This came across my desk today, a flyer found in Mexico City.
This is reminiscent of a flyer posted around the Poblado section of Medellin, Colombia a few years ago, albeit without the atrocious grammatical and spelling errors. See my write-up on that one.
This isn’t the first we’ve heard that Mexico City is filling up with our expat brethren. See this comment from Matt, in response to my observation that Peruvians weren’t as enamored with big, blue-eyed gringos as they were in 2008:
Here in Mexico, we have seen much of the same over the last two years since Covid started. Mexico City was one of the top choices for foreigners looking to escape Covid restrictions back home and/or for those who just love to travel but found themselves restricted from entering most countries on the planet due to restrictions they had early on.
Since then, we’ve become even less of a novelty than before (we already had plenty of expats before Covid to be fair). Also, with more of us flooding in, you obviously will be triggering the xenophobia of certain locals who think that way. Add in those who get pissed about the many they see not wearing a mask (they still do even if said expat is vaxxed and boosted). Don’t forget the few gringo expats who get mad at more gringos moving into “their corner” of Latin America making it feel “less authentic” or whatever else. And, above all, you got rising rental prices in very select few neighborhoods, forcing out a handful of upper middle class Mexicans who were never the wealthiest in the area and so now have to settle for a more normal neighborhood that isn’t dangerous but not one to tell others about for fewer status points.
Having said all that, I still think there are numerous areas in Latin America where the more negative attitudes of some of the above are not as common. Of course, they usually (but maybe not always) involve going to areas few (sometimes none) gringos would ever travel to for understandable reasons (much poorer, more dangerous, less tourism infrastructure, less English speaking locals, more boring, etc).
In Mexico City, the vast majority of gringos move to a very select few areas and so it’s not overly difficult to move to a normal (not always dangerous but those can be fun to live in also in my opinion) area where “the haters” of the above are less of a common sight (almost non-existent) and where you have more local curiosity and friendliness than what you’d have in the areas where the vast majority of gringos go. I should know, I’ve spent maybe half or more than half of my time in Mexico in both normal areas and a few dangerous ones.
Even outside of Mexico City, you can choose to pick a more normal city that few gringos ever go to also that would bring the same effect. A place like Pachuca de Soto might work…
Is the beloved city of my second honeymoon, where I spent a whopping five days, is sick of gringos? Say it ain’t so.
What’s my globalist, establishment neoliberal take on all this? I think it’s great for Mexico and the region in general. Many of these countries are going middle class and developing sufficient security to attract sizeable tourism. That is positive despite the negative externalities for us.
Once upon a time not too long ago, the entire region was only known for cartels and kidnapping. Most Boomers, Gen Xers and “geriatric Millennials” (as I’ve heard myself called) have anecdotes of mentioning our plans to visit Latin America and hearing retorts from our compatriots to the tune of, “Don’t get kidnapped!” I heard that less than a week from moving to Peru.
Abusing the tourists is a normal growing pain and sign of a healthy economy. Those same generations may still carry the perception that Paris is Europe’s all-continent champion of abusing the tourists. I’ve read that Paris has made great strides in changing their citizenry’s attitude toward foreigners, and the new champs are in Florence or Amsterdam. Not sure, I’ve never been to Paris.
In Latin America, the party had to end some day.
What do you think? How is it where you are? Discuss.
Sounds kind of whiny. As if there aren’t plenty of people in the US who scream at anyone not speaking English or anyone who doesn’t look white enough even if their family has been in the US for several generations.
BTW, what were the “atrocious spelling and grammatical mistakes” in that poster?
Plenty of people with their first and only language of English make plenty of mistakes.
I’ve long appreciated every reader, even the haters, but you Ken are failing in basic reader comprehension. I wouldn’t be stretched to believe you’re 13 years old and en route to being a D-student in high school before quitting a semester into community college. Stick around and hate, but step up your game.
I’ve clearly said this sentiment is evidence of an advanced city, which is a positive development. Also clearly stated, the poor English was in the Colombian variant.
I get why most people choose to live in the popular areas of Mexico City (with the English definition of the word popular, not the Spanish like barrio popular) such as Roma Norte, Condesa, Polanco, etc.
Having said that, this city is so vast that you can live in numerous areas with minimal gringo influence where the locals are very nice to you.
