A report from the Pew Research Center has dispelled rumors about the growing Mexican population in the United States. These days, the report says, more Mexicans are returning to their country than coming into the US.
The report comes amidst raging debate caused by Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump, who said that ‘Mexican immigration poses dangers for the United States.’
In 1970, fewer than one million Mexican immigrants lived in the U.S. By 2000, that number had grown to 9.4 million, and by 2007 it reached a peak at 12.8 million. Since then, the Mexican-born population has declined, falling to 11.7 million in 2014.
However, this report may not paint an accurate picture. “Measuring migration flows between Mexico and the U.S. is challenging because there are no official counts of how many Mexican immigrants enter and leave the U.S. each year,” says the same report. Yet the research firm claims it used the available government data from both countries to estimate the size of these flows.
U.S. census data show an estimated 870,000 Mexican nationals left Mexico to come to the U.S., a smaller number than the flow of families from the U.S. to Mexico. Analysts say President Obama’s stepped-up border measures have helped significantly in reducing illegal crossings.
Having said that, Mexico is the largest birth country among the U.S. foreign-born population – 28% of all U.S. immigrants came from there in 2013. Mexico also is the largest source of U.S. unauthorized immigrants.
The slow recovery of the U.S. economy after the Great Recession may have made the U.S. less attractive to potential Mexican migrants and may have pushed out some Mexican immigrants as the U.S. job market deteriorated, the report noted.
A majority of the one million who left the U.S. for Mexico between 2009 and 2014 left of their own accord, according to the Mexican government’s ENADID survey data.
Mexicans, according to the Pew report, have been at the center of one of the largest mass migrations in modern history. Between 1965 and 2015 more than 16 million Mexican immigrants migrated to the United States – more than from any other country.