I know that a lot of people who watch my YouTube channel are foreigners who want to visit Mexico or even live in Mexico. One of the main reasons that Mexico is becoming a very attractive destination for people all over the world is its low cost of living relative to other North American or European countries.
People who retire in Mexico or who can work remotely from Mexico find that their money goes much further here than it does in their own country.
But what is it like for Mexican people who live and work in Mexico and earn local salaries? What do Mexican people consider to be a good salary in order to live well? I went out onto the streets of Querétaro to ask people their opinions.
What people said is a good salary in Mexico
If you watch the video, you will see that I received a wide range of answers from different people. That's to be expected, right? Different people have different expectations for what a good salary means and what kind of lifestyle it can offer.
As you might expect, younger people suggested lower amounts, generally between MX$10,000-MX$15,000/month. This is between US$500-$1000. When asked what kind of lifestyle that would allow someone, they answered that it was enough to pay for rent and food and a few luxuries on top.
The highest figure that anyone suggested was MX$30,000/month or US$1,500. The people who suggested salaries in this range tended to be a little older and they mentioned that this salary would allow for some travel and some savings each month, too.
It's worth mentioning that all of these interviews took place in the center of Querétaro on a Wednesday afternoon. It may be that if I asked these questions in a more affluent area or at a different time, I would have received different answers.
From the comments on the video, I can see that in certain industries, and particularly in Mexico City, salaries appear to be higher than those stated by my participants. However, I think that high earners are more likely to comment and mention how much they make so this is hardly scientific.
It is worth mentioning that just over half of Mexican workers operate in the informal economy. As a result, they are not paying taxes and accurate figures for how much they earn are difficult to find. Likewise, some higher earners may be under-reporting how much they make. All of these figures are official but it is worth treating them with some skepticism.
The Mexican minimum wage
The minimum wage in Mexico is currently MX$141 per day, which is around US$7. Note that salaries in Mexico are generally per day and very rarely stated per hour. In the north of Mexico, in the states which border the US, workers enjoy a higher minimum wage of MX$213, which is just over US$10 per day.
It's worth noting that if someone is paid monthly, their salary is the daily rate x 30. In other words, they are getting paid for their weekend as well as weekdays, even if they don't work on these days.
Official figures state that around 10% of Mexican workers earn the minimum wage or less and around 60% of Mexican workers earn less than 2x the minimum salary.
Mexico is ranked as the 19th most unequal country in the world. As the world's 15th largest economy, a lot of money is being made in the country but as we can see from the data, this wealth is not reflected in the wages of the majority of people.
If the official statistics are to be believed, many foreigners who work remotely or retire in Mexico are earning very high salaries compared to local workers. Even those US retirees with just the minimum social security income of around US$1,200 per month are able to enjoy a lifestyle that is out of reach for many here.
The fact that the cost of living is lower in Mexico compared to other countries is directly related to the fact that those people providing the goods and services are earning much lower wages than the workers in other countries. It is worth remembering this fact when discussing how cheap things seem in Mexico.
If you found this blog interesting, please feel check out the other blog entries below. Also, you can find a lot of interesting information about life in Mexico, cost of living, and culture on the YouTube channel La Karencita.