For example, I wrote about an incident before getting some tacos by the Basilica in the northern area of the city. That area does get some minor tourism attraction (and I believe you visited it, right Colin?) but mostly from other Mexicans. Having lived there for some months, I rarely saw another gringo and the Basilica was a 5 minute walk from my then apartment. At the same time, I remember this one dude selling me tacos who realized I was a gringo and began telling me how “we Mexicans LOVE foreigners” and he just kept going on about how welcome we are here.
Link to story here: https://iberianamerica.com/2021/10/18/los-mexicanos-amamos-a-los-extranjeros/
On the exact opposite end of the city in the far south in a neighborhood called Pedregal de Santo Domingo, I’ve had similar experiences.
There’s a lady who cooks gorditas across the street from me who is very pleasant. Told her my sister is coming to visit me in Mexico in July (well, my sister postponed the idea for now) but she still asks me “so when is your sister coming? What are you two going to do in July? I’d love to meet her.”
Equally, I was just walking around for 7 hours in Santo Domingo the other day taking photos of the entire neighborhood. I met mostly good people (minus some questionable ones too that were questionable because they were gang members and not because they hated gringos).
But still met some cool folks. Some couple who noticed me taking pics of murals and pointed me in the right direction of where to find some really good ones. An old grandmother type who saw I was a foreigner and wanted to make small talk with me. Wanted to know why I was here, tell me about her daughter living in Los Angeles, recommended to me places to see in the area, etc. Was very friendly.
In the same area, I also remember a random taco dude being surprised at seeing a gringo in the area, asked me questions and even gave me a free taco with my order of 3 (or was it 2?) tacos.
And, when gringos talk about the extra treatment they used to get, sometimes they bring up the attention from women. Well, they always do. Gringos love Latinas. Similarly, I find women here more curious about you than in a place like Condesa. Gringos like us are a dime a dozen up there.
I could go on and on with two dozen other stories and more of random locals being very nice to me and very curious about what a gringo is doing in their area. Offering me extra treatment I didn’t ask for. Small things that are just nice.
They’re not buying me a car and thanking Lord Jesus for my arrival to their area but they are nice and nicer than what you see in areas full of gringos (nice in that some of them sometimes go out of their way to be nice to you).
And this is again in Mexico City. Yes, we have gotten lots of new gringos. Most live though in very select few areas with some spilling out into lesser known areas slowly over time.
There is a noticeable difference in how friendly I find the locals to be in touristy/popular areas and not touristy areas.
In the former, you do get locals who come across as smarter on average. But also snobbier, more pretentious, etc on average. Also more chairos (left leaning activist types who are as unlikable as you can imagine them to be in any other country). More people who want to practice English with you. More who see you as an ATM machine. So on and so on.
Outside of those areas, you got more normal folks. Those who are not likely to use you for free English lessons or wanting money. Not as many activists and, if you do see a protest, it might not be as intolerable as some of the shit you see in Centro Historico.
But, on top of all of that, like I said, you got that greater curiosity about you that stems from a “what are you doing here?” Just very curious people! Not jaded yet by the bad expats who show up giving others a bad name. No locals who get mad when we don’t play the part of spitting out lots of money. Less local young men who get insecure at seeing a foreigner with “one of his women.” Among other issues some have.
Genuine curiosity. A lot more friendliness than what you see elsewhere.
And, to be honest, the last time I lived in a nicer area was a year and a few months ago in Roma Norte during the middle of all of these new gringos coming in (where I think that sign in the article was posted). When I was there, I did notice the extra snobby local whose dad pays for everything. I also remember one dude named Vicente whose friendliness was very superficial and he only wanted to learn English. Nice guy but not very genuine.
But, at the same time, most of the locals I met there were cool. Some who helped me out like giving me ideas on markets to visit. Or being cool for sharing some vodka. Pretty chill. A few in my apartment building who offered me free food when I didn’t ask for it on numerous occasions (Latin Americans can be sometimes very generous with food, more than us gringos I believe).
A cute Venezuelan gal who was very friendly. Very cute. God damn, she was cute. And very friendly….
….I digress. Back to the topic!
So even though I’m first in line to shit all over certain groups of people you are more likely to meet in such areas, I’ll also admit that it doesn’t represent most people in said areas.
It’s something I don’t admit often in that most locals you see in those areas are actually OK.
Most are cool.
And most are not likely to give you shit for being foreigner #1,978,524 in their country. They just aren’t going to give off vibes that scream “WOW! A FOREIGNER IN THE BARRIO?!? I NEVER SEEN THIS BEFORE!! WE MEXICANS LOVE YOU!!”
