Is the Mexican dream in Oaxaca still alive for expats


Two million foreigners live in Mexico

Foreigners cross the wall and seek quality of life

8 Lugares para visitar en Oaxaca | Blog Viva Aerobus

While every year hundreds of Oaxacans cross the border to reach the United States of America, thousands of Americans establish roots in Mexico in search of the other type of American dream.

Citizens of both nations, separated by abysmal cultural differences, share the same desire: that of a better quality of life. On that side of the border, economic improvement, on this side the human one.

Jacky C is part of the 1 million 7 thousand 063 foreign citizens who, according to the report on the five-year Mexico-United States migration carried out by the National Population Council (Conapo), lived in the country as of 2015.

The first time that Jacky, originally from New York, stepped on Mexican soil was in 1968, since then her visits became frequent until she established her permanent residence in Oaxaca.

Roberta and Vicki, the first with 12 to live in Oaxaca, the second on temporary visits for five years. PHOTO: Emilio Morales Pacheco

Her life is strongly linked to our country through her daughter with a Mexican father, both living in the neighboring country to the north. “Before she was born, Mexico was already in my heart that is why I married her father (…) Now, with what is happening with immigration policies, she is afraid for her father who lives in New Jersey because we don’t know what might happen ”, He expresses structuring the phrases in Spanish step by step.

During her life in the United States, Jacky worked as a writer for medical articles, once she retired she decided to come to Oaxaca in search of a warmer and more humane life. “Oaxaca is a city with few foreigners and that allows a lot of interaction between foreigners and Mexicans and I like that a lot,” he explains.


In the study Foreigners Residing in Mexico, A quantitative approximation, carried out by the Ministry of the Interior (Segob) based on the administrative records of the National Institute of Migration (INM), at the end of 2009, 31 percent of the foreigners resided in Mexico City, 9.2 in Jalisco, 8.5 in the State of Mexico, 5.3 Baja California, 4.7 Nuevo León, 4.0 in Quintana Roo, 3.2 in Baja California Sur and 33.7 was distributed in all other states.

White mole

238 thou 905 are single
100 thou married or cohabiting

43.7% retired or retired

28% for work reasons
24.4% studies

At the points indicated, a population of foreigners was counted above 10,000 people, mainly from the United States. In the case of Oaxaca, the population in the territory fluctuated between 2,000 and 3,000 people.
Attracted by the culture of the state, Jacky adopted a rustic style for her house, a small space full of the folklore of Oaxaca from the vegetation in the patio to the paintings that reflect elements clearly of the entity.

The 70-year-old woman is part of the “Hats and scarves campokids” workshop dedicated to making knitted hats and scarves for boys and girls from marginalized regions of Mexico. In a new stage as an activist, Jacky, along with another group of foreign women, undertook coordinated actions from Mexico to reject the immigration policies of the President of the United States, Donald Trump and to support the Mexican migrant community living in that country.

The charm of Antequera

On a day-to-day basis, foreign people living in Oaxaca are blurred like any other visitor in the landscape of Santo Domingo, the Labastida Garden, the Paseo Juárez and in the traditional markets. Many of these people had their first contact with Oaxaca through tourism and gradually made longer and longer stays until finally settling down for years.

Shanon S is one of them. She was born in San Francisco California and has lived in Oaxaca for seven years. She is a retired librarian and currently a volunteer in Oaxaca at Lendig Library.

“The bond is in my heart, I like their traditions, the culture of the indigenous people, I like to visit the towns of Oaxaca,” he says while images of his mother run through his mind, through a basket woven in reed with shawls Inside her, it aroused her interest in the land of Juárez.
Shanon, like Jacky, was looking for a better quality in her retirement life. “Life especially in California is very expensive, and I said to myself why not? (to settle in Mexico). Here life is calmer and the people are friendlier. Life is better. Art and culture are everywhere, in the United States that is very expensive, museums or concerts, ”he says.
Twice a year she returns to her home country to visit her two children, her stepson and her grandson.

Turismo, eje económico de Oaxaca | El Economista


Retirees or pensioners

Among the Americans residing in Mexico aged 16 and over, the largest number are retired or retired persons with 43.7 percent, while 28.4 percent are due to work issues and 24.4 percent for study reasons.
“Yes, there is a relatively luxurious lifestyle (in the United States), yes, but you have to work a lot to earn enough, sacrifice your free time, sometimes your health, with stress. There are Mexicans who return from the United States and are destroyed by that stress to win and live. There’s really nothing free there, ”says Roberta Cristie from New York, who has lived in Oaxaca for 12 years.

Roberta and Vicki, the first with 12 to live in Oaxaca, the second on temporary visits for five years. PHOTO: Emilio Morales Pacheco

She retired in 2004 and in that same year came to live in the entity, first in apartments located in the center and later in Teotitlán del Valle – she considers – due to the similarity with the field where she developed in her childhood. “It’s a lifestyle that I really like, the contact with nature, the rituals that survive the passage of time,” he expresses fluently in Spanish.

The “GRINGO” colony

96,500 economically active Americans who pay taxes and are accountable in the Mexican labor system

25,119 are managing directors.
13,910 work in administrative support.

9340 work in trades.
8824 have “elementary occupations”

4,674 are farmers, agricultural, forestry or fishing workers.
498,000 are economically dependent children

Fear of his country

For her, living in Mexico has also become a philosophy of life for foreigners. Although in the country and especially Oaxaca they have found gears established around community benefits, she still says, she is grateful to have been born and raised in the United States.

“It was a country open to everyone. In recent years we have made progress regarding human rights, women, gays and African Americans, but now I am afraid that these advances are lost,” he said.

Vicki S., originally from Philadelphia, has been going to and from the United States to Oaxaca for five years, this time she completed a three-month stay. In the same way, Kathie M., born in New York, makes long stays in Oaxaca. In addition to nationality, and the love they feel for Mexico, they are all identified by the rejection of Donald Trump’s policies.


“One day after I arrived in Oaxaca, Roberta called me to invite me to the women’s march against Trump. It was incredible to complain against our government (…) Everything that the current administration is doing goes against my conscience and I believe that I should be there to fight against it ”.

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