When we had our first lesson with the Spanish teacher, I asked a bunch of questions about the economic situation in Durango Mexico. Minimum wage is $42 pesos (about $3.80 USD) per day. It sounds like this is the going rate for unskilled manual labor. Our friends said that many people can’t even get the minimum wage for work. Most people work a 6 day work week here. This seems pretty amazing when you consider that a pound of tomatoes cost about $36 pesos.
Our teacher said that WalMart was considered a very good employer because they will hire young people and work around their school schedule. Working full time at WalMart pays about $500 pesos per week or about $45 U.S. Dollars. So that would give you a yearly salary of around $2,300 per year.
Our friends told us that $50,000 pesos per year (about $4,500 USD) is a pretty average annual salary for skilled labor here. That is what many of the lawyers and accountants make each year. Obviously there are many people who make more. Teaching at a top private school seems to pay somewhere around $1000 USD per month, but I think that is highly variable as well. Tuition is about $350 USD per child. Most of the teachers at the top private schools are brought in from overseas because all of the classes are taught in English.
The teacher also said that the cost of food in Durango was much higher than in some of the other Mexican states because almost all of the fruits and vegetables have to be imported from elsewhere. Durango does raise beef, so the beef prices are supposedly pretty good. We didn’t buy a lot of beef in the U.S., so it is harder for us to compare the price of beef.