So less ass kissing but that’s OK.
To a gringo who might have started out getting some of those vibes (be it the extra attention from women in an area with few gringos, the generous local who treats you nicer than others, etc), I can see why he or she would see the locals as being less friendly when that red carpet treatment is gone.
Perhaps that leaves a negative impression at some point.
In contrast to other cities in Latin America like Barranquilla, I remember getting a similar treatment in the nicer areas of those cities and not necessarily the “barrios populares” where I live now in CDMX (though I don’t live here just because of that but it is a nice bonus).
But, as we can see, obviously some people take it beyond not giving us a red carpet treatment like with the letter in the article.
Still, I wouldn’t make a big deal out of it for a few reasons.
1. Like I said, even in a place like Roma Norte where said letter was posted, most locals are cool. You have a higher amount of snobby idiots but who cares. A vast majority of locals in said area are not going to give you shit.
2. None of these snobby locals who would post a letter like the one in the article have the balls to say anything to your face. In my experience in Mexico (and I know some will disagree with this), I genuinely find most Mexicans (excluding the barrio types sitting on the sidewalk in sketchy streets selling drugs) to not be very confrontational. I call them “mumblers.” They got a problem? MUMBLE MUMBLE MUMBLE MUMBLE MUMBLE. Behind your back, in the quietest voice, but never to your face. Obviously, that isn’t true of every Mexican and some parts of Mexico are different. I find those from the north to be more direct. And some gringos will just have a different experience. Your mileage may vary.
3. So, on a day to day basis, it’s VERY unlikely for any local to approach you telling you to go home. Give you a bad look if you are speaking in English in public in an area like Roma Norte? That could happen and has to me (only once though I don’t speak much English in public because most of my friends are Mexicans). But again, MUMBLE MUMBLE MUMBLE MUMBLE MUMBLE. On a day to day basis, they aren’t saying anything to you.
4. A lot of the hate that you see though is online. Most of it is. 99% of it is. I’ve never had ONE person come up to me and give me shit for living here. Nobody. It’s like how people you see on Twitter behave in ways that are anti-social or over reactionary to something but how that doesn’t represent the average Joe (Jose?) in Mexico.
5. Having said that, you have had reports of police and migration officers fucking with gringos in regards to their immigration status. That’s probably the biggest change. Plenty of illegal (or undocumented? Don’t Mexicans say nobody is illegal in the US …) gringos down here. The cops just fishing for their bribes (and the ones fishing while accusing any random gringo of being illegal is only really happening in said touristy areas). And the migration officers are just doing their jobs. Not even overly focused on gringos (though some have been stopped in the street and asked for their papers).
Still, the migration officers are mostly concerned about Africans, Central Americans, Haitians, Cubans and Jamaicans. And, as you can see here, the Supreme Court just ruled some of their activity to be illegal.
You were never likely to be asked for your papers in the street (though it could’ve happened) but now you are not likely at all to (assuming said migration officers respect the Supreme Court. Time will tell …). Still, if you are an illegal gringo not wanting to be forced home, avoid getting on a bus traveling from one city to the next.
6. You also have to understand the envy behind it all also. Plenty of envy politics in Latin America. And, with that said, a type of local to be most annoyed about your existence is the young, left leaning type of activist local who could be poor with no money to his name but sees you walking into an easy life down here (though most poorer Mexicans working and living in poorer or normal areas won’t see many gringos). Or maybe upper middle class locals (can they be the leftist activist type too? Sometimes but not always ….) who don’t like being proven to not be as wealthy as they thought they were.
Let’s go into that for a second because the poster is really griping about gentrification.
Gentrification is an issue. The low paying jobs compared to high cost of living is an issue. Both issues have been around well before the recent wave of foreigners due to Covid. They were around when I first started here and were around well before I arrived.
It’s not just the gringos who have caused the problem. It contributes to it when you got folks paying twice or three times as much for something and not complain about it. Of course, leave it to a local to only see us gringos as the problem in that transaction and not the local taking advantage of the new gringo in town who doesn’t know local prices. Even if he did, the local offering his service is still partly to blame I would argue (though can you blame him? Dude found a piggy bank and has mouths to feed to be fair…).
Still, one thing I always disliked about this conversation when you read news articles about it by journalists at the BBC, NYT or wherever else (journalists who quite possibly don’t even live here…) is when they make comments or suggest something indirectly that doesn’t make any sense.
