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Mexican Cities Have the Lowest Cost-of-Living in the Americas

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Zocalo Square in Puebla, Mexico
Credit: Aleksandar Todorovic | Bigstock

A  new study by Numbeo – one of two online research firms we use for cost-of- living data – shows that Mexican cities have the lowest cost-of-living in the Americas.

Numbeo ranked 184 cities from Canada south to the tip of South America based on what expats are paying for a wide range of consumer goods and services.

Mexico placed nine cities on the list. Caracas, Venezuela was the cheapest place to live with a cost-of-living index of 27.82. For this study, New York City was used as the baseline city with a cost-of-living index of 100. All cities in the study were measured against the cost-of-living in New York.

Ranked at 170, the most expensive city for expats in Mexico is Mexico City, with an index of 34.18. Mexico City also made Mercer’s expat cost of living list, which I reported in my last Mi Vista blog. The two studies, though, are completely different.

Mercer uses quantitative cost-of-living research in a limited number of cities worldwide to help companies determine compensation packages for corporate expats. Numbeo, on the other hand, is a crowd-sourced database using information provided by over 357,000 expats in 8,402 cities. Some of the cities in Numbeo’s database have insufficient data, which may limit its usefulness if you are looking for cost-of-living information in some smaller cities.

Monterrey also made Mercer’s list and ranks just below Mexico City in the Numbeo study at 171 with an index of 34.12. Other cities in Mexico that made the low cost-of-living list are: Tijuana (32.70); Guadalajara (31.46); Cancún (31.35); Querétaro (31.01); Puerto Vallarta (29.82); Mérida (29.39); and, Puebla (28.89), just above last place Caracas.

The study also includes a local rent index, cost-of-living plus rent index, groceries index, restaurant price index and a local purchasing power index for each city.

For example, Puerto Vallarta ranks 180th and has a cost-of-living index of 29.82, a rent index of 14.71, cost-of-living + rent index of 22.67, groceries index of 26.85, restaurant price index of 29.38 and a local purchasing power index of 54.32.

Using New York City as the baseline city, you can clearly see the advantages of living in Mexico. To be fair, though, Sheridan, Wyoming (where I was raised), comes in just a bit below Puerto Vallarta with a cost of living index of 29.64. But I’ve lived in both places and I would take a tropical climate with ocean views over 25 below zero winters any day!

8 COMMENTS

    • I’m 63 and I want to move to Mexico. I come from Orinda, California and I don’t want to live here anymore. I don’t know what your plans are and we could be roommates if you wanted to

      • Let me get your place in Orinda if you don’t want it 🙂 just kidding. I live in Concord but am also interested in Mexico for the cost of living, culture, weather, food and proximity to the US.

    • cost of living in Mexico is very low for $500 a month you can get a nice apartment pay the utilities cable and buy the months food,the natives are very friendly and there is a lot to do. I like Guanajuato the best I came down 13 years ago.

  1. I have lived in Mexico for 16 years I own a moving company that moves people to Mexico living in Mexico is far better than living in the United States as far as the laws the cost of living the quality of food there’s no preservatives in the food it’s all natural in general cost a living.the people in Mexico respect the expatriates from the United States to treat him good in fact they treat them special.the problems in Mexico are the laws that protect you in the United States don’t exist in Mexico you can’t sue somebody when you make a deal you need to make a cash deal and one that’s equitable for both parties.medical treatment in Mexico is better and cheaper than the United States and they have more access to prescription drugs because the FDA hear slow plays many of the drugs that the people needwhat are Mexico the drugs that people need that have been approved in Canada or or Europe are available in Mexico. My house is in Cardenas Tabasco but I’ve lived all over Mexico I like the rural areas if Tabasco Chiapas the Yucatan and quintana roo best of all. If you’re planning to move to Mexico give me a call I’ll help you from pack up and load to delivery and unloading.where people sometimes have the biggest problem is that the border crossing because it’s mandatory that all your paperwork is in order that you need to have a good connection at the border to cross. My number is 956-790-8965 call me if you need help.

  2. We used this service to move to San Miguel Allende and they even had a driver to drive us in our car all the way through check points and took us safely there where all our stuff arrived the next day would recommend them to everyone

  3. Yes, I’m looking forward to moving to Mexico after I sell my house, so I’d guess in 6 months. I plan to bring one or two cars – not sure and maybe a trailer I have, too. I do agree that many things are much better in Mexico – it’s like going back in time forty or fifty years to a better place in time. The USA is a long jam with regulations and laws that are ridiculous. There’s no perfect place in this world, but there are better places.

  4. Need to move a studio apartment of things fro Coronado CA to Los Barriles Baja exico around October1. Any info appreciated. I have time. Great two bedroom. Already rented in losbarriles. Just want my Stuff down here!

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