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Gone, baby, gone

20 November 2015

“From 2009 to 2014, 1 million Mexicans and their families (including U.S.-born children) left the U.S. for Mexico, according to data from the 2014 Mexican National Survey of Demographic Dynamics (ENADID). U.S. census data for the same period show an estimated 870,000 Mexican nationals left Mexico to come to the U.S., a smaller number than the flow of families from the U.S. to Mexico.”

(via National Council on La Raza, commenting on this story)

I’ve been hearing as long as I’ve lived here the unsubstantiated figure of a million USAnians living in Mexico, which may even be true by now, but by no means are there a million “expats”… which seems to mean retirees in the gringo ghettos around Chapala, San Miguel, and along the coats, a  sizable number of quasi-illegals (the “border runners” who try to have it both ways — living here on the cheap, but who don’t qualify for residency, and claim to be tourists, making regular trips out of the country) and the relatively large number of those who (as I was for a while), being white people with some money coming in from the outside, don’t like to be called “illegal immigrants”.

Of course, implying that the million gringo figure is people like “us” is self-serving.  When not dished up by real estate agents trying to convince someone that a house is not a house, but a financial instrument that can be sold at a profit to the supposedly limitless gringo community, it’s usually bandied about by those who complain about some minor “inconvenience” to them in the immigration procedures here — the people who somehow get the idea that spending money on rent, and housing, and maybe their underpaid “help” is a boon to the economy.

As opposed to those U.S. born (and U.S. citizen) dependents of Mexicans who have returned here, and who are likely to spend their lives here as taxpayers and will be contributing to the economy (and the culture) long after us geezers have cashed out last Social Security check, and bought our last eight-pack of Pacifico … and whined our last whine about being expected to give the kid who bagged the beer a whole three pesos.


And, as long as I’m on a roll… the U.S. is losing a million families off the tax rolls, and it freaking out that 10,000 Syrians MIGHT be coming.  Absurd.


4 Comments leave one →
  1. buddenbooks permalink
    20 November 2015 11:17 pm

    You go, Richard! I agree with you completely.

  2. 21 November 2015 7:15 am

    Steve Cotton wrote a post disproving the “Million Americans in Mexico” myth. And I’ve independently verified his work. The Mexican gov’t published a study a while ago, based on visa data, that shows there’s a total of around 263,000 foreigners of all stripes living in Mexico. Of those, roughly 60,000 are Americans. What is unclear to me is how many are living there on tourist visas and leaving the country several times a year. But even if that group outnumbers the legal residents by a factor of two or three, that still means 180,000 to 240,000 Americans in Mexico, still well short of the mythical million.

    You can find Steve’s post here:


    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where we hate this human tendency to uncritically just repeat stuff people have heard.

  3. 21 November 2015 1:01 pm

    Kim… I wrote on that “million” claim ( back in January 2013 when the census data Steve used was first published, but whatever the number, the assumption that all USAnians in Mexico are high-maintenance retirees is wishful thinking on the industry that caters to them.

  4. Rebecca Ore permalink
    23 November 2015 4:01 pm

    We get the same exaggerations about number of expat in Nicaragua. Same reason for the exaggerations — real estate hustlers. Maybe half the retirees are people who left Nicaragua in the 1980s from here and have family and connections in Nicaragua.

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