In the US, when people talk of gentrification, it’s often in regards to poor person who has lived in an area for a long time and is now forced out.
Some locals have been here for a long time and are leaving to be fair but….
First, the average local living in Roma Norte or Condesa isn’t poor and many others have not been here for decades.
Said local who was able to live in Roma Norte in 2018 but can’t anymore in 2021 or 2022 (I use those dates because rental prices actually went down in my experience at the beginning of Covid around 2019 to 2020 when everyone left the city initially), is not suffering.
That person is not your stereotypical case of some poor person who works several jobs, hand to mouth, never owns anything, struggling, etc.
If you were living in Roma Norte in 2018, chances are you’ll be find if you move elsewhere and you probably don’t have to move far (just the neighborhood next door that is a 5 to 10 minute metro ride away).
But some of the articles I’ve read indirectly suggest that these people are now being forced to move as far away to places like Indios Verdes (near the top northern end of the city that is known to be a shit area).
I guarantee you that they are not moving to Indios Verdes.
Not in a million fucking years (unless they lost their job, had someone steal all their money, don’t have a support network and developed a heroin addiction).
To be fair, I don’t know what would be a good comparison for Lima. Let’s say some local who could afford to live in Miraflores for a few years after or during college and the next year he can’t. If he could afford Miraflores one year, he probably isn’t moving far away to Carabayllo. Maybe he’ll move to San Isidro (I have no idea if these comparisons are accurate. I’m just basing it off references made in your blog and what I can see on Google Maps).
Still, you get the idea. Said local is now moving to an area that isn’t bad. From Polanco to Anzures for example. Is right next door to the most popular area. But isn’t worth bragging about.
And so take your upper middle class Mexican — who is at the bottom of the upper middle class — and who can barely afford to live in Roma Norte but just enough and makes it work. Enjoys telling his friends that he lives in Roma Norte. It has some status. Then he gets kicked out by the arrival of gringos raising the costs (and the locals demanding higher costs to be fair and also sitting on empty apartments that they CHOOSE to not rent to anyone which isn’t the fault of gringos either).
You can see anyway why said local in that circumstance would be pissed (apart from poorer left-leaning ones who are just envious and take the envy politics straight out of the LMAO-AMLO playbook).
And, on top of it all, the other dumb thing is this grouping of all foreigners into being wealthy people spending twice as much beyond typical market rates. Yes, probably a majority of gringos do make a lot more money than the average local.
But I’ve known PLENTY who were not making the money locals think we have. Living on 500 bucks a month even! In fact, I had been one of those gringos. I used to live years ago on just 300 bucks a month. While I’m past that, I’m still not a millionaire either by any stretch of the imagination. And I’m not against generalizations either. Still, the conversation at hand about us expats isn’t very nuanced but that’s typical of the local mindset from someone too ignorant due to lack of experience with us (if any at all) to know how different gringos live (even some who do make good money are smart and experienced enough to not spend crazy amounts more than what is typical. Not all of us are recent arrival tech bros looking to spend 2500 USD for an apartment. Many are not actually).
Still, to be fair to those complaining about gentrification, obviously when upper middle class locals are pushed out of the nicest areas like Roma, they’ll bring their money to decent but normal areas and that could, in theory, raise prices there. A ripple effect throughout the city. Still, one has to wonder how much of a ripple effect is it really. How far does it reach?
Especially when we are talking about the edges or near edges of the city like when articles by journalists who don’t know anything talk about those by Indios Verdes. I never lived by Indios Verdes but I lived very close to it just slightly to the west (very very slightly) near Metro Poitecnico. I also live now in Santo Domingo and lived here before when rental prices were, in theory, lower due to everyone leaving the city at the start of Covid but before the arrival of extra gringos.
I paid 125 bucks a month to live by Politecnico and that was 6 months ago. Where I live now in Santo Domingo, I pay also 150 bucks a month (fancy! An extra 25 bucks, I’m moving up in the world). When I first lived here over two years ago, I was paying 180 bucks roughly for a nicer place. So prices were basically the same. I’m sure I could have found a place back then like I can now that costs around 100 to 150 a month.
So no, the ripple effect of upper middle class locals moving out of Roma Norte (an area that, if gringos are gentrifying now, those upper middle class locals were too back then but let’s not discuss the fault of the local on the higher costs in the area historically) is not being felt as far away as in Indios Verdes.
