This month, the National City-based International Community Foundation released findings of a survey they conducted of more than 840 senior retirees in coastal areas of Mexico who are over the age of 50. I’m republishing here portions of the Foundation press release that was posted on their web site:
- U.S. retirees in Mexico are relatively young and well-educated. Nearly 53% are under 65 years of age (and, in fact, 80% are 69 years or younger), perhaps indicating that Mexico may not be as attractive for older Americans that require additional medical care. In addition, almost two-thirds have at least a college degree, and another 28% had attended at least one-year of college.
- The respondents chose Mexico for retirement due to its proximity to the United States and its affordability relative to other U.S. retirement destinations.
- U.S. retirees residing in Mexico continue to maintain strong ties to the U.S.: 50% consider the U.S. their primary country of residency, and almost 22% return to the U.S. on a monthly basis. 85% remain in contact with friends and family in the U.S. through the internet, 64% used the telephone, and 33% used Skype.
- Retirees living in Mexico are worldly and world-wise. Of those that had considered retirement locations other than Mexico, 41% considered retiring in Central America or the Caribbean; 19% considered other non-U.S. destinations as possible retirement locations. Should quality of life decline in Mexico, those that are financially able could begin to look elsewhere.
- Mexico may become an alternative for those U.S. retirees facing economic challenges in the future. While survey results and focus group participants clearly express that economic reasons were a major factor in leading them south of the U.S.-Mexico border, the potential is likely greater than is being realized. In 2007, the California Elder Economic Security Standard Index (a financial measure that indicates basic financial needs for seniors in California) ranged from $21,000-$27,500 as the minimum needed for major California cities. The survey results show that nearly 44% of U.S. coastal retirees in Mexico live comfortably on less than $1,000 per month – an amount which underscores the potential demand for retirement options for low and middle income retirees in Mexico.
For more on the survey, go to the ICF website or read this story by San Diego Union-Tribune reporter Sandra Dibble.
To get an insight into the life of senior citizens retired in Mexicali, go to MexicaliMaryAnn’s blog: http://www.mexicalimaryann.com/
About the ICF (from their web site): International Community Foundation is a public charity working to foster lasting philanthropy to benefit under-served communities throughout the Americas and Asia. With over 70% of International Community Foundation’s recent grantmaking benefiting charitable causes along the Baja California peninsula, International Community Foundation is committed to assisting US donors with charitable giving needs from Tijuana to Los Cabos.
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged baja, border, ICF, ICF survey, International Community Foundation, mexicali, mexico, quality of life, Retirees, retiring, retiring in Mexico, Tijuana
Financial Times correspondent Adam Thomson is posting blog-like descriptions about his 14-day visit along the U.S.-Mexico border, and you can read what he has to say here.
In his first few days in Tijuana, Adam checked into a hotel in the central district, visited the migrant shelter and took a stroll along the western-most part of the border fence where metal meets the ocean waters(picture above). The postings, called “Mexico border diary,” provide a traveller’s perspective of life along the border. The latest border diary page is from Mexicali. (addition: The “border diary” seems to have prompted some critical response for its description of Tijuana. See comments below…)
Thomson’s project involves writing more standard news stories about border issues – such as this one from the Texas border – in what’s described as a series on “the changing nature of the US-Mexico border, on communities being torn apart by restrictive U.S. policies,” according to the paper’s web site.
Chasing tips about tunnels is the kind of thing that border reporters do. After a few years of this, I developed a routine: Change into jeans and tennis shoes, grab a map, and bring a sweater in case the search drags into the night.
Typically, but not always, the tunnels would be discovered on the U.S. side. Being based out of Tijuana, my job was to find their entrance. Often times this was what the Mexican authorities were doing, too, so the process involved us – reporters, mostly Mexican – hanging around the periphery of whatever area seemed to be of interest to the investigators. Sometimes the hunt took up to 24 hours, but it was often worth the wait. Since Mexican authorities were less strict with liability issues, this could mean a chance to poke around a recently-found tunnel (used to either smuggle people or drugs).
The last big tunnel I got to cover along the California border was the large one found December, 2007, in Tecate. It happened at the exact moment I learned my then-employer, The San Diego Union-Tribune, would be offering buyouts. My former colleague Sandra Dibble has since taken over tunnel duty, and writes this story about the latest incomplete tunnel found in Mexicali that included a hydraulic pulley. For a story by the Los Angeles Times, go here; for KPBS-San Diego, go here.
The Union-Tribune also has an interactive map and description of border tunnels since 1990. I’m not sure it has been updated, but at the end of December, 2007, I had counted 73 tunnels found since 1990 along the California and Arizona border.
Photo: Looking up from inside the Tecate tunnel, found December, 2007
U.S. and Mexican officials publicly define cross-border relations in positive terms such as “cooperation” and “strides.” I get the impression that things have improved, but behind the scenes Mexico still gets flak for not doing enough to stop drug trafficking while the United States is criticized for not doing enough to stop the southbound flow of guns.
Things get even touchier when officials are allegedly involved in the activities. The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that last week U.S. authorities in the Los Angeles area arrested a Mexican federal investigator, Carlos Alberto Cedano Filippini, and several other people on drug related charges. Cedano oversaw the Mexicali (Baja California) office of a Mexican federal investigations unit (AFI) that’s often compared to the FBI.
Interestingly, several days later, two Monterey County police officers were detained in Tijuana by Mexican authorities after allegedly bringing guns and ammunition across the border, according to the Monterey County Herald.
The Los Angeles Times also ran a story of Cedano’s arrest here.
(photo: Memorial cross at a La Rumorosa lookout point)
The road between Tijuana and Mexicali is full of hairpin turns and rollercoaster dips through a mountainous area called La Rumorosa. The stunning scenery includes desert views and picturesque clumps of oddly-shaped boulders that look like they were left behind by an army of beleagured Sisyphus clones. I always was secretly thrilled when my work required a trip to Mexicali because it meant driving through La Rumorosa. I find myself drawn to stunning places with an element of danger and I think La Rumorosa epitomizes that on many levels. Like an Aztec-worshipped deity, the mountains demanded their sacrificial victims. The bodies of three Mexican federal agents who had been working with U.S. investigators on a major drug cartel investigation were found here after being tortured and killed eight years ago. And one time I stopped to admire the view and counted twelve rusted and mangled carcasses of cars that had tumbled into the abyss. Because of this – or in spite of this – I find the drive through La Rumorosa to be an almost religious experience with its poetic juxtaposition of aesthetics and mortality.
To get a glimpse of what it’s like, check out this video originally posted on YouTube by Cristian Martinez of Mexico:
Map of road from Tijuana to Mexicali through La Rumorosa:
screen shot from Google maps