Americans down under

No, not that Down Under, but down under the Rio Bravo.

This is an interesting video if one is interested in this sort of thing, and I am. It shows where Americans have emigrated over the decades. In 1978, it was Canada by a mile, but around 1993 Mexico took the lead, and it’s maintained that position ever since.

What I find most noticeable is the number of emigrants to Mexico. Since I moved south 21 years ago, I’ve often read that a million or more Gringos live down here. I never believed that fat figure for a moment. In 2000, according to the video, and I have no idea where its information comes from, but it sounds right to me, about 350,000 Gringos were here with me, certainly not a million.

No one keeps count of how many Americans live in Mexico except the Mexican government. Any other number source is purely imaginary. It’s common to cite U.S. figures, but the United States does not pay attention to who emigrates to Mexico or anywhere else. When I left with my two suitcases in 2000, I did not clock out at the Atlanta airport.

I read about five years ago that Mexican government statistics put the number at around 750,000, and the video supports that. The video ends at 2020 with just a hair under 800,000 of us down here.

Back in the 1970s, it was Canada. Why on earth would Americans move to Canada?

29 thoughts on “Americans down under

  1. The numbers are interesting as more people move for different reasons. As Canadian and Americans age, they leave their homelands for better weather and economic reasons. We are still close to family and get to live in mostly nicer weather. What could be better than that?

    In the late ’60s and into the ’70s there were many draft dodgers who moved to Canada, There are always reasons for immigration.


    1. Kirk: It also occurred to me that those high numbers going to Canada in the 1970s had something to do with all the draft-dodgers, but Canada remains a firm No. 2 on that list. Why would anyone in the United States want to move to Canada? Mystifying. Cold, Trudeau and socialized medicine. Not for me.

      Not sure why Puerto Rico is on that list. Puerto Rico is part of the United States. It’s not a country. I “emigrated” to Puerto Rico for a couple of years in the 1970s. It was fun.


  2. Most Americans that I met in Canada moved from more northern states so the cold wasn’t a factor as opposed to those from the south who think you will die in the cold. You won’t die, but the golf season is much shorter. As for governments, they change over time, I think the current government in the USA is going further left than Canada.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kirk: The current White House gang of ding-a-lings will go as far left as they can manage. And since stupidity now reigns in the United States, Lord knows what is in the future. As Trump often said, sad.


  3. I found it very interesting, but I wonder how reliable the numbers are. You say the U.S. does not keep track of those moving out, so the numbers must come from the receiving countries. I wonder if they use similar criteria? I think the reason for Mexico being first is the number of Americans who want to live a better life during retirement on the dwindling Social Security and pensions. With inflation on the horizon, it’s only going to get worse. I wonder if English will become the dominate language in Mexico as Spanish is becoming the second language in the U.S.?


    1. Phil: The numbers must come from the destination nations. Where else? I do know the U.S. does not record people moving to other countries though it can keep track to a degree via SS payments, etc., if it wished to. But even that is not reliable because a good number of retirees have their pensions sent to a U.S. bank even though they live outside the country. I lived in Mexico for seven years before I was eligible for SS payments. During that time, I also kept a U.S. bank account. The U.S. did not know I was living in Mexico, and I was not unique in that respect.

      Americans and Canadians move down here because it’s cheaper and “exotic.” The Canadians often do it for the weather, I’m sure. There is no reason for Americans to move to Mexico for the weather because any sort of weather you want is available in the United States.

      No, English will never become the dominant language in Mexico. Americans here are wildly outnumbered and always will be. But you’re right that many parts of the United States, especially California, from what I hear, are transforming into Little Mexicos. That will get worse now that the Democrat Socialists are in the catbird seat, temporarily, I pray.


  4. I suspect a lot of it is folks who immigrated to the U.S. in the past, and now they are returning to their home countries when they retire.

    The U.S. is getting to be a zoo. My wife just came in and told me that Pepé Le Pew and Speedy Gonzales were just cancelled. It seems that Pepé is seen as a rapist. I am not sure what Speedy Gonzales did to incur the wrath of the woken assholes. Poland and Hungary are looking real good now. Germany not so much.

    It looks like we all will be getting our $1,400 of helicopter money. The mojados in the neighborhood are expecting theirs. But, I think one had to have paid income taxes to be included in this insanity. Meanwhile, hundred of thousands of Central Americans are across the border waiting for their chance at our social welfare system.

    Hang on, it will get worse.


    1. Señor Gill: I imagine some of the number consists of Mexicans going home, but I doubt it’s a large part. As for the United States becoming a zoo, well, yes. You guys have fun now, you hear?

      So you think I’ll be getting more cash to soften the nonexistent economic blow I’ve suffered from the Kung Flu? Sure, ship it on down. The Democrat Socialists toss out taxpayer cash like the proverbial drunken sailor. It’s so nice to live in Mexico.

      Who would have thought that one day Mexico would be the sane side of the border?


  5. I’m not sure where that video got the numbers, but as for Mexico, they are off by an order of magnitude.

    Steve Cotton tackled this issue in 2014, admittedly a while ago. But this is what he came up with, using Mexican Government figures reported in 2012 based on 2009 data:

    There were 262,672 foreigners [KG:from all countries] living in Mexico on 31 October 2009 — most of them (173,607) from the Americas.

    The national breakdown is even more interesting.
    USA: 59,996 (22.6%)
    Spain: 18,551 (7.1%)
    Argentina: 15,232 (5.8%)
    Colombia: 14,610 (5.6%)
    Canada: 10,869 (4.1%)


    So let’s assume that the number of Americans living in Mexico grew by 5% a year. That would leave the American population now at about 105 thousand, about a tenth of a percent of Mexico’s roughly 105 million population. If the number grew by 10% a year (unlikely, IMHO) the number of pinches gringos would still only be about 180 thousand, so well below what that video cites. I did go to the YouTube page, and they cite no source for their data. So I’m going to trust Steve, who cited his source, more than some random video.

    That said, the number of gringos living in Mexico was based on the number of temporary (not tourist) and permanent visas. There are certainly gringos living in Mexico on tourist visas. I was once one of them in 2016. But I can’t imagine that they are multiples of the numbers on more permanent visas; indeed I suspect they are a fraction. And of course we can get into arguments about the meaning of “living” versus “visiting,” but I’ll go with the Mexican Government’s definition for this purpose.

    As for English becoming a dominant language in Mexico, well, hahahahahahah…. not even in Gringo-infested Ajijic is it dominant, though it is widely spoken. And nowhere else in Mexico is it nearly as widespread as Ajijic, so the risk that many folks in Mexico start speaking English as their main language is close to nil.


    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where I’d like to swell the number of Americans living in Mexico.


    1. P.S. All of the Argentines lived in or close to my neighborhood when I lived in CDMX, and they ran the best steakhouses in town.


    2. Kim: The Mexican government figure I saw about five years ago said there were approximately 750,000 Americans down here. I forget where I saw that. However, I like the figures you found far better and, truth be told, it sounds more realistic. The fewer the better, I say.

      As for your sending Bostonians down here, forget that.


      1. I think you’re thinking of U.S. State Department figures, which as far as I can tell, they simply pull out of their a**es. I had an email debate a few years ago with a Washington Post (“Democracy Dies in Stupidity”) reporter about this very topic. He wanted to rely on the State Dep’t figures, despite me pointing out: a) the Mexican Gov report I cited here and; b) the fact that in every press release, the State Dep’t changed the number from 250K to 500K to 750K and then back to 500K, depending on the day and their whim. But fake news being what it is, they preferred the wrong number from an inferior source, to the right number from a source that had actual records to rely on. Surprise, surprise!


        1. Kim: Nope, it was on some Mexican government website. I know full well the U.S. does not keep track of Americans who flee, and I’m glad about that.


