The Southern States’ Exodus Across the Border Continues


Key Takeaways

  • US citizens relocating within the USA and to South America due to economic pressures and lower living costs.
  • Significant numbers, especially from Arizona and California, migrating to countries like Mexico. ‘The California Exodus’ saw 360,000 departures in 2021, marking a record migration.
  • Remote work’s popularity drives US workers to seek affordable living in less developed nations, fueling global digital nomadism.

Phoenix, AZ–According to data from the US State Department, the last two years have seen an unprecedented increase in US citizens migrating to areas with lower living costs, including other states within the USA and South America.

According to a report, although improving, the US economy has been facing national inflation, pressuring many from the lower-income segment of the population to seek intraregional migration options.

Another report describes how a significant number, predominantly from Arizona and California, have taken the big step of leaving the country altogether (1.6 million Americans currently live in Mexico). 

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International Exodus: Americans in Mexico

Per the report, 360,000 people left California in 2021 in what came to be known as ‘The California Exodus,’ the largest migration ever recorded in the state.

The recent popularity of remote work since the pandemic opened up new avenues for US workers seeking more value for their buck. A salary in US Dollars goes much further in less developed nations, where costs are lower, hence the global rise of the digital nomad.

Rise of Digital Nomadism and Global Impact

Even before the pandemic, South America had been a popular destination for short- and long-term tourism. According to, Mexico City is currently the sixth highest-rated destination for digital nomads globally. 

Although they do not yet have a visa designated for nomads, Mexican immigration offers a tourist visa and a temporary residence visa, both of which are suitable.

“I have seen many young people who normally work online, and they can be in wherever part of the world they want and have their income from the States so that in the case of living in Mexico,” said Jorge Mendoza, the Consulate General of Mexico, Phoenix in an interview with news channel ABC15.

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The recent mass mobilization of the global workforce has stimulated many tourism-centric economies worldwide to launch a version of the digital nomad visa (due to the positive effects observed on the economy).

Having said that, many cities worldwide face new challenges with the mass influx of higher-earning foreigners. For example, gentrification has reportedly been pricing locals out of their homes in Mexico City since landowners raised prices with the increased demand.

What We Think

The surge in US citizens migrating within the country and internationally reflects economic pressures and the allure of more affordable living. The ‘California Exodus’ and the substantial US population in Mexico underscore this trend.

The rise of digital nomadism amplifies this shift, impacting global economies and prompting nations to consider specialized visas.

However, challenges like gentrification in destination cities highlight the complexities arising from increased migration, necessitating careful consideration of the socioeconomic impacts on local communities.


Aqil K
Aqil K
Aqil writes about travel, tourism, and covers the many aspects of the digital nomad lifestyle.


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