What is the American presence in Mexico? A huge problem in coming up with estimates is that we really want to know two flows: U.S. citizens and non-U.S. citizens who circled back. The U.S. does not spend much time tracking “circular migration.” There may be a million U.S. citizens living in Mexico, and several million Mexicans who have circled back.
So, there are American citizens living there, and also persons who lived in the U.S. with a Green card. And there are unauthorized persons who returned, often it appears with a U.S. born child. There seems to be some agreement that a relatively small number of retirees who retired in Mexico after working in the U.S.
The State Department says 1.5 million American citizens live in Mexico. The Migration Policy Institute estimates that there are 899,000 U.S. born persons living in Mexico. The 2015 Mexican census puts the number of U.S. Citizens in Mexico at 739,000.
The Migration Policy Institute also surmises that very many of the total, whatever it is, includes includes approximately 1 million U.S.-born persons who moved, mainly to Mexico, over the 2010-15 period, and the majority of them were children, mostly it appears of unauthorized Mexicans who had lived in the U.S. and born children there. (10% of the Mexican workforce in about 2005 were in working in the U.S.)
The Mexico’s Ministry of the Interior estimates there could be 430,000 to 600,000 U.S. citizen minors living in Mexico, the great majority of them U.S. born children of Mexican households who had returned from the U.S.
Retirees: Only a very small percentage of American citizens living in Mexico are retirees. Retirement communities in Mexico – 10,000 are estimated to live in San Miquel de Allende, 35,000 in Puerto Vallarta, and 20,000 near Lake Chapala in central Mexico (according to the U.S. Embassy.) Only 58,000 who receive Social Security checks. (this number is not broken dwn between U.S. citizens and Green Card holders.) This number is equivalent to roughly 3% to 6% of American citizens living in Mexico. Compare that with 306,000 U.S. citizens living in Canada, and 111,000 persons receive Soc Sec checks there.