San Miguel de Allende is located in the eastern part of Guanajuato in Mexico's mountainous bajío region. The bajío (low place) is a relatively flat region about 2,000 m (7,000 ft) above sea level surrounded by mountains; it is a part of the Mexican altiplano. San Miguel serves as the administrative seat for the surrounding municipality of Allende, Guanajuato.
San Miguel de Allende is located at 20°55′N 100°45′W / 20.917, -100.75. The municipality rests at 1,870 m (6,140 ft) above sea level. The municipality extends over an area of 1,537.19 km² (593.51 sq mi). To the north it is bordered by the municipalities of San Luis de la Paz and Dolores Hidalgo. To the west it is bordered by Dolores Hidalgo and Salamanca. To the south the municipality is bordered by Juventino Rosas, Guanajuato and Celaya, Guanajuato/Celaya and to the southeast by Apaseo el Grande. To the northeast it is bordered by San José Iturbide. Finally, to the east it is bordered by Querétaro municipality in the state of Querétaro. The municipal seat is located 274 km (170 mi) from Mexico City and 97 km (60 mi) from the state capital of Guanajuato.
According to the 2005 census, the municipality of Allende had a total of 139,297 inhabitants. Of these, 62,034 lived in the municipal seat of San Miguel de Allende (the ninth-largest community in the state), with the remainder living in smaller surrounding communities within the municipality, the largest of which are Los Rodríguez and Colonia San Luis Rey. The largest sector of employment among the 39,371 economically active inhabitants was manufacturing (18.1%), followed by construction (16.3%) and retail and wholesale commerce (13.6%).
As of 2006, the elected San Miguel city government officials were using these updated figures compiled from both the Mexican census bureau and from US consulate figures:
80,000 residents within the urban area.
60,000 residents within the 540 surrounding villages that are a part of San Miguel.
11-12,000 foreign residents at any one time, 7,000 of these on residency visas while the remainder are on tourist visas of a maximum of six months.
Of these foreign residents, 70% are from the United States, 20% are from Canada, and the remaining 10% are from 31 other countries. If the 12,000 foreign residents who live in SMA at any one time are considered as a percentage of the SMA urban population, foreigners make up 15% of the SMA population. If the 7,000 foreign residents who are on permanent residency visas, including FM3 and FM2 visas, are considered as a percentage of the total SMA population, foreigners make up 5% of the SMA population.