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Explaining the Decline in Mexico-U.S. Migration: The Effect of the Great Recession

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  • Andrés Villarreal

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Abstract

The rate of Mexico-U.S. migration has declined precipitously in recent years. From 25 migrants per thousand in 2005, the annual international migration rate for Mexican men dropped to 7 per thousand by 2012. If sustained, this low migration rate is likely to have a profound effect on the ethnic and national-origin composition of the U.S. population. This study examines the origins of the migration decline using a nationally representative panel survey of Mexican households. The results support an explanation that attributes a large part of the decline to lower labor demand for Mexican immigrants in the United States. Decreases in labor demand in industrial sectors that employ a large percentage of Mexican-born workers, such as construction, are found to be strongly associated with lower rates of migration for Mexican men. Second, changes in migrant selectivity are also consistent with an economic explanation for the decline in international migration. The largest declines in migration occurred precisely among the demographic groups most affected by the Great Recession: namely, economically active young men with low education. Results from the statistical analysis also show that the reduction in labor demand in key sectors of the U.S. economy resulted in a more positive educational selectivity of young migrants. Copyright Population Association of America 2014

Suggested Citation

  • Andrés Villarreal, 2014. "Explaining the Decline in Mexico-U.S. Migration: The Effect of the Great Recession," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 51(6), pages 2203-2228, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:demogr:v:51:y:2014:i:6:p:2203-2228
    DOI: 10.1007/s13524-014-0351-4
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Gordon Hanson & Chen Liu & Craig McIntosh, 2017. "The Rise and Fall of U.S. Low-Skilled Immigration," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 48(1 (Spring), pages 83-168.
    2. repec:bla:popdev:v:44:y:2018:i:3:p:455-488 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Isabelle Chort & Maëlys Rupelle, 2016. "Determinants of Mexico-U.S. Outward and Return Migration Flows: A State-Level Panel Data Analysis," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 53(5), pages 1453-1476, October.
    4. repec:eee:wdevel:v:116:y:2019:i:c:p:113-124 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. repec:spr:demogr:v:56:y:2019:i:4:d:10.1007_s13524-019-00790-6 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Andrés Villarreal, 2016. "The Education-Occupation Mismatch of International and Internal Migrants in Mexico, 2005–2012," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 53(3), pages 865-883, June.
    7. Erika Arenas & Noreen Goldman & Anne Pebley & Graciela Teruel, 2015. "Return Migration to Mexico: Does Health Matter?," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 52(6), pages 1853-1868, December.
    8. repec:spr:demogr:v:56:y:2019:i:4:d:10.1007_s13524-019-00788-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Neil K. Mehta & Irma T. Elo & Michal Engelman & Diane S. Lauderdale & Bert M. Kestenbaum, 2016. "Life Expectancy Among U.S.-born and Foreign-born Older Adults in the United States: Estimates From Linked Social Security and Medicare Data," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 53(4), pages 1109-1134, August.
    10. Marquez Alcala, German A., 2016. "Examining the Labor Market Consequences of Endogenous Low-skill Migration with a Market-based Immigration Policy," 2016 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, Boston, Massachusetts 236275, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    11. repec:ebl:ecbull:eb-18-00149 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. repec:spr:joerap:v:2:y:2019:i:1:d:10.1007_s41996-018-0025-5 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Fernando Riosmena & Randall Kuhn & Warren C. Jochem, 2017. "Explaining the Immigrant Health Advantage: Self-selection and Protection in Health-Related Factors Among Five Major National-Origin Immigrant Groups in the United States," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 54(1), pages 175-200, February.
    14. Erin Hamilton & Robin Savinar, 2015. "Two Sources of Error in Data on Migration From Mexico to the United States in Mexican Household-Based Surveys," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 52(4), pages 1345-1355, August.
    15. repec:kap:poprpr:v:37:y:2018:i:3:d:10.1007_s11113-018-9469-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Sharron Xuanren Wang & Arthur Sakamoto, 2016. "Did the Great Recession Downsize Immigrants and Native-Born Americans Differently? Unemployment Differentials by Nativity, Race and Gender from 2007 to 2013 in the U.S," Social Sciences, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 5(3), pages 1-14, September.
    17. Gordon Hanson & Craig McIntosh, 2016. "Is the Mediterranean the New Rio Grande? US and EU Immigration Pressures in the Long Run," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 30(4), pages 57-82, Fall.
    18. Adriana Hernández Castañeda & Todd A. Sørensen, 2019. "Changing Sex-Ratios Among Immigrant Communities in the USA," Journal of Economics, Race, and Policy, Springer, vol. 2(1), pages 20-42, June.

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