That isn’t to say that people aren’t suffering financially in said area. Those living there tend to be poor to begin with. That’s why they live on the periphery and have to commute 40 minutes to an hour or more more to work. But there are many reasons for that and an extra wave of gringos going to Roma Norte isn’t impacting them much.
In fact, one article I read was discussing how a lot of those commuting from Indios Verdes to Roma Norte work in tourism (restaurants, bars, hotels, etc). In theory, the extra gringos are actually putting money in their pockets by creating more demand for their labor.
Finally, on one other point, some have argued online that the letter in the article above was made by another gringo. That the English is too good or that it’s phrased in a certain way that sounds like how a gringo would write it out versus a Mexican.
While your average Mexican does have shit English (and to any Mexicans reading this — no, that doesn’t mean you are badly educated. Drop the insecurity), that doesn’t mean that one with solid English couldn’t have written it.
Actually, they don’t even need that much English to write it out, do they? The sentences are not very sophisticated. They were not writing paragraphs. Doesn’t look too difficult for a Mexican (even with average English but maybe with the help of Google Translate) to write up.
Quite honestly, I could see a gringo being behind this than a local. Based on the online internet outrage, I’ve seen a lot more gringos act snobby about the arrival of new gringos and not as many Mexicans (though some do complain). I just think it’s those snobby leftist types who use social issues to bludgeon anyone to feel better about themselves. Or the gringos who are bitchy about “their corner” of Latin America being flooded with gringos and now it “doesn’t feel authentic” or whatever their real issue is while hiding behind some fake outrage about how “new gringos are raising prices” when they themselves likely are or would have.
I remember on a Facebook Expats in Mexico Group where some dude was complaining about how gringos ruined his dream of buying a nice beach house in some random part of Mexico. Oh, the prices were so low back then! Now they fucked it all up! But wait? Wouldn’t he have contributed then quite possibly to a rise in prices? So he’s just bitching because he didn’t get in early. Let us play the World’s Smallest Violin.
At any rate, it’s not a new issue. You got letters like these posted in other cities around the world because rising cost of living impacts us all. I do think some of the locals have more legitimate complaints like about the rising cost of living to the wages. Unfortunately for Latin Americans who don’t make money online, they don’t have as much freedom as we do from places like the US to just travel to a cheaper country (with the better passport and more remote work opportunities that pay in USD). Still, plenty of Americans cannot afford that either to be fair. How many people in the video below here are in a position to? We’re just more likely to than other nationalities.
But, as you can see here, some Latin Americans are becoming “digital nomads” even if they are far and few in between relative to other nationalities (with some countries like Argentina, Brazil or Chile likely dominating that group).
Anyway, that’s enough of a ramble. The letter in the article really touches on many subjects and one could go on into much greater detail on any of the ones discussed here.
But what are some solutions? I don’t know but I’ve heard ideas.
1. Above all though and despite my criticisms on the conversation surrounding this topic, I do agree though that there is an issue like I said before in many parts of the world and not just Mexico. Absolutely something needs to be done. Perhaps more regulations on AirBnB.
2. If Mexico doesn’t want rich expats flooding said areas, maybe they can lower their residency requirements and let poorer ones get residency and even give them preference as they are less likely to gentrify given their lower incomes (but wait! Then the snobby upper class locals will be mad and say we “couldn’t make it back home.” Huh, that’s odd: We’re the bad guys if we make lots of money and we’re the bad guys if we make too little and don’t shit out hundreds a day to their benefit …. Well, maybe it’s just a cover, for some locals, for their xenophobia? Eh, I’m rambling again ….)
3. And, as I’ve heard some suggest, maybe have an official price for foreigners when it comes to rentals and a price for locals with maybe restrictions on how many of your tenants can be foreigners? Not sure how likely this would work but I’ve heard the idea proposed. Only issue I have is I can see some foreigners with residency or actual citizenship (through naturalization) butting heads with a local landlord who thinks his proof of citizenship or PR is bullshit and refuses to offer the lower price because “foreigners don’t get naturalized!!!” Still, it’s an idea.
4. Regulations on having to rent out your space and not just sit on it leaving so many apartment buildings unused that could be used for rent and provide more supply in theory.