          1. Well, given that Steve actually found the data, which I cited, and which you can still find at the link I posted, I think the 750K figure is pure hokum. Yeah, if you count drunken teenagers in Cancún during Spring Break, plus all the “culture-loving” gringos in Ajijic and elsewhere at the same time, you might come up with 750K. But even that beggars imagination. Consider that the average commercial passenger plane holds about 216 people max (36 rows x 6 seats) you’d need 5 planeloads per thousand, roughly. If there are 100K living in Mexico, that would imply more than 3,000 tourist flights landing more or less in the same few days to bring in another 600,000, which strikes me as unlikely. Right? There’s only about a dozen American cities with direct flights to Mexico, so they’d each need 250 flights to fulfill their “quota.” Even over 5 days, that’s 50 flights a day, which doesn’t happen anywhere in the USA. Even Latino hotbeds like Dallas, Chicago, and Houston only have maybe 7-10 flights a day, max.

            So that figure you are citing is very, very, (did I mention very?) hard to accept.



    3. Kim, P.S.: Been thinking more about this, and remembered some thoughts from the past. That much smaller number makes sense. How many Gringos are in San Miguel and the Chapala area? If memory serves from a few years back, it’s roundabouts 10,000 in each place. Those are the best-known Gringo havens in Mexico due to those numbers. Sure, there are Gringo populations in Mérida, Oaxaca, Mexico City and other places too, but SMA and Chapala are famous for the numbers.

      If there were 750,000 Gringos down here, where are they? We would need scores of San Miguels. And they don’t exist. I’ve saved that website for future reference.


      1. That’s kind of my thinking. I think Ajijic has a total population (Mexicans plus whomever else) of about 10,000, maybe 11,000 total. And the whole northern lakeside area from just east of Chapala to San Juan Cosalá only has 46,000 people. SMA is much bigger, total population around 72,000. But it’s hard to imagine that gringos are 1 in 7 or 14% of the population. But even if they are, after that there’s Mérida, Puerto Vallarta, and Baja California. After that, the number of gringos thins out considerably everywhere else. In Mexico City, I know of about 5, and have seen very few out and about. Even during Gay Pride, an enormous event, there aren’t many Gringos even visiting.

        So yeah, these large numbers (hundreds of thousands or more) of Gringos in Mexico are just very hard to believe.

        By the way, I did a fair amount of digging around various Mexican Government websites last night. It’s very hard to find good information. You can find numbers of various categories of visas issued by month or year, but totals outstanding seem to not be reported. Some day I’ll go analyze the data.

        For now, cheers!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. If there were 750,000 Gringos down here, where are they? We would need scores of San Miguels. And they don’t exist.

        Indeed. You’d need between 50 and a 100 such places, and as you note, they simply don’t exist.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Our 17 years as owners of a sweet 10 acres on a lake in Ontario was something we looked forward to every year for the season in summer/fall. However, we would never have chosen to be permanent residents there. If we could have plucked it up and moved it magically to Central Texas, it would’ve been done. We have our pictures and memories, though. Mexico is much closer but more complicated for various reasons.


  7. If you trust the figures provided by the U.S. government, I bet you really think Biden won that election. Never trust the U.S. government. They supply the number they think they need to prove their case.


    1. Señor Cotton: Saving people bother is what I am all about.

      I have come around to Kim’s thinking, and I did not remember that you’d touched on the topic way back. Still don’t remember. The numbers one encounters online are all over the place always, and always very high. I’ve decided on a number of about 150,000, more or less. Probably less. Gringos normally congregate in crowds down here (so they feel comfy and don’t have to learn Spanish) and they make a lot of noise. (Mexicans congregate in crowds in the U.S. for the same reason but so they don’t have to learn English.)

      That raises the question of where are those Gringo throngs here? Probably only in people’s imaginations.


  8. Those with U.S. citizenship who are returning to their countries of origin simply meld into the society they left years ago. When they perish, there is not a lot of incentive to notify their retirement and social security sources. They are dead, but their direct deposit lives on.

    We need to examine those who are a hundred years old already to make sure they are still alive.


  9. Criminals in prison will all get their $1,400 stimulus money. Just imagine the drug trade that will result.


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