Mexico ranks second (after Ecuador) among all countries in a survey of expatriates conducted in 2015 and released Wednesday March 23 by the InterNations organization, an expat network based in Munich, Germany.
Ranking first as the easiest country for expats to settle in, Mexico has won the hearts of many foreigners with the friendliness of its people, beautiful beaches, and tasty cuisine.
Mexico tops the charts in the Ease of Settling In Index this year, due to the easygoing culture and friendly populace. It is easy to get used to the local culture, say over four out of five expats (82%).
For its annual Expat Insider survey, InterNations asked more than 14,000 expatriates representing 170 nationalities and living in 195 countries or territories to rate and provide information on various aspects of expat life. These were further averaged in order to rank 64 expatriate destinations around the world. In 2015 the top ten were Ecuador, Mexico, Malta, Singapore, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Thailand, Panama, Canada, and Australia.
The people are the salt of the earth, or in this case, the salt in your margarita, as Mexico ranks second in the Friendliness subcategory. Almost all of the respondents (94%) rate the general friendliness of the population positively, and nine out of ten expats describe the attitude of the Mexican people toward foreign residents to be similarly friendly.
It naturally follows that making local friends is easy, and seven out of ten participants find it to be so, compared to only 45% globally. Consequently, Mexico also ranks second in the Finding Friends subcategory. Finding a common language should not be too difficult, either, as almost two-thirds of expats (64%) say that it is easy to learn Spanish.
Getting by financially is also easy for expats in Mexico, as over four out of five (81%) view the cost of living favorably and over three-quarters (76%) are generally happy about their financial situation. Mexico ranks seventh in the Cost of Living Index and third in the Personal Finance Index.
Free of financial woes, expats are exceptionally happy with their life in Mexico, which ranks third in the Personal Happiness subcategory after Ecuador and Costa Rica. Roughly three out of eight participants in Mexico (38%) say they are very happy with their lives, almost double the worldwide average of 19%.
Mexico also gets praise for its leisure options, ranking second in the subcategory globally, with over seven out of eight (88%) expatriates rating the availability of leisure activities positively. And where there is sun, there is also fun, say 94% of respondents who like the climate and weather in Mexico.
However, this is not enough to put Mexico higher than 22nd place (out of 64 countries) in the Quality of Life Index, due to its low scores in the Travel & Transport and Health, Safety & Well-Being subcategories.
Mexico is an amazingly diverse country, so it is not surprising that a majority of respondents (93%) rate the opportunities for travel positively. There are some speedbumps on the road, however, as only 56% feel the same about Mexico’s transport infrastructure.
Personal safety is viewed negatively by almost a quarter (24%) of the respondents, compared to a worldwide average of 11%. Similar discrepancies in the negative averages for political stability (29% vs. 16%) and peacefulness (23% vs. 10%) hint at the social unrest in the country. Despite these issues, however, many expatriates have made Mexico their permanent home.
A Good Place to Hang Your Sombrero
Mexico seems to be a popular place to retire, as it has almost five times as many retirees (23%) as the global average (5%), and over two out of five expats surveyed (41%) say they are likely to stay forever.
Those who are not retired yet are not too happy about their work-life balance, as Mexico ranks 30th in this subcategory. On average, the expatriates in Mexico with full-time jobs work 47.1 hours per week, and workers are not guaranteed any paid leave during their first year of employment according to Mexican law.
The low number of official vacation days is not everyone’s problem, though, as almost two out of seven expats (28%) work part-time and roughly one out of eight (12%) is a self-employed entrepreneur. In comparison, the worldwide averages are 14% and 7%, respectively.
High job satisfaction boosts Mexico to eighth place in the Job & Career subcategory, as almost three-quarters of respondents (73%) say they are generally satisfied with their jobs. However, almost one-third of them (31%) are worried about the state of the economy, lowering the ranking in the Job Security subcategory to 40th. These factors put Mexico 33rd in the Working Abroad Index, which is its worst ranking in the main indices of the InterNations survey.
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