A full 10% of the population of San Miguel de Allende is expats, the majority of whom hail originally from the United States and Canada. As of 2019, 12,000 U.S. and Canadian expats call San Miguel home. With an increasing […]
A full 10% of the population of San Miguel de Allende is expats, the majority of whom hail originally from the United States and Canada. As of 2019, 12,000 U.S. and Canadian expats call San Miguel home. With an increasing number of U.S. expats in San Miguel, locals joke that the city has become more like Disneyland than Mexico.
San Miguel is located in central Mexico, a 10-hour drive from the U.S. border, in the state of Guanajuato. Tourists frequent the well-preserved city center and its elegant buildings that date back to the 16th and 17th century. The grandeur of the city provides a stunning backdrop for Boomer expats who enjoy the cultural, entertainment, and recreational activities around the district.
A noticeable number of first-wave expats into San Miguel, particularly from the U.S., were artists. Even today as a wider range of expats move into the city, parts of San Miguel maintain the feel of an artists’ colony.
In addition to its favorable cost of living and cultural offerings, San Miguel scores big with expats because of its mild climate and low crime rate. It also has an international airport within a 90-minute drive, making it relatively easy to reach from the United States. This is a key consideration for a good number of retirees who have children and grandchildren in the States.
San Miguel epitomizes one of the three trends that encourage American retirees to emigrate to Mexico. In San Miguel, American expats have a tremendous influence on the city’s overall scene. From organic bistros to clothing stores that feature American fare and entertainment with a U.S. flare, strolling through many parts of San Miguel it can be hard to tell if you actually departed the States. Although this is appealing to some expats, a number of Mexican nationals residing in San Miguel derisively refer to this trend as “Disneyfication” of their community.
Two other trends are less obvious in San Miguel, but they are evident in other communities popular with U.S. expats discussed in this book. There are sections of San Miguel where U.S. expats can blend into the local population or scene, thoroughly intermingling with Mexican nationals. In addition, there are some enclaves within the city that are populated by U.S. retirees who migrated to the city and choose to live in cohesive clusters with others from the States.
Travis Scott Luther is the best selling Author of The Fun Side of the Wall: Baby Boomer Retirement in Mexico. Luther is also a former Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship at MSU Denver. He received his Masters Degree in Sociology from the University of Colorado Denver where he later served as Entrepreneur in Residence.
Luther first became interested in Baby Boomers retiring in Mexico during graduate school. His Masters Thesis research contributed to the content of this book. He continues to be interested in U.S. expatriates retiring all over the world and continues to monitor those who have retired in Mexico.
 Lange, D. (2014, June 30). Aging out of place in San Miguel, Mexico. Senior Planet.
 Willens, M. (2017, July 12). The second life of San Miguel de Allende. The Daily Beast.
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