Cover: Mexican labor in California's economy : from rapid growth to likely stability

Mexican labor in California's economy : from rapid growth to likely stability

by Georges Vernez

Purchase Print Copy

 FormatList Price
Add to Cart Paperback17 pages Free

Over the past twenty years, California's history has been marked by a continuous, growing flow of Mexican immigrant laborers. As more and more of them have chosen to remain in California indefinitely, their relative importance in the state's and southern California's economy has increased. Further, they have become the cause of additional growth through family reunification (itself encouraged by U.S. immigration policy), the expansion of immigration communities and networks that reduce the cost of migration to successive waves of migrants, and a fertility rate exceeding that of native women and most other immigrant women. As a result, California is characterized, more than any other state in the Union, by a large, permanent, self-perpetuating Mexican labor presence. Today, at least one of four new entrants into the California labor force is estimated to be Mexican-born, and nearly one in four workers is of Mexican origin. This relatively large participation of Mexican labor in California's economy is a fairly recent phenomenon. However, it already raises some policy challenges for the state that are likely to intensify with the expected continuation of Mexican labor immigration. The purpose of this study is to review Mexican labor's importance to California's labor market, how its volume and characteristics have changed, and the implications of those changes.

Originally published in: The California-Mexico Connection, Abraham F. Lowenthal and Katrina Burgess, eds.,. Stanford University Press, 1993, pp. 147-163.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Reprint series. The Reprint was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1992 to 2011 that represented previously published journal articles, book chapters, and reