nations, this shouldn’t affect you too much.

So, as you can tell, the biggest downsides of Mexico aren’t really that big of a deal, and can be mostly mitigated by having your shit in order.

That leaves the advantages, such as great weather, generally friendly natives, a low cost of living and a great visa system.

Would I recommend Mexico as one of your flags?

Despite the low score this nation gets, I certainly would recommend this country – provided you speak Spanish.

That will make your life so much easier.

In summation: Mexico’s a viable option to live in, or just plant some flags in. I’m certainly considering it.

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4 thoughts on “Moving to Mexico

  1. C

    Naturalized Mexicans cannot have other nationalities as well. Important downside to note.

    1. Stephen

      You are correct, thanks for the addition. I’ve included it, and adjusted the score accordingly

      1. C

        I have been doing some research on foreign citizenships. Apparently the ones that allow dual citizenship while not having a residency requirement are relatively few in number.

  2. Bobbigirl

    Since moving to Mexico in 2020 I have seen surveillance systems being rapidly installed, literally, EVERYWHERE. My head buzzes constantly! Plus, here in San Carlos, a hospital is quickly being built and, in this once sleepy little seaside town, 6 new pharmacies, to add to the existing 4, have opened. The construction of new homes, condos and hotels is over the top. It is like living in California. Time to move on.

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