Mexico Census: Fewer Migrating, Many Returning

Mark Stevenson, Comcast News, March 3, 2011

The number of migrants leaving Mexico dropped by more than two-thirds since peaking in the middle of the last decade, and more migrants are coming back than before, according to new census figures released Thursday.

The National Statistics and Geography Institute said the 2010 census shows a net outflow of about 145,000 Mexicans leaving the country per year from 2005 to 2010, the period covered by the count.

That is down from a peak of about 450,000 between 2000 and 2005, and about 240,000 per year between 1995 and 2000.

The census is held once every 10 years, but an intermediate count is held every five. {snip}

Eduardo Sojo, the president of the institute’s board, said the number of immigrants returning, while still a minority, had almost doubled over the decade.

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About 31 percent of migrants who left in the last five years had returned, compared to about 17 percent of migrants who left in 2000, Sojo said. He attributed the lower outflows to the economic downturn in the United States and the greater difficulty of crossing the border as a result of stepped-up U.S. border enforcement.

And he said there was a third factor that was perhaps rooted in Mexico’s steadily slowing rate of population increase. Population growth cooled to about 1.4 percent in 2010, from a peak of about 3.4 percent per year in the 1960s. Mexico’s population now stands at about 112 million and while still young, is increasingly graying.

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Sojo also noted that population had dropped in some cities and towns in the north of Mexico, a region that once saw explosively high growth rates but which has been particularly hard hit by drug cartel violence.

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