How many Americans are Killed in Mexico?

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November 29, 2023
3 min read

Every year, millions of Americans travel to Mexico for a variety of reasons, ranging from vacationing to working there. Unfortunately, in recent years, the safety of Americans traveling to Mexico has been called into question due to the increasing amount of violence that has occurred.

In this article I aim to answer the critical question: how many Americans are killed in Mexico each year? I will explore the current statistics and figures related to American deaths in Mexico, analyze trends over time, and clarify if it is safe to travel to Mexico.

Looking for more tips on traveling in Mexico? Click here to see our comprehensive country guide to Mexico.

US-Mexico Relations:

The United States and Mexico have a long and complicated history, dating back to the Mexican-American War of 1846-1848. Relations between the two countries have been strained in recent years, mainly due to the influx of illegal immigrants from Mexico into the United States.

In 2021, the United States and Mexico reestablished a number of binational and regional institutional dialogues. The economic vitality of both countries relies heavily on the other; in 2019, Mexico was the United States' largest goods and services trade partner with $614.5 billion in total (two way) goods trade.

The countries also collaborate on key policies such as border management and supply chain flow. This shared commitment to their relationship is a testament to the strong ties that have been built in two centuries of collaboration and friendship.

Death of Americans in Mexico Chart

Average number of Americans Killed Annually in Mexico:

The average number of Americans killed in Mexico annually has been on the decline since 2018. According my data, 183 deaths on average have occurred each year since 2018 with 203 documented last year (an abnormal spike). The majority of these deaths are attributed to criminal activity and violent crime, with homicides being the leading cause for those aged 18-36.1

These disturbing statistics are further compounded by drug-related violence that often go unreported or undocumented. Increased cooperation between Mexican authorities and US officials is seen as key to combating this problem, but much work still needs to be done before these numbers can begin normalize.

Causes of American Deaths in Mexico:

The leading cause of deaths of Americans in Mexico is homicide. On average, 67 Americans are murdered each year. The majority of these deaths are linked to by turf wars over illegal narcotics trafficking routes, making them especially difficult to prevent or predict with any degree of accuracy. 

Behind homicides are vehicular accidents which over the last 4 years average 35 per year. 

Mexico has seen a steady decline in road traffic fatalities over the past four years. According to police data, 13,630 road fatalities were recorded in 2020, a 7.1% decrease on 2019. April 2020 saw a decrease of 34% in the number of casualties compared to the same month in 2019.

The World Health Organization (WHO) data published in 2020 reveals that fatalities due to road traffic accidents in Mexico totaled 2,722. This represented 2.64% of total deaths. The Safe Mobility Coalition estimates that 44 people are killed every day in road accidents in Mexico.

The lack of proper infrastructure continues to be a major factor in why vehicle accidents occur so frequently throughout Mexico. Roads that were once considered safe now require more caution due to the increasing number of cars and other vehicles on the roads. Furthermore, there is little enforcement when it comes to speeding or reckless driving which can make matters worse. Just be extra cautious when driving or riding on the roads here.

By The Numbers:

In 2022, Mexico welcomed a total of 66 million international visitors, of which 35 million were tourists and 13 million were Americans. This figure is considered impressive considering the economic, health and security challenges the country faced during the pandemic. It is also noteworthy that the number of Americans visiting Mexico increased by 4% compared to the previous year.

While deaths are unfortunate I do not think they should put off your travels to tourists spots in Mexico. To put in perspective, only 200 deaths occurred from 3 million visitors. This is 0.006% of Americans that visited the country last year.

Safety for Americans Traveling to Mexico:

If you are planning a trip to Mexico, you may be wondering if it is safe. The answer is that, while certain safety precautions should be taken, Mexico is safe for American travelers. As with anywhere else in the world, it pays to exercise caution and not put yourself in danger whenever possible. 

When traveling in Mexico, take the same steps to protect yourself as you would when visiting any other country. Be aware of your surroundings at all times and never leave valuables unattended. Avoid walking alone late at night and check government websites for travel advisories before visiting any area. With these simple steps taken care of, you can enjoy the beauty and culture that Mexico has to offer without feeling unsafe or overwhelmed by security concerns.

Check out my safety guide on traveling abroad here.

In conclusion, Mexico is a safe place to visit for Americans, however visitors should take sensible precautions such as not walking alone at night and being aware of their surroundings. It's a perfect time to start planning your next trip to this amazing country.

Here you can get more information on travel advisories in Mexico. Also, I put together a safety guide on traveling in Mexico, be sure to check it out!

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Written by:

I consider myself a world-travelling nomad and a foodie at heart. Born in Germany and raised in East Tennessee, my passion for exploration has taken me all over the planet - exploring unfamiliar lands and cultures is what truly inspires my soul!
I live outside of Doha and consider myself an inside expert on all things Qatar. I love exploring all the country has to offer and look forward to giving you valuable insights of where I call home!
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