Pew Study: More Mexicans Leaving U.S. Than Coming In

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In heated political debates one often hears about Mexico sends its “worst people”, or other arguments that try to make it seem as Mexicans are moving to the US in droves. The facts state otherwise.

First of all, not only are most new immigrants less likely to commit crimes, but Mexican immigrants specifically are leaving the US at larger number than the amount of immigrants coming in.

According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, Mexican immigrants are leaving the US at faster rates than during the Great Depression. This set of data also shows that the number of Mexicans coming into the US is at its lowest point since the 1990s. For decades, Mexico has had the highest flow of immigrants into the US, which has caused the Mexican/Mexican-American population to be a part of heated political debates.

Why Are Mexicans Returning To Their Homeland?

Many Mexicans who returned to Mexico did this for personal reasons, but 14% of those who returned had been deported. A high number of those who had returned to Mexico on their own did so in the interest of family reunification. The decrease of Mexicans living in the US also means that many Mexicans have family, friends and other acquaintances in the US with whom they regularly keep in touch. A Pew survey in 2007 found that up to 42% of Mexican adults reported keeping up with someone in the US on a regular basis, but the same survey in 2014 indicated that 35% of Mexican adults were in contact with someone in the US.

Related Content: Why Is Immigration From Mexico To The US Plummeting?

Reasons for the decrease in the Mexican population in the US are varied, but economics and more stringent enforcement of immigration laws could be some of the largest factors. The study indicates that border arrests have dropped sharply. In the year 2014 there were 230,000 border apprehensions—the lowest number of arrests since 1971. Deportations can also not be discounted among the reasons for the increase of people who have returned to Mexico.

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Image Source: Pew

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has deported a large number of people since 2005. The recession has also made the US a less appealing place for Mexicans to move. As jobs were lost, there were less reasons for people to stay in the country. Due to this decrease in Mexican migration to the US, China and India are now surpassing Mexicans as the group with the fastest growing immigrant populations in the country.

Even with the rise of Mexicans returning to their homeland for voluntary or involuntary reasons, Mexicans are still one of the largest groups in the US. In 2007, the number of Mexican immigrants living in the US peaked at 12.8 million. By the year 2014, the number of Mexicans living in the US stood at 11.7 million.

The study also found that Mexicans abroad are also changing how they see possibilities in the US. In 2014, 33% of Mexican adults surveyed stated that people moving to the US live a lifestyle equal to that of Mexico—a 10% increase since the same question was posed in a 2007 survey.


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