Mexican residents are fed up with digital nomads and remote workers flooding their cities, driving up rent prices and gentrifying their communities.
Research from the Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) found that during the pandemic, about a third of Mexico City residents had to move. The majority cited high rent as a contributing factor.
El Sol de México, a local media outlet, says that between 2020 and 2021 there has been an increase of around 27% in the number of court-approved evictions in Mexico City.
This alarming number excludes informal rental agreements, which are preferred by the majority of tenants in Mexico City.
“Those who celebrate the benefits of remote working too quickly should be more sensitive to the nuanced impacts of remote working 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 due to its vibrant nightlife, delicious cuisine, and easy visa requirements.
But as rents and the cost of living rise unchecked, some residents are urging current and potential remote workers to stay away from the city.
A local activist group called “Observatorio 06000” held a “carnival” against gentrification last week.
“Housing yes! Expulsions No!“, urged the demonstrators. “Mexicans wake up, they’re going to raise your rent!”
As visitor numbers soar, anger grows. Mexico City is the fifth fastest growing remote work center in the world, according to popular website Nomad List.
The ranking is determined by the percentage of subscribers registering from Mexico City, which increased by 125% in 2021.
Carnival organizers have warned that these visitors are “displacing” residents from the city centre.
“Our homes are now home to digital nomads,” said a flyer from the event.
Some Mexico City residents are happy with the influx of tourists as they boost the local economy by spending their high disposable income.
International travelers spent $851 million on hotels alone between January and April this year, according to tourism statistics.
Others, however, argue that much of the tourism is ruining the culture of the city.
One of the banners of the “Observatorio Vecinal del Centro Histórico” pokes fun at the homestay boom by reading, “It is reported that a very long time ago (before Airbnb) there was real life in this building.”
“Are rent payments already made here also in USD?”