Do You Know What City has the Most US Expats in the Entire World? It is Tijuana, Mexico
You will probably be surprised that Tijuana has the most US expats of any city in the world.
The Tijuana metropolitan area has more than double the number of US expats compared to any other city or area in Mexico.
It is difficult to get true figures but according to US State Department figures, there are more than 1 million US expats in Mexico, more than any other country in the world. Data from the Mexican government shows that the Tijuana metropolitan area has 88,000 US citizens over the age of 50, Chapala has 41,000, San Miguel has 40,000, Mexicali has 38,000, Ensenada has 36,000, Juarez has 27,000, and Puerto Vallarta has 20,000.
It is interesting that the major tourist areas are not the major retirement areas. And almost all the news articles, websites, publicity and books devoted to retirees in Mexico totally ignore the huge number of US citizens who chose to retire close to the border.
I talked to a staff member from the Bank of Mexico who works with their demographic statistics. I asked if there were a lot of US citizens in Tijuana and she laughed and said, “Tijuana has a huge US population – many, many more than any other city or area.” She added that the numbers are probably low because so many US citizens do not get visas because they are in the border zone.
Tijuana and the other cities in Baja California are natural destinations for retirees looking at Mexico. For years, many US citizens have wanted to live in Southern California. Living in Baja California is much like being in Southern California but much more affordable. The climate in Tijuana is just like San Diego – they are only 19 miles apart.
Currently, you would only need $1,400 in Tijuana to keep the same standard of living that would cost $5,000 in San Diego (assuming that you rent – Feb 2017). The cost to buy a home is about 8.2 times more per square foot in San Diego as in Tijuana.
Although many think of Tijuana as a sleepy border town, it is actually a cosmopolitan world-class city with about 1.8 million people in the metropolitan area. You can find many fine restaurants, a great cultural center, museums, a zoo, parks, live entertainment, shopping and other activities. (I will write more about these in a future article.)
Living just across the border also has the advantage that you can quickly return to the US for shopping, entertainment, family and medical care. And though Tijuana has great medical care, many retirees want to use Medicare and need to return to the US because Medicare normally does not cover medical services in other countries. Since I am a US veteran, I get my most of my medical care and prescriptions through the excellent Veteran’s Hospital in San Diego. However, if I need a quick doctor’s visit, it is easier to pay $2.00 and visit a local doctor in my neighborhood.
Many people even consider San Diego and Tijuana as one metropolitan area with about 5 million residents. The common ties between the two cities make the San Ysidro / Tijuana border crossing the busiest in the world.
Based on the number of US expats living here, I can say that Tijuana, Mexico is the Best Place in the World to Retire.