Major news outlets, from CNN to USA Today, have covered Pew Hispanic’s newest report, titled Net Migration from Mexico Falls to Zero- and Perhaps Less. The report confirms what some have been seeing on a smaller level recently: not only are less Mexicans immigrating to this country, but as the title states, migration has possibly fallen to below zero. Not only are Mexicans not coming to the U.S., but it seems that more are returning home to Mexico than before.
The study authors attribute the drop in immigration to several sources: the weakened U.S. job market, heightened border enforcement, a rise in deportations, the increased danger of illegal border crossings, as well as the decline in Mexico’s birth rates and better economic conditions in Mexico. With the exception of these last two, the main factors in Mexicans fleeing the U.S. appear to be punitive immigration measures adopted recently in the U.S. Is this really the main cause of the decline in Mexican immigration though, or does the improving Mexican economy have more to do with things? If Mexicans are indeed fleeing this country, it would be interesting to ascertain whether it’s because this coincides with the biggest recession in the U.S. since the Great Depression, or whether it has to do with heightened border enforcement. I would argue that, while the mainstream media has portrayed this report as a positive thing, it does not augur well for the economy. I would like to see the statisticians compile a graph comparing rises and falls in Mexican immigration to the overall health of the U.S. economy. I imagine if the economy picks up steam in the next few years, we may see more Mexicans.
Jose Villa also wrote about the study’s potential impact on the Hispanic marketing industry in his blog post, What the slowdown in Mexican immigration means for the future of Hispanic marketing. He emphasizes that the demographic trend of growth in the Hispanic population within the U.S. coming from births rather than immigration should continue, and he also reminds us that not all Hispanics in the U.S. are Mexican, though Mexicans represent a sizeable majority. This means that Mexicans will represent a smaller share of the Hispanic population. For these two reasons, Hispanic marketing will still be relevant. But perhaps campaigns will have less of a Mexican accent, and more of a Puerto Rican, Cuban or Salvadoran accent?
This post is also available in: Spanish