Study: A Lot Fewer Mexican Migrants Left Their Country in the Last Two Years

A Mexican restaurant in North Carolina - Photo:

A Mexican restaurant in North Carolina. (Photo:

Fewer and fewer Mexican migrants have left their country in the last couple of years to move to the United States, with the total numbers declining “substantially,” says a recent report.

The 142,000 Mexicans who migrated abroad in the third quarter of 2009 were 8 percent fewer than in the same period in 2008, 39 percent fewer than in 2007 and 47 percent fewer than in 2006, according to the report from the Migration Policy Institute. The data come from a monthly household survey the Mexican government conducts nationally.

The study also notes that while “the number of migrants departing from Mexico has historically peaked in the summer months… this trend disappeared in 2009.”

The trend was “particularly pronounced” in Mexican towns with no more than 2,500 residents. The rate, which in 2006 used to be of 25.4 emigrants for each 1,000 residents, sank last year to 8.8.

“(R)ecent evidence suggests that immigration from Mexico has slowed in the context of the deep recession that officially began in December 2007 but started earlier in some regions of the country and sectors of the economy that are particularly important for immigrants,” the study’s author Aaron Terrazas wrote.

In any case, Mexicans continue to be the biggest foreign-born community in the U.S., with a total of 11.4 million that surpasses the populations of many countries, including Greece, Portugal, Belgium and Sweden, Terrazas noted.

With Mexico’s own population at 105.9 million in 2008, this means that about one of every 10 Mexicans resides in the U.S.

Mexicans are 30.1 percent of all immigrants in the U.S. and “over half of all Mexican immigrants reside in the (country) illegally,” the study says.

Terrazas pointed that “(t)he origins of Mexican immigrants have also changed over the past decade with more Mexicans coming from Mexico’s less prosperous south and southeast compared to the traditional sending zones in Mexico’s center-west region.”

AboutDiego Graglia
Diego Graglia is a bilingual multimedia journalist who has worked at major media outlets in the U.S. and Latin America. He is currently the editor-in-chief at Expansion, Meixco’s leading business magazine.