More Mexican Immigrants Leaving U.S. than Entering … and Most are Leaving Voluntarily

Saturday, November 21, 2015
(photo: Charlie Riedel, AP)

The flow of immigrants between the United States and Mexico was largely a south to north pattern over the past 50 years. But the Great Recession and weak recovery has caused a reversal in the U.S.-Mexico immigration relationship, with more heading south than traveling north.


The Pew Research Center says more Mexican immigrants have returned to Mexico from the U.S. than have migrated here since the start of the economic recovery. Pew researchers also found that most of those returning to Mexico have done so voluntarily, and that only 14% were deported.


Using data from the 2014 Mexican National Survey of Demographic Dynamics (ENADID), Pew estimated one million Mexicans and their families (including U.S.-born children) moved to Mexico from 2009 to 2014. Over the same period, 870,000 Mexican nationals left Mexico to come to the U.S., according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.


Pew study author Ana Gonzalez-Barrera also acknowledged that “measuring migration flows between Mexico and the U.S. is challenging because there are no official counts of how many Mexican immigrants enter and leave the U.S. each year.”


The reversal of the migration flow is something “we haven’t seen…since the 1930s,” Gonzalez-Barrera told the Los Angeles Times.


As to the underlying reasons for the results of the Pew study, she concluded, “I would not say that Mexico has more of a pull. But the United States isn't as attractive.”

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

More Mexicans Leaving Than Coming to the U.S. (by Ana Gonzalez-Barrera, Pew Research Center)

Why Fewer Mexicans are Leaving Their Homeland for the U.S. (by Nigel Duara and Cindy Carcamo, Los Angeles Times)

New Immigrants from China and India Now Outnumber Immigrants from Mexico (by Noel Brinkerhoff and Danny Biederman, AllGov)


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