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Migration from Another Point of View: A New Community

28 July 2011 5 Comments

On the latest news there has been a lot of discussion about the data that shows a significant decrease in the number of migrants from Mexico towards the US. Mexican migration toward the US in 2000 was 500,000 on average annually. Last year it came down to 100,000.  And there are approximately only 9.5 million Mexican born citizens living in the USA.

There are many good explanations as to why we are experiencing this decrease. They go from pointing out the everyday lower salary differential between both countries, the surveillance increase at the frontier, the better opportunities and income levels in Mexico, the demographic changes in Mexico, to even the organized effect crime that makes migration less attractive, among many others.

But there is another relevant phenomenon that is not much talked about, and maybe it’s even more interesting. It is the American migration towards Mexico and everything points to show that it will considerably grow within the next years. And though it is a fact since the end of the XIX Century, it is a little studied phenomenon. In fact, according to Dr. Sheila L. Croucher it hasn’t even been properly named migration; American immigrants in Mexico are referred to with euphemisms like “expats” or “American community in Mexico” or “retired Americans”, names that avoid showing its real permanent immigrant condition in their new country. Perhaps, the idea behind this attitude might be that no one would want to migrate to Mexico in a definite way, but reality bluntly shows another thing.

According to available data from Department of State, Mexico is the main destiny for Americans that decide to live outside their country; more than a million Americans living throughout Mexican territory. And there are various reasons that motivate Americans to come to Mexico. Among them there are the lower cost of living, home proximity and the access to a great source of culture. Other factors are also relevant for any immigrant to take into account when choosing Mexico as a their home and within them are Mexico’s level of human development, economic progress, democratization environment, access to quality healthcare and the everyday improved access to technology that allows communication regardless of distances.

So according to the main forecasts, American migration heading Mexico will do no other thing but accelerate.

On the one hand, if considering the Mexican population aging process, technically by 2030 it will not be in conditions anymore to send Mexicans to the US. On the other hand, estimates of the 2008 US Population Census show there are today more than 40.2 millions baby boomers and in 2030, there will be more than 72 millions with 65 years or more that will be considering retirement. If only 5% of all of those baby boomers consider Mexico for their retirement, we will have an additional population of 3.6 millions of Americans living in Mexico. For every two Mexicans living in the US, there will be one American living in Mexico.

Sharing citizens on both sides of the border becomes both a challenge and an opportunity for our countries. We have yet to build a community furthermore than what we have done and said we will do til today.

This definitely breaks our paradigms regarding Mexico-US relationship. The issues over which our relationship has been based, like organized crime, frontier security and the south-north migration tend to belong to a soon to be far away past. The real future of our relationship is inexorably related to our migrants and immingrants; Mexicans in the US and Americans in Mexico, and what is possible to create for both countries, with our people.



  • Geordie said:


    Great stuff, as always, and very thought provoking. I’m not American, but my wife is, and I’m friends with many Americans, Canadians and Mexicans. At this point, I’d much rather live in Mexico than the US. Why? Because I spent many years in the US, mostly in the west looking for something that was real, and all I could find was a cookie cutter culture where you could be air dropped on to the strip of any town US, and it looks the same. Walmarts, Home Depot, McDonalds, and tract housing, it all looks the same whether you’re in Texas, eastern Nevada, Montana, North Carolina, or New York, it’s all the same.

    Mexico has a much richer cultural history, and heritage that more closely resembles Europe to me, where I’ve also lived. Mexico went through it’s formative development BEFORE the age of the automobile, so the towns are more closely knit, designed so that people can walk into the zocalo and meet people in the local community market in the town plaza on Saturday mornings. Recently, I found my self in Michigan and the only thing we could find that we could do was eat at a franchise restaurant for food. There’s no comparison really. Yes, the US is great country, the world wouldn’t be the same without it, but there are definitely other choices, and Mexico is to me one of the best kept secrets around.

    Viva Mexico, and God Bless the US, may their relations remain strong.


  • Edwina Parker said:

    Wonderful article! Thank you for sharing. I have no doubt American’s are choosing Mexico as a retirement destination. I love Mexico, her people and culture. As a travel agent, I specialize in Mexico destinations and try to steer my clients there as often as possible. I believe as more American’s discover the true Mexico, we will see an ever growing emergence of partnerships.

  • From the website The Catalist.org | babyboomerwrites said:

    [...] From the website The Catalist.org Posted on March 8, 2012 by BABYBOOMER johanna van zanten http://thecatalist.org/2011/07/migration-from-another-point-of-view-a-new-community/ [...]

  • johanna van zanten said:

    Hi Jorge,

    I am delighted having found your website. I just read your article about reverse migration and I would like to add that a lot of Canadians also moved to Mexico in recent years, which is as well my plan after I retire in two years.
    Bravo for your views and thanks for sharing them with people who can read.
    I think you are doing a lot to dismantle fear based and stupid prejudices and biases.

  • Jorge (author) said:

    Thank you Johanna!!! It really inspires me to read your words. There is so much we can create if we let it go prejudices and biases! please share this site and content among other people and friends!

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