As remote work is predicted for many Americans in the age of COVID-19, more and more professionals are choosing new places to live. Recently, more Americans are choosing to live in Mexico, including Mexico City.
It has become a top destination for young professionals working remotely, CBS News correspondent Enrique Acevedo said.
“Now we have young Americans who can work remotely to find a quality of life … and they’re coming to Mexico City now,” said Alexandra Demo, founder of a relocation and real estate company called Welcome Home Mexico.
“They love the weather,” she said. “They love the people, the culture, the food, the beauty.”
“Yes, of course, safety can be an issue. … And when I say quality of life, I mean, of course, we can’t avoid that your dollar goes a long way in Mexico,” she added.
More than 1.6 million U.S. citizens live in Mexico, according to U.S. Department of State statistics, but that number only includes people who have applied for legal residency, which some remote workers do not.
Mexico City’s tourism agency said more than 1.9 million foreigners arrived at the capital’s international airport in the first half of this year. They spent nearly $2 billion on hotel stays.
Katherine Powell, Airbnb’s global head of hosting, said the company has seen “incredible growth” in long-term stays, which are trips of 28 days or longer. One in five nights booked in Mexico, she said, are for long-term trips.
However, Powell noted that “Mexico has always been an important destination for US travelers.”
John Hyatt, who works to help US and Canadian companies that currently manufacture in China relocate to Mexico, said technology has made it “much easier” to live in the capital city.
“We talk about things like rideshare apps, you know, we have all of that,” he said.
The influx of American expats is transforming some of Mexico City’s traditional neighborhoods, such as the quiet and walkable neighborhood of Colonia Roma, where rents have risen, there’s bumper-to-bumper traffic and old-world charm is waning.
“Our cultures are merging in many ways,” Hyatt said. “Mexico is becoming more American, and in the United States, Americans are becoming more interested in Mexican culture and cuisine.”
Hyatt said the pandemic “accelerated” some of the changes Mexico City was already seeing, adding that “it’s going to happen anyway.”
“He just threw some gas on the flames,” he said.
And while some locals welcome the new arrivals, tensions are rising over what some call gentrification.
Demo, whose company works to help expats acclimate in Mexico, said she thinks the changes have positive and negative aspects.
“I think they drive the economy,” she said. “I think people will get paid more,” she said.
Demo noted that her business has been booming since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and shows no signs of slowing down.