“Net Migration from Mexico Falls to Zero—and Perhaps Less,” says new study

I’ve been following major demographic trends for a long time, and I don’t think there’s been any development as interesting in recent years as the sudden changes to immigration from Mexico.

We’ve seen mounting statistical evidence (and plenty of anecdotal evidence too, FWIW) that immigration from Mexico generally and illegal immigration specifically have declined dramatically.

Now there’s a comprehensive new study from the Pew Hispanic Center detailing the trends: Net Migration from Mexico Falls to Zero—and Perhaps Less

Major news organizations have pieces posted right now about the Pew Hispanic Center study, but I’m just going to post a few graphs and excerpts from the study itself.

From the overview:

The largest wave of immigration in history from a single country to the United States has come to a standstill. After four decades that brought 12 million current immigrants—most of whom came illegally—the net migration flow from Mexico to the United States has stopped and may have reversed.

Now, the slight downtick in the following graph could in theory reverse itself, but I don’t think it will.

There are some obvious reasons for the sudden change (quoting from the text):

  • the weakened U.S. job and housing construction markets
  • heightened border enforcement, a rise in deportations
  • the growing dangers associated with illegal border crossings
  • the long-term decline in Mexico’s birth rates
  • broader economic conditions in Mexico

Take a look at the data for 2005 to 2010 compared to previous years:

Interestingly, during a period of heightened rhetoric about slowing the flow of immigrants across the border, that’s exactly what has been happening:

And how about this interesting detail: “The total number of U.S.-born children of Mexican parents counted in the 2010 Mexican census was about 500,000, compared with about 240,000 in 2000.”

With these changing realities, I sure hope we’ll see less heated political rhetoric and more pragmatic approaches to dealing with the large number of unauthorized immigrants (and their children) still living in the U.S.