Granted. I’m not an economist. Some of those are not very market friendly solutions. They’re only the ones I’ve heard (with the second idea being mine but that was really just to point out a certain irony). Either way, I don’t stand too strongly behind some of those ideas because I truly don’t know how good they are. Perhaps there are better solutions but I couldn’t tell you.
But that’s all I got for now. It is an issue. People are struggling. Something needs to be done. Gentrification is an issue and so is the rising cost of living with many poorly paid jobs in general. The extra flood of gringos has impacted the rising cost of living in a select few neighborhoods. Agree with all of it. Only that there’s a strong bit of bullshit coming from some of those engaged in the conversation on this topic and, going full circle, I don’t find the average local seeing me as a plague. Absolutely not in the non-touristy areas and most are chill in touristy areas too (even if there isn’t any special treatment and even if you got a few extra snobby types up there).
The end of my 1 hour ramble.
Also, to expand a little bit more on the issue of rent in Mexico City, here’s an interesting study done by UNAM.
Link here: https://www.iis.unam.mx/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Reporte-Viviendas-Rentadas-Rev2-131221.pdf
As far as I can understand, the study at no point mentions gringos or foreigners or gentrification or any of that to explain why around 30% of the people in Mexico City had to move out of their apartments that they were renting.
And obviously many of those people — including those who DID have to move as far away to Estado de Mexico as you’ll see in the quotes below — were PROBABLY not moving from Roma Norte or Condesa if I had to take a guess (those moving away from those areas again probably had enough money to move to a normal neighborhood close by if they didn’t lose their jobs from the Covid restrictions, which gringos had no control over).
Instead, it primarily attributes the problem to the effects of the Pandemic on employment levels (and, to be fair, I would also add from personal observations that many young people left because they were worried about getting the virus and wanted to be home. And, among young people, you had those who were just students where, when schools closed, they went home for that reason too). Here’s some key quotes:
From Pages 25 and 26: “Como es bien sabido, el impacto inmediato de la pandemia se produjo en el empleo y, sobre este tema, el sondeo reflejó una disminución de 26% en el número de personas que trabajan en los hogares a los cuales ha llega- do, así como una disminución de 27% en el número de personas que aportan ingresos. Todo indica que la pérdida de empleos orilló a muchas personas a buscar otras alternativas habitacionales. Así, casi la tercera parte de quie- nes participaron en el Sondeo, que residían en la cdmx (32%), cambiaron de residencia en el año siguiente al inicio de la pandemia. Más de 40% de quie- nes cambiaron de residencia, se movieron hacia el Estado de México o a otros estados de la república. Sobre las razones del cambio de domicilio, el sondeo reveló que este se debió, en 57% de los casos, a dificultades para pagar la renta y en 14% a la petición del propietario de devolver la vivienda rentada o prestada.
Sobre la forma en que tuvieron que dejar sus viviendas, el Sondeo explo- ró el tema del desalojo. Si bien éste no se presentó en forma masiva, 15% de los/las participantes señalaron que fueron víctimas de un desalojo, aunque no se utilizó un procedimiento judicial para ello debido a que los tribunales estaban cerrados.”
“En este sentido, y para que la crisis que estamos viviendo nos fuerce a ver la necesidad de cambiar las cosas, es necesario que se reconozca la necesidad de legislar por lo menos sobre desalojos, así como en materia inquilinaria en general, incluyendo la perspectiva de derechos humanos y con el fin de equilibrar la relación entre propietarios/as e inquilinos/as más allá de lo que prevén los muy limitados artículos del código civil de la Ciudad de México en la materia”
From Page 23: “A la pregunta sobre el desalojo que se hizo a quienes rentaban o pagaban una hipoteca (212), se observa que 32 participantes dijeron que sí fueron desalo- jados (15%). Prácticamente todos los desalojos fueron “por orden del propie- tario” (gráfico 7) y de estos, una cuarta parte (8 casos) fueron con violencia (gráfico 8).”
Also, on the last quote, it reveals something typical in Mexico: how tenant rights are not always respected and sometimes things can get “a little bit informal” between landlord and tenant. Any discussion about rental issues has to include better protections for tenants (at least to include better penalties for those getting physically violent on their tenants for not paying rent which, as we know, crimes like that don’t always go well punished in Mexico).
At any rate, one other thing I probably should include also is a mention regarding rentals closer to the center and not necessarily far away as Politecnico/Indios Verdes or Santo Domingo.
Out of curiosity, I took a look on Facebook for rooms in a shared apartment and what they rent out for in other areas.
