Posted on July 2, 2019

There Are 500,000 U.S. Citizens Living in Mexico

Claudia Masferrer Erin R. Hamilton, and Nicole Denier, National Interest, July 2, 2019


In Mexico, about 900,000 residents were born abroad as of 2015. Some of these are Central American migrants, but the large majority was born in the U.S. and is under age 18.

In fact, between 2000 and 2015, the population of American minors living in Mexico more than doubled. By 2015, nearly half a million minors born in the U.S. lived south of the border.


Our research, published on June 10, uses Mexican census and intercensal data to reveal new insights into the characteristics of this group of young American citizens in Mexico.

The growth in Mexico’s population of U.S. citizen minors largely occurred between 2000 and 2010. {snip}


The vast majority of this group has Mexican-born parents.

In 2015, more than one-third of U.S.-born minors lived in Mexico without one or both parents. Father absence is especially common. Nearly one-third lived without their father, while 10% lived without their mother.


What does the future hold?

The migration of U.S.-born minors from the U.S. to Mexico presents unique challenges to the minors themselves, as well as to their families and their communities.

For instance, we found that, in 2010, 53% of U.S. citizens under 18 living in Mexico did not have Mexican citizenship. Children who do not have Mexican documents cannot easily enroll in Mexican public schools. Furthermore, children who do not speak Spanish well will face problems learning in Mexican schools.