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