Californians fleeing to Mexico in search of more ‘affordable living’

by Chris Lange

Chris Lange, FISM News


Californians are fleeing the golden state in droves to escape untenable housing and gas prices and record-high inflation in what some have dubbed “The California Exodus.”

While it may not be surprising that many have relocated to more budget-friendly U.S. states like Texas and Arizona, reports that a significant number of Californians are migrating south of the border to Mexico has come as a shock to many.

“Additional flexibility to work remotely and relatively minimal travel restrictions to enter Mexico during the COVID-19 pandemic have contributed to an increasing flow of U.S. citizens working remotely from several Mexican cities,” Ariel G. Ruiz Soto, a policy analyst at the Migration Policy Institute, recently explained to Moneywise.

Soto added that inflation and skyrocketing housing costs under the Biden administration and Gov. Gavin Newsome (D-Calif.) “have also contributed to U.S. citizens’ interest in relocating to Mexico.” 

In fact, the U.S. State Department estimates that there are currently 1.6 million Americans living in Mexico.

California continuously ranks high as one of the most expensive places to live in the U.S. The median asking price for a home in the golden state is about $800,000, which only around one quarter of the state’s households could afford in the fourth quarter of FY2021, according to the report. California’s population growth had already been declining steadily over the past three decades, but the trend has recently accelerated. 

Remote work options, which expanded significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic, have provided Californians with the opportunity to seek out cheaper places to live while continuing to enjoy the financial benefits of working in the U.S.

Travis Grossi, a content creator for Café con Leche Travels, said he was able to halve his budget by moving to Mexico. 

“We were able to cut our budget in half, which allowed us to really focus on our careers and the things we wanted to do artistically without the just hustle and hustle every day, every week, every month, to just meet the bare minimum,” Grossi told CNBC.

California topped U-Haul’s Growth Index list for out-migration last year. The index calculates the net gain of one-way U-Haul trucks entering states versus leaving in a calendar year. California had the largest net losses in one-way U-Haul trucks in 2021. 

U-Haul noted that, while migration trends are not directly correlated to population growth, “the U-Haul Growth Index is an effective gauge of how well cities are both attracting and maintaining residents.”