Mexico Migration Falls by More Than Half

AP, February 19, 2009

Net migration from Mexico, mainly to the United States, plunged by more than 50 percent in late 2008 compared to a year earlier as fewer Mexicans left their country in search of work, the government said Thursday.

Mexican officials attributed the sharp drop to tough economic conditions abroad amid a global crisis causing Mexicans to stay at home, rather than Mexicans in other countries returning to their homeland.

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While the number of returning Mexicans stayed largely the same–478,000 in the 2007 period as compared to about 450,000 by late 2008–the number leaving fell from 933,000 to 654,000.

The figures are estimates based on quarterly surveys of Mexican households carried out by the institute.

Remittances plunge

Sojo [Eduardo Sojo, president of Mexico’s National Statistics, Geography and Information Institute.] said a recent survey also indicates that the number of Mexicans planning to migrate in the future is also dropping.

“We have a sort of ‘leading indicator’ regarding any new migration. This indicator has also been declining,” Sojo told an immigration forum.

Sojo said a government survey also shows the number of households in Mexico that receive remittances–the money sent home by Mexicans working abroad–has also fallen, from 1.41 million in 2005 to 1.16 million in 2008.

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A U.S. crackdown on illegal immigration is believed to have played a role in reducing the number of Mexicans who look for work abroad, almost all in the United States. {snip}

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