Compared to its North American neighbours, Mexico is much more affordable. That being said, the capital is much pricer than the rest of the country. In 2023, Mercer's Cost of Living Survey ranked Mexico City 79th out of 227 cities – a jump of 70 places compared to 2022's ranking. Other cities, such as Monterrey (155th) are much more affordable.

Nevertheless, many foreign retirees find that their pension stretches a lot further in Mexico than it would back home. For this reason, along with the relaxed and high-quality lifestyle, the country has become an increasingly popular expat destination.

The cost of living in Mexico varies substantially depending on where an expat lives. It's possible to live inexpensively in the country's rural areas, but life in the cities is considerably more costly.

Cost of accommodation in Mexico

Expats living in Mexico will likely find accommodation to be their greatest monthly expense. This naturally depends on where they live in Mexico, as property prices and rentals can vary considerably. In general, expats will find good value for money when it comes to renting or purchasing property, particularly in the more rural areas. Cities, resort towns and beachfront locations tend to be more expensive.

Both furnished and unfurnished accommodation is available and houses and apartments often come with fully-equipped kitchens, which may help expats save on start-up costs.

Cost of transport in Mexico

Mexico has an extensive public transport system which is affordable and reliable. Buses travel between most towns so travelling around the country is easily done without a car. 

Many towns are easily navigable on foot or bicycle, but driving does provide expats with more freedom. Many expats therefore prefer to drive and must budget for purchasing, maintenance and fuel costs.

Cost of schools in Mexico

While public schooling in Mexico is free, with expenses only for school supplies and textbooks, private and international schools are often preferred by expats due to their higher standard of education and facilities. Expats can choose between a range of private schools that offer bilingual education and a familiar curriculum to help ease the transition process for their children and secure a quality education. Alternatively, international schools provide a multicultural space for children from all over the globe to get to know each other. While the costs are high, they are generally worth it. School fees range between institutions.

Cost of healthcare in Mexico

Some public healthcare facilities in Mexico are excellent, providing a high standard of care. That said, many expats prefer private hospitals, but these come at a heftier price. Expats with international medical scheme must ensure that their insurance covers the specific hospital they visit. Healthcare expenses quickly add up with check-ups, medication and additional support, so it's important to research the best insurance companies.

Cost of living in Mexico chart

Note that prices may vary depending on location and service provider. The table below is based on average prices for Mexico City in September 2022.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

One-bedroom apartment in the city centre

MXN 15,014

One-bedroom apartment outside the city centre

MXN 9,041

Three-bedroom apartment in the city centre

MXN 28,229

Three-bedroom apartment outside the city centre

MXN 16,546

Food and drink

Dozen eggs

MXN 36.31

Milk (1 litre)

MXN 25.10

Rice (1kg)

MXN 27.44

Loaf of white bread

MXN 38

Chicken breasts (1kg)

MXN 116

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

MXN 69

Eating out

Big Mac meal

MXN 130


MXN 20


MXN 52

Bottle of beer (local)    

MXN 50

Three-course meal at a mid-range restaurant

MXN 725

Utilities/household (monthly)

Mobile call rate (per minute – mobile to mobile)

MXN 1.97

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month) 

MXN 530

Basic utilities (average per month for a standard household)

MXN 952


Taxi rate/km 


Bus fare in the city centre       


Gasoline/petrol (per litre)

MXN 22.94

Expat Health Insurance

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