Thursday, July 30, 2015
A Transformation in Mexican Migration to the United States: A Dramatic Decrease in Overall Immigration, Higher Socioeconomic Status Immigrants
Recent studies have shown that the patterns of undocumented migration to the United States are changing. While many political leaders decry Mexican immigrants in the United States, the characteristics of that group of immigrants is changing too. In "A Transformation in Mexican Migration to the United States," Rogelio Saenz reveals that the shift in migration has coincided with changes in the composition of the Mexican population coming to the United States. Sáenz reports that Mexicans migrating today tend to have higher socioeconomic status than earlier migrants and more women and older individuals are migrating.
The volume of migration from Mexico to the United States fell from 1.9 million in 2003–2007 to 819,000 in 2008–2012, a drop of 57 percent. The decline was widespread across states. The U.S. economic collapse during this period had a particularly dampening effect on construction and other industries that rely on a Mexican immigrant workforce. Indeed, during this period of economic decline Mexican migrants were among the first to be fired or displaced.
The policy brief uses data from the 2008 and 2013 American Community Surveys (ACS) to compare the demographic and socioeconomic profiles of Mexican migrants who migrated in the five years prior to each survey (2003–2007 in the 2008 ACS and 2008–2012 in the 2013 ACS). The analysis reveals that the shift in migration has coincided with changes in the composition of the Mexican population coming to the United States. Mexicans migrating today tend to have higher socioeconomic status than earlier migrants; more women and older individuals are migrating; and states that sustained the greatest declines in construction employment are experiencing low levels of migration.