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!