Mexican residents are getting fed up with digital nomads and remote workers flooding their cities, driving up rent prices and gentrifying their communities.
A research from the Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) found that during the pandemic, roughly one-third of people of Mexico City had to relocate. The majority pointed to high rent as a contributing factor.
El Sol de México, a local news outlet, states that between 2020 and 2021, there was a roughly 27 percent increase in the number of judicially approved evictions in Mexico City.
This alarming number excludes informal rent agreements, which are preferred by the majority of tenants in Mexico City.
“Those who are too quick to celebrate the benefits of remote working should be more sensitive to the nuanced impacts of WFH on minorities and gentrification,” said Antonio M Bento, Professor of Public Policy and Economics at the University of Southern California.
Mexico City has become a hotspot for digital nomads and visitors because of its vibrant nightlife, delicious cuisine and easy visa requirements.
But as rents and living costs rise without control, some locals are urging current and prospective remote workers to stay away from the city.
A local activist group called “Observatorio 06000” held a “carnival” against gentrification last week.
“Housing yes! Evictions No!” the protestors urged. “Mexicano wake up, they are going to raise your rent!”
As visitor numbers soar, anger grows. Mexico City is the fifth-fastest expanding remote work center in the world, according to the popular website Nomad List.
The ranking is determined by the percentage of subscribers checking in from Mexico City, which increased by 125% in 2021.
Carnival organizers warned that these visitors “displace” locals from the city center.
“Our homes now house digital nomads,” an event flyer declared.
Some residents of Mexico City are happy about the influx of tourists because they boost the local economy by spending their high levels of disposable income.
International travelers spent 851 million USD on hotels alone between January and April of this year, according to tourism statistics.
Others, though, argue that much tourism is ruining the city’s culture.
One banner for the “Observatorio Vecinal del Centro Histórico” makes fun of the city’s homestay boom by reading, “It is reported that a very long time ago (before Airbnb) there was actual life in this building.”
“Are rent payments made here also in USD already?”