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Comparing Puerto Vallarta to Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Toledo and Wichita

James Scherrer

Visitors: 183

Being typical Midwestern US cities, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Toledo, and Wichita all have populations of approximately 330,000 /- 20,000 inhabitants. On the average, their populations have decreased by 1.5% during the past eight years.

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico also has a population of slightly over 330,000 people, however its population has exploded by more than 50% during the past eight years and its growth is expected to continue well into the future.

Aside from having roughly the same population, all six of these cities are similar in a number of other respects, however their differences are substantial. First, let's consider their similarities. They all have adequate infrastructure and services to support the residents; i. e. , travel terminals (airline, bus, train, and cruise boat where applicable), schools and universities, hospitals, police departments, water treatment plants, power plants and distribution systems, parks, theaters, stadiums, convention centers, etc. Of course, with this number of residents and consumers, they all have the “big box" stores such as Sam's Club, Wal-Mart, Costco, Home Depot, Office Depot, major super markets, shopping malls, etc. They also all have many fine restaurants, night entertainment, numerous clubs, golf courses, tennis courts, and other social activities. High speed internet, satellite TV, VoIP telephone, and all other modern day conveniences are also available in these cities.

Next, let's compare the cost of living in these cities. In Puerto Vallarta, the cost of housing, automobiles, imported goods such as clothing, electronics, and hardware, and certain food products is higher than in the Midwestern cities. Real estate taxes, labor related to almost all services including medical, dental, legal, etc. and the cost of products manufactured in Mexico is much lower in Vallarta than in the Midwestern cities. Gasoline, electricity, restaurant dining, social activities, etc. are comparable in all cities. As a note of interest, the Mexican peso has held constant with the US dollar for the past ten years. In summarizing, the overall cost of living in Puerto Vallarta is roughly the same as in the Midwestern cities and nobody should move to Vallarta to save money, nor should anybody avoid moving to Vallarta due to any excess costs associated with living in this tourist resort destination.

With so many similarities, we have to ask why the population of the Midwestern cities has fallen while that of Puerto Vallarta has increased by 50%. To answer that question, we simply have to compare the climates and the environments that these cities have to offer and the reason becomes quite obvious.

During the winter months of November through May, the average daily temperature in the Midwestern cities is 41*F, whereas in Vallarta the average daily temperature is 73*F. During those seven months, there is virtually no rainfall in Vallarta while the Midwestern cities are inundated with rain and snow. If you have any interest in outdoor activities such as fishing, golf, tennis, etc. , the climate in Vallarta during this time period is absolutely perfect whereas the miserable winter climate in the Midwestern cities is not very conducive to doing anything outdoors except perhaps shoveling snow!

Now, let's consider the environment. The Midwestern cities really don't have an awful lot to offer in the way of beautiful mountains and ocean side vistas! Located in the Sierra Madre foothills on the shoreline of Banderas Bay along the Mexican Riviera, Puerto Vallarta offers some of the most magnificent views to be found anywhere in the world.

With the ideal climate and the world class views, it's no wonder that 50,000 North Americans have made PV their winter retirement haven. Some might complain about unemployment in the Midwestern cities now approaching 6-8%, however those fortunate retirees in Vallarta are able to brag about their 98% unemployment rate! Therefore, virtually all of us have tomorrow off and with predictably beautiful weather, we can plan on doing whatever pleases us with whomever we want to do it!

Because Vallarta has been enjoying this explosion in growth, there is virtually full employment of the native Mexican residents. Most all of their jobs are related to serving the tourists and with an economy based on tourism, the majority of the younger locals are now speaking some degree of English. Those that speak little or no English are usually employed in construction or other jobs that have little interface with the foreign visitors. There is plenty of work available to all the local citizens; consequently, their standard of living has improved tremendously during the past eight years with many now having automobiles and living in new casitas in new subdivisions which are springing up everywhere. Also, due to the importance of tourism and the governments pursuit of foreign investment, the local officials place a great deal of emphasis on cleanliness of this resort destination as well as provide a maximum degree of safety and protection for all North Americans.

Although there are many similarities between the Midwestern cities and Puerto Vallarta, the differences are substantial; so much so, as to create a steady stream of retirees heading south of the border! With the combination of perfect weather, beautiful scenery, all of the modern day conveniences, numerous activities, and friends to enjoy them with, it's very obvious as to why tens of thousands of retirees are now making this Paradise their winter, if not year round residence.

Jim Scherrer is a retired entrepreneur from Houston, has owned property in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for 25 years, and has made Vallarta his permanent residence for the past eleven years. He founded Puerto Vallarta Real Estate Buyers´ Agents (PVREBA), whose mission is to reveal all the recent changes that have occurred in Vallarta while dispelling the misconceptions about living in Mexico. PVREBA acts exclusively as buyers´ agents by introducing North Americans to Vallarta, showing them properties that meet their needs and budgets, and assisting them through the foreign buying process, with all payments made by the listing agents. For the full series of 40 articles regarding Retirement in Puerto Vallarta as well as pertinent Puerto Vallarta links, please visit us at and click on ARTICLES.


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