Mexico’s general minimum wage (Salario Minimo) was raised on January 1, 2022 to $172.87 pesos per work day, a 23% rise on the 2021 level of $141.70. The rate for 2022 along the ‘Northern Border Zone’ was raised to $260.34 pesos per work day, a rise of 23% on the 2021 rate of $213.39.
In years past the minimum wage had been raised more-or-less in line with inflation, to avoid a wave of wage demands that could cause a spiral of increases in prices and wages which would eventually have the most impact on the poorest people. The problem was that the minimum wage has for years been so low that it isn’t enough to for a single person to live on, never mind a whole family.
The uncoupling of minimum wage to official prices
The decision to start raising the minimum wage more than other wages in a bid to even-up earnings took several years to implement. First it was necessary to uncouple thousands of official prices —including things like speeding fines and home loans— which for years were determined in multiples of the minimum wage. For example, a big increase in the minimum wage level would have made hundreds of thousands of mortgages from the government-run agency Infonavit unaffordable. The process of creating a new unit of value to replace the minimum wage for those prices took more than a year. There was also a need to take into consideration studies on the possible effects that the change would have on wages and employment. In 2016, Mexico introduced the Unidad de Medida y Actualización (UMA) to enable minimum salaries to rise without adversely affecting other official costs and charges.
Effect of minimum wage rises on residency applications
The financial criteria required to obtain legal residency in Mexico may be calculated using Minimum Salary figures or UMA. For further information about this, read: Mexican Immigration Begins to Adopt UMA for Residency Qualification.
Mexico’s Minimum Wage 2016-2022
- In 2016 the minimum wage as $73.04 pesos per work day;
- in 2017, the minimum wage rose about 9% to $80.04 pesos per work day;
- in 2018 it rose just over 10% to $88.36 pesos per work day;
- in 2019 it rose a further 16% to $102.68 pesos per work day;
- in 2020 it was increased 20% to $123.22 pesos per work day;
- in 2021 it was increased by 15% to $141.70 pesos per work day; and
- a rise of 23% took effect from January 1, 2022, making the current minimum wage $172.87 pesos per work day.
Northern Border Zone
In 2019, Mexico introduced a ‘Northern Border Zone’ minimum daily rate of $177.72 pesos a day, and this increased:
- to $183.56 pesos per work day as of Jan 1, 2020;
- to $213.39 pesos per work day as of January 1, 2021; and
- to $260.34 pesos per work day as of January 1, 2022.
The ‘Northern Border Zone’ is a defined set of municipalities in Mexican states bordering the USA.
Calculating the cost of living in Mexico
Our guide to the Cost of Living in Mexico is a comprehensive source of information about prices in Mexico that can help you to form a detailed budget based on your individual plans and circumstances.
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