Mexican immigration falls for first time in 40 years
The rise of the Mexican economy – one of the high-growth markets identified by UK Trade and Investment – has resulted in a dramatic net shift in population movement.
From the country annually hemorrhaging thousands of migrants a year to the US, the flow has stopped – and may even have been reversed, according to a report from the Pew Hispanic Centre.
Ending what it described as the "largest wave of immigration in history" from one country to the US, the report also cites the falling birth rate in Mexico and the weakened job market and economy of America as causes.
"We’ve known for a while that the number of people coming to the US was falling but the return flow was something we had not seen before,” said Jeffrey Passel, a senior demographer at Pew, who co-wrote the report.
The demographics in Mexico point to a continuation of this trend, Passel said, with the fertility rate falling from seven children per woman to 2.4 in the three decades to 2000.
"Because the bulk of the migrants from Mexico are young adults, aged from about 17 to 35, there will be shrinking number of people in that age group,” he said.
The drop in net migration has led to the first major decrease in at least two decades in the number of unauthorised Mexican immigrants living in the US, the report says. It is down from a peak of nearly 7 million in 2007 to 6.1 million last year, meaning Mexicans now comprise about 58% of the undocumented immigrants living in the US. This is the biggest sustained drop in modern history, surpassed only during the Great Depression.
Pew said the number of Mexicans caught trying to cross the border illegally has plummeted from more than 1 million in 2005 to 286,000 last year.
The shift in migration is a result of the shrinking US job market, especially the fall in home building, and tougher actions against illegal immigrants in recent years, reported the Financial Times.
In the past 40 years more than 12 million Mexicans have moved to the US, more than half of them without the right paperwork.
But Pew's analysis found that about 1.4 million Mexicans migrated to the US between 2005 to 2010, while the same number of Mexican immigrants and their US-born children moved back. In the comparable period a decade earlier, about 3 million Mexicans moved to the US while fewer than 700,000 went in the other direction.
The report is based on Pew's analysis of data from five different Mexican government sources and four US ones, including census data.