I did one or more interviews each day about economic wellness for two weeks in 3 different states: Michoacan, Jalisco, and Colima.
Interviews ranged from 30-60 minutes and included topics: income source, employment quality, wage growth, cost of living, changes over time, comparison if applicable, to the United States.
Most people interviewed were employees, a few were business owners. I did not interview any healthcare workers or doctors. The interviews were done in Spanish.
Big take away was affordable healthcare and overall security. Striking contrast to comparable interviews in Colorado, California, New York, and Vermont indicate struggle and insecurity.
Maria, housekeeper, Colima
Maria works for a 5 star hotel and also a motel. The work is more rapid at the motel, it has more turnover. She lives in the same neighborhood as the 5 star (see above) with her youngest daughter. Maria enjoys swimming, there’s a lush park with a rive and also a public pool.
Maria has 2 grown daughters, both born in the USA and have dual citizenship. One is a doctor, the other an attorney. Most of Maria’s family lives in Arizona, not Mexico. She saves enough from her hotel wages and tips to visit her Arizona family every year and go shopping, mostly for clothes. One of her brothers has been very successful financially, he owns a green taxi company in the San Francisco Bay Area and other businesses. She says she doesn’t envy him nor does the rest of the family because he’s under so much stress all the time. Maria and her daughter have full healthcare.
Take away — lifestyle is important, so is universal healthcare. Middle class in Mexico is rising where USA’s middle class is falling. Few hotel housekeepers in the USA can afford healthcare or annual shopping vacations or pool passes.
Alberto, taxi driver, Jalisco
Alberto is married, has 1 child, his wife works in an office. They own their own home and it’s paid for. They purchased a small lot and built it.
Alberto was the most conscious about dangers of driving from the cartels. He chooses routes when outside of Guadalajara with roadblocks and other dangers in mind. He works long hours and makes himself available 24 hours. The January 2019 gas shortage was causing extra work for him, having to spend hours waiting in line at gas stations.
Alberto and his family have healthcare. It’s paid by a small deduction from his wages. His description of having to make appointments several weeks out seemed similar to what a senior on Medicare experiences in the USA.
Juan has a truck repair business. He’s a mechanic and has a few employees. He was raised in an adobe house with a thatched roof, no plumbing. Juan owns a large home with 2 bathrooms, a garden, large living room, large kitchen. He built the house himself with the help of relatives and friends. His business is in a separate building. His wife also works, does administration for an elementary school. Juan describes his house as being “solid” – better than the paper houses in the United States.
Juan’s parents have prospered, they now have a home with electricity, one bath, three bedrooms. Hot water from solar. 3 of his sisters live in the USA. His elderly aunt had heart surgery, it was affordable. Nobody is going bankrupt from medical bills.