The number of Americans residing in Mexico has surged in the last three years

The figure has grown 70% from 2019 and is close to 20,000 people despite warnings by the US State Department about high rates of violent crime and kidnappings

Una joven extranjera en bicicleta en la Ciudad de México
A young foreigner on a bicycle in Mexico City.Quetzalli Nicte Ha
Rodrigo Soriano

The number of Americans residing in Mexico on a temporary or permanent basis increased by 69.9% in 2022 compared to 2019, the year before the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to data from the Immigration Policy Unit of the Secretariat for Home Affairs (SEGOB). The figures have jumped from 11,594 to 19,122, a difference of 7,528 people who have been granted one of the residence permits that allow them to live in the country.

The number of permits issued to American citizens in 2022 was the highest since 2013, when the total number of US nationals living in Mexico reached 20,374. After that, there was a constant annual decrease in the number of residents until 2021, when there was an uptick again. The lowest point of the last decade was in the year 2020, reflecting the effects of the pandemic and the global travel restrictions, although Mexico did not impose restrictive measures on the arrival of foreign travelers.

The US Department of State recommends that its citizens not travel to six of the 32 Mexican states due to high rates of “crime” and “kidnappings”: Colima, Guerrero, Michoacán, Sinaloa, Tamaulipas and Zacatecas. Despite this, 1,018 American citizens live in these territories, representing 5.32% of the total number of Americans in Mexico.

Most of these cases (467) are based in Sinaloa, where US authorities warn its citizens not to go. “Violent crime is widespread. Criminal organizations are based in and operating in Sinaloa. US citizens and legal residents have been victims of kidnapping,” says the travel advisory.

Most US citizens who obtained a new residence card chose to live in three territories: Mexico City (3,518 people), Jalisco (3,427) and Quintana Roo (2,411). These three areas represent 48.92% of the total.

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