I know a Mexican chick that I sometimes meet up with moved to La Viga area. Asked her about what she pays. She pays 3200 a month in rent or 160 bucks.
Compared to the years I’ve been here, that sounds right for a room even before the new flood of gringos.
Now, on Facebook, I’m just scrolling here through the options I see.
One room close to Revolucion (historic center) for 3500 pesos or 172 bucks.
Funny enough, I found one room being rented at in Condesa (one of those gringo heavy areas) for 4800 pesos or 240 bucks. That’s really not much more than what you would have paid in the years before the new wave of gringos. Last time I lived in Roma Norte (right next to Condesa), I paid 5000 pesos and rent was lower than in that area. When I first lived there in 2017, it was 4000 pesos.
I see another room in Historic Center that I actually lived in a year and a half ago. Rented at 4500 pesos but I was paying 4800 or 4900 for it back then. So rent is lower from her I guess.
Found another room in Historic Center for 3500 pesos or 172 bucks (and another just now for 3700 pesos).
Found another room at La Viga for 2500 pesos or 125 bucks. Found another for 2000 pesos or 100 bucks.
I could go on and on. You get the point. And while there are studies showing rental prices across the city have gone up (at least based on what I can find on Google in 5 minutes) and obviously half a dozen or more examples don’t reflect the broader markets by any stretch of the imagination, it still shows you that it’s not hard to find a cheap place to live in for those on low income in more centric areas (especially if they were young, in their 20s without a few decades of a career and need a cheaper place).
A lot of those prices too (like with the case of my old landlord) are even lower than what I paid or have seen in the market over the years for those specific areas they are rented in.
Of course, those areas (minus Historic Center) are not full of gringos (and Historic Center prices have always been lower than Roma Norte or Condesa). Even in places like Roma Norte or Condesa, I saw prices that were close to what I paid not long ago.
Still, above all, I just wanted to provide more context regarding the rental situation here.
None of the above is to deny that rental prices have gone up, that wages are not aligned with the cost of living, that gringos haven’t increased the prices in certain neighborhoods, etc. All of that is true without question. Only that there have been MANY other factors influencing all of it and the impact of extra gringos is not really as noticeable on the rental prices outside of places like Roma Norte or Condesa (areas that were gentrified also again in part due to local behavior well before the last wave of gringos). We are simply the punching bag to blame for it by some locals and some “better than thou” gringos (even though, on a day to day basis in real life outside, you don’t notice any real hatred against you specifically even with some of the xenophobia you see online. At least in my experience only).
It is what it is.
Alright, a little more interesting information to put out there and then I’m done (I think).
According to this source here that is dated March 2019 (basically when the Covid stuff began but before the recent wave of new gringos), there was reporting done showing the following:
“La Juárez, Polanco y Anzures son las colonias de la Ciudad de México (CDMX) donde rentan vivienda más extranjeros que mexicanos, según datos del portal inmobiliario Homie.mx. En la colonia Juárez, 7 de cada 10 personas que alquilan un inmueble son foráneas, mientras que en la Anzures son 6 de cada 10, en tanto que en Polanco 5 de cada 10.”
“Los venezolanos concentran el mayor número de extranjeros en estas colonias con 22 por ciento, le siguen los colombianos con 15.6 por ciento, después se ubican los estadounidenses con un 10 por ciento.”
To be fair, the number of foreigners from the US (and other places like Canada, England, Germany, etc) should be higher now in 2022 than in 2019 given the recent wave.
I couldn’t find any information as to how much higher though.
Still, there’s a few things to point out with this also:
For one, it again does support the claim that — yes — foreigners (not just from the US, Latin American ones too) have been driving up prices in these areas. More than Mexican renters (even though, as I said already, you got plenty of Mexican landlords on the other end of the transaction at fault, the area has been gentrified for a long time, some apartments are not rented out and sat on unused for a long time and the influence of “white Mexicans” (though not always white) is important to clarify also (and some of said Mexicans are just bitchy that we foreigners have more money and are pushing some of them out when they pushed out poorer locals before them given areas like Roma Norte used to have poorer folks like Otomi indigenous people and was basically a middle class neighborhood from roughly 1940s to 2000.
“The colonia was planned as an upper-class Porfirian neighborhood in the early twentieth century. By the 1940s, it had become a middle-class neighborhood in slow decline, with the downswing being worsened by the 1985 Mexico City earthquake. Since the 2000s, the area has seen increasing gentrification.”
“There are still unmaintained and abandoned buildings in which live squatters and other very poor people. In the 1990s, there was a small, poor community of about 35 Otomi in the colonia, living in abject poverty. Most earned money and depend on community soup kitchens. Most lived as squatters in abandoned buildings.”
Second, if we’re being honest, some (and only some to be fair) of the online hate against foreigners simply boils to “I don’t like seeing people different from me.” Some Mexicans online complaining about walking down an area and hearing English instead of Spanish. Well, get used to it. Every country has immigrants (expats?). They change communities. Your country has sent plenty of Mexicans to other countries like the US and changed the language heard outside also in specific areas.
Granted, we can discuss the differences between the US immigrants (expats?) coming to Mexico and doing that and Mexican ones to the US. I already know some will say “it’s not the same!” Whatever makes them feel better about themselves. There are differences but some of the fundamentals are the same. It’s another discussion that I’ll leave at that for now.
But part of the reason to bring that up is because the first source above also mentions how Venezuelans and Colombians make up a significant portion of the foreigner population in these areas. Again, I can’t say how it is now 3 years later since 2019. Though, when I last lived in Roma Norte a year ago, I remember seeing and meeting plenty of Venezuelans and some Colombians.
The irony though — perhaps related to the the point made about language — is that nobody complains about them but only complains about foreigners from “the West” or however you’d phrase it (even if you have plenty from places like Venezuela). Now you’d argue maybe that is due to prices (gringos spending more than Venezuelans). I could see it if we were talking about averages but two things:
1. I don’t know how much the Venezuelans make there but, if they were living in Roma (and plenty have been), then they got good income. Better than your average Mexican. Similar to “white Mexicans,” the fresas and so on, they can and do support the higher pricing of the area that contributes to its gentrification.
2. I’ve met no shortage of “Latin American” foreigners in those parts that have way more money than me and some other gringos I know.
But I’ll leave it at that.
Finally, who is gentrifying Polanco if 5 out of 10 are foreigners (who are not always from “the West”) and 5 out of 10 are Mexican?
Oh right — Mexicans then too.
Upper class, fancy fresa types who have money.
One of the more expensive areas of Mexico City.
So when we gringos show up — again, who are we impacting (at least the wealthy ones, not poorer ones like me)?
Well, not most locals since a vast majority of locals don’t live in places like Roma Norte, Polanco, Condesa, etc.
And, as we saw in previous comments, there are other factors contributing to the rise of rent, poor job salaries (which we don’t impact AT ALL), etc. Not to mention the many neighborhoods where cheaper rental options are still available in centric areas and those on the periphery and everything in between (and with prices similar to what I have seen here over 5 years).
But let the Bryans and the Karens — the white upper class Mexicans — cry and cry. They were used to pushing out poorer folks from these areas and now some of them are getting pushed out and they can’t tell anyone anymore that they live in Roma Norte for status points.
An arroyo of tears washing can be seen going down Durango street.
OK, that’s a little bit repetitive but I thought I’d give a little more context on some past things I wrote here.
Thanks! I was going to write but you covered everything. Most days after work I’m out and about fpr a couple if hours in my neighbourhood (just outside the periférico). I’ll tell you if I ever see a gringo, it’s been years already. 90% of the city is like that.
I guess the authors of these leaflets are indeed chairos = spoilt leftist rich kids who are slumming it for a few years. It is the same the world over, these hip gentrified urban villages always seem to provoke weird territorial attitudes.
It’s a fact that no matter where gringos go they are brutally apparent and inflict irreparable social, economic, and political damage. We probably made the biggest mistake 20 and 30 years ago by telling our cornfed pals where we were going. Points south of the border were made to be romantic destinations by the writers of the Beat Generation. Looking back at my journals I’m reminded that when I first got to Costa Rica in 1991, I was living like a king on $800 per month. Lots of girls, booze, nice rental house, and frequent field trips. Now, that’s what it costs to spend a weekend at the beach. The Pacific coast here is densely populated with gringo mongers and pensioners. Guanacaste to the north has become something like a wealthy white suburb of Chicago, speckled with Hollywood celebrities and cheapskate Canadians. There is nowhere left to go in Latin America, please stay home.
Latin America is a huge landscape. There are plenty of places to go free of gringos, albeit, they are off the beaten path. However, I will agree that the popular destinations are done.