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THE DEMOGRAPHY OF MEXICO/U.S. MIGRATION

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THE DEMOGRAPHY OF
MEXICO/U.S. MIGRATION
October 19, 2005
B. Lindsay Lowell, Georgetown University
Carla Pederzini Villarreal, Universidad Iberoamericana
Jeffrey Passel, Pew Hispanic Center
* Presentation to the 10th Annual Conference of the
International Metropolis Project, Metro Toronto
Convention Centre
GROWTH OF THE MEXICAN-BORN
POPULATION IN THE USA
The number of Mexican born living in the United States has increased
steadily since the early 1970s, and especially in the latter 1990s
The total and Mexican unauthorized populations are at a record high.
One LA survey finds that, at most, the US Census missed 10% of
Mexicans. Estimates of 20 million undocumented persons have no
demographic basis.
About 80 percent of Mexican migration since the latter 1990s has been
unauthorized
Mexican Born Population in the
United States, Millions
0.5
0.6
0.8
2.2
4.5
6.7
9.2
11.2
1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 1995 2000 2004
Source: Passel 2004; 2005.
Origins of Estimated 10.3 Million Unauthorized
Residents, 2004
Europe &
Canada, 0.6
Asia, 1.0
Other Latin
America, 2.5
Mexico, 5.9
Africa,
Oceania,
Other, 0.4
TRENDS IN THE FLOW AND
RESPONSE TO ECONOMY
Net flow estimates have increased increase since the 1970s.
According to US data sources, net migration figures jump notably in
the 1990s.
Mexican data sources generate smaller net migration figures (reason
unknown), but also show increasing numbers.
Figures for net migration by period obscures yearly trends:
the yearly flow of migrants appears to responds to US job growth.
Average Annual Net Migration by Period
27.5
137.5
235
296
360
390
250
370
530
535
1960 - 1970 1970 - 1980 1980 - 1990 1990 - 1995 1995 - 1999 2000 - 2003
Mexican Data Estimates US Data Estimates
Annual Average Mexico-US Migration
0
100
200
300
400
500
600
1991 1993 1995 1997 1999 2001 2003
Source: Passel and Suro 2005
Annual Average Mexico-US Migration and US
Employment Rates
0
100
200
300
400
500
600
1992 1994 1996 1998 2000 2002 2004
Source: Passel and Suro 2005
Thousands of Migrants
91.0
92.0
93.0
94.0
95.0
96.0
97.0
US Employment Rate
Annual Mexico-US Migration
US Employment Rate
CROSSING AT THE BORDER
Mexican repatriation data indicate fewer cross-border attempts than
US apprehension data
Both data sources show that border crossing attempts correlate well
with changes in the economy.
an increase in attempted Mexico-US migration in the latter 1990s,
followed by a decrease since 9/11.
Deaths at the border are a little more today (300-400) than they were in
the 1980s. Leading causes of death are dehydration and exhaustion.
Border-crossing crime is down in areas using new enforcement
methods, although violent crime appears to be positively related with
volume of movement.
Conflicting findings on new enforcement methods and increases in
coyote fees.
U.S. Apprehensions of Mexican Border
Crossers and Mexican Statistics on
Repartriations (Thousands)
0
200
400
600
800
1,000
1,200
1,400
1,600
1,800
1980 1983 1986 1989 1992 1995 1998 2001
Source: USDHS, Mexican
U.S. Apprehensions
Mexicans Repartiated
FUTURE FLOWS
Divergent assumptions as to responsiveness of Mexican migration to
economic forces:
Mexican migration will increase thru the next century due to
cumulative causation, versus
Mexican migration will ultimately taper off due to slowing Mexican
population growth and increased job opportunities.
Official forecasts are for slowing by mid-century:
US Census and the UN are based on pure presumption
Mexico’s CONAPO is model based.
Still, even if it were to slow, future migration numbers would remain
substantial
Past and Future Estimates of Net Mexican Migration by the U.S.
(Census Bureau), Mexico (CONAPO), and the United Nations
0
100
200
300
400
500
600
1962 1977 1989 1995 1999 2002 2017 2032 2047
Source: Passel, see text
Numbers in 1000s
Historical Values
CONAPO
U.N. (Medium)
U.S. Census Bureau
NEW MIGRATION PATTERNS
Changing Circularity
Dispersion to “new settlement” states
Concentration or increased scale in traditional metros
Emigration of better educated Mexicans
Patterns of Female emigration
CHANGING CIRCULARITY
Four main reasons for lower return migration from historical levels:
urban employment of migrants in year-round and permanent jobs;
associated growth of Mexican communities in the United States;
IRCAs legalization program and stronger family networks; and
to a smaller degree, border enforcement in the last decade.
Research evidence strongly supports IRCAs impact, but can only infer
border interdiction as a reason for increased migration.
Greatest drop in circulation in the 1970s outside of agriculture and one-
year return rates were down to 25% return rates by 1992.
–Rates of return increased in the latter 1990s even as border enforcement
expanded.
–Data show Mexican migration is highly responsive to US job demand.
58.9
43.5
48.5
58.0
27.4
59.6
52.2
49.6
45.3
36.4
26.0 26.7
0
20
40
60
80
1987-1992 1992-1997 1997-2002
Probability of returning
Traditional North Center South-Southeast
.Probability of returning within three years by region and period,
1987-1992, 1992-1997 y 1997-2002
55.1
39.9
46.1
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
1987-1992 1992-1997 1997-2002
Probability of returning
All regions
Source:
Zuñiga, Elena, Estimates from ENADID 1992 and 1997 and Encuesta Nacional de Empleo 2002
DISPERSION
Mexican migration has tended to flow to just four U.S. states, but that
began to change in the late 1980s and especially in the 1990s.
There outflow from California began before both San Diegos hold the
line and Prop 187; suggesting new economic demand started the non-
traditional migration which now responds to a variety of rural and
urban industries.
Although Mexican migration tends to come from the same states, there
is increased movement from new states. A slight shift at the national
level can have dramatic impacts at the local level and the trend bears
watching.
Over half of Mexicans reporting a migration to the United States,
in three different samples over time, come from traditional states
There has been an increase in the share of Mexican migrants (9 to
13 percent) coming from southern and southeastern Mexican states
over the past 15 years.
Mexican Born Population by U.S. State
58
21
3
6
12
38
21
6
6
29
California Texas Arizona Illinois All Others
Source: Passel 2004
Percent of Total
1990 (4.5 Million) 2004 (10.6 Million)
Percent of Mexican Migrants to the United
States by State of Origin
52
52
54
21
16
15
18
20
18
9
13
13
1987-1992 1992-1997 1997-2002
Source: Zuniga 2004
Southeast
Central
North
Traditional
Concentration
A significant percent of Mexicans live in just a few U.S.
metropolitan areas in traditional states
50% of Mexicans live in just 12 metros (only one of
which is a non-traditional state), compared with the 75
metros needed to capture 50% of the total US
population.
The number of Mexicans concentrating in Los Angeles
doubled during the 1990s to 1.5 million.
Concentration has implications for integration and impact.
U.S. Metropolitan Areas with Fifty Percent of All
Mexican Born Residents, 2000
145,000
152,000
169,000
176,000
234,000
311,000
315,000
337,000
375,000
434,000
582,000
1,525,000
Oakland, CA
New York-Northeastern NJ
McAllen-Edinburg-Pharr-Mission, TX
El Paso, TX
Phoenix, AZ
Riverside-San Bernadino, CA
San Diego, CA
Dallas-Fort Worth, TX
Orange County, CA
Houston-Brazoria, TX
Chicago-Gary-Lake, IL
Los Angeles-Long Beach, CA
Source: Tabulations of Census 2000 microdata
EDUCATION & GENDER
Mexican born migrants either in Mexico or the United States typically
have low levels of education.
Females in Mexico are less educated than males.
Females in the US are slightly better educated than males.
Mexican migration is highly selective, the best educated are the most
likely to out migrate.
A significant percentage of Mexicos graduate-educated population
resides in the US and women with graduate degrees are
disproportionately likely to emigrate.
Mexicans with graduate degrees emigrated in increasing numbers in
the latter 1990s, perhaps reflecting the peso devaluation and stress on
Mexico’s middle class.
Mexican Adults in Mexico by Level of
Completed Education, 2000
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
Primary or Less Middle School
(Secundaria)
High School
(Prepatoria)
Bachelor or
better
Source: Mexican Census microdata
Percent of persons 25 and older
Male Female
Mexican Born Adults in the United States by
Level of Completed Education, 2000
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
40
45
50
Primary or Less Middle School
(Secundaria)
High School
(Prepatoria)
Bachelor or
better
Source: U.S. Census microdata
Percent of persons 25 and older
Male Female
Percent of All Mexican Born Adults Residing in the United
States by Level of Completed Education, 2000
0
10
20
30
40
Primary or
Less
Middle
School
(Secundaria)
High School
(Prepatoria)
Bachelor Masters Prof. or
Ph.D.
Source: Mexican and U.S. Census microdata
Percent of persons ages 25 and over
Male Female
MEXICAN FEMALE MIGRATION
MALE DOMINANCE
Historically males have been dominant in the Mexico-US migration.
Employers recruitment practices favored males.
Male absence conformed to the gender roles, but it has been thought
to be changing.
Females did appear to be more prevalent in the migration flow
following IRCA
Apparent discrepancy between Mexican and US data.
Percent Female of Mexican
Migrants to the United States
30
25
25
19
46
47
51
50
1991-1995 1993-1997 1996-2000 1998-2002
Source: Authors' tabulations, see text
Mexican Data U.S. Data
FACTORS EXPLAINING
DIFFERENCES
Mexican sources capture information only for households still in
Mexico. Males are more likely to be counted since they dominate
circular flows.
Women migrants are more likely to stay in the US.
Women are the last ones to leave the household. Once they leave, the
whole household disappears.
NON TEMPORARY-MIGRANTS BY
LENGTH OF STAY
Composition of Non-temporary Migrants by Length of Stay and
Sex
52%
13%
6%
29%
Less than 12 months
12-18 Months
More than 18 months
Not returned
22%
5%
7%
66%
Source: Own estimations based on ENE Migration module, 2002.
Male
Female
DIVERGENT TRENDS
Females have been relatively less likely to
migrate from Mexico; females who do
migrate to the United States have a greater
tendency to remain.
CHARACTERISTICS OF FEMALE
MIGRANTS
Women tend to migrate at young ages: ca. half of migrant
women are 15-24 vs. only 40% of men.
Women are more dependent on networks & family
7% of women vs. 29% of male migrants are household
heads
51% of women vs. 92% of male migrants report they
migrated to the United States to seek a job
WOMEN ARE LESS LIKELY TO
MIGRATE UNDOCUMENTED
Percentage of Undocumented migrants by sex and year of departure
1998
1999
2000
2001
2002
Total
Men
79,8%
79,0%
82,8%
76,3%
70,6%
76,0%
Women
62,0%
72,5%
60,6%
57,7%
54,2%
60,6%
Total
75,8%
77,7%
77,8%
73,0%
68,2%
73,1%
Source: ENE 2002 migration module
... Notwithstanding, we can assert that the biggest flows of migration have taken place when the recipient country has had more favourable conditions for the reception of international migrants. In this idea coincide Lowell et al (2008), who detected that the most evident reason for the increasing of migration Mexico-United States was the economic boom in the United States. Both MexicoUS migration and the economy really took off in the second half of the 1990s. ...
... On the other hand, IRCA failed to implement any important limitation or restriction to the hiring of undocumented immigrants in workplaces, while the new methods of reinforcing and surveillance in the border were implemented. Apparently, the new border regime failed to stop migrants, who simply found new routes of access to the country; the new regime may have led to an increasing rise of migrants to finish with the circulatory migration and opted for the permanent residency in the United States ( Lowell et al 2008). ...
... According to estimations of the United States, Mexican migration to the U.S. reached on average 500,000 per year, a number higher (in 150,000) than the estimates of sources of the Mexican government (Lowell et. al 2008). ...
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