Analyzing the Change in the Flow and Composition of U.S.-Mexico Return Migrants

Warning sign: immigrant crossing

Research Goals

We are analyzing the composition and migration flows of return migrants from the United States to Mexico from 1993 to 2004, including such characteristics as age, gender, destination, occupation, time spent in the United States, and level of education. This analysis will

  • contribute to the current debate on migrant selection by examining return migration—a topic that has not been studied in great depth in the empirical literature
  • shed light on the characteristics of return migrants during the 1990s and beginning of the 21st century, and
  • test the “positive selection return migration hypothesis.”

This hypothesis predicts that individuals must have better opportunities in their home country to consider returning. Only the most skilled would have incentives to return when the origin country has higher income inequality.

Research Design

While most studies have focused on surveys to provide information on the stock of immigrants, this study will exploit the EMIF (Encuesta sobre Migración en la Frontera Norte de México) a unique source of information that examines the characteristics of immigrants that cross the Mexican border to the United States and return to Mexico by their legal status in the United States and their place of origin.

Research Team

Emma Aguila, Ricardo Basurto, and Michael Rendall

Research Paper