Thursday, August 03, 2006

America's Emigrants: US Retirement Migration to Mexico and Panama

"In recent years a steadily growing stream of Americans has been heading south to Latin America, particularly for retirement. And as the baby boom generation ages, that stream is expected to gain speed. It will be carried along by rising medical costs, a reduced ability to rely on Social Security and pensions, and cheaper transportation and communications technology. A growing body of literature examines international retirement migration, but comparatively little is known about Americans who have retired to Latin America, particularly outside Mexico; why or how they decided to retire there; and what their experiences are in their new communities.
The size of the US-born senior population (those aged 55 or older) grew substantially in both Mexico and Panama between 1990 and 2000, and data suggest that these flows continue to increase rapidly. According to census figures, Mexico saw the number of US-born senior residents increase by 17 percent, while Panama saw a 136 percent increase during this period. In Mexico, where more geographically specific information is available, some of the municipalities with the fastest growth of this population were established expatriate retiree communities: Chapala (increase of 581.4 percent), Los Cabos (308.3 percent), and San Miguel de Allende (47.7 percent). At sites in both Panama and Mexico, real estate agents, developers, attorneys, and insurance brokers pointed out repeatedly that this growth had continued locally in the post-2000 years, reaching what one called a “frenzy” in Panama. Visa statistics from Panama, likely to capture only a subset of people who live there part- or year-round,showed that the number of US citizens obtaining pensioner visas more than tripled between 2003 and 2005 more"

from America's Emigrants: US Retirement Migration to Mexico and Panama by Migration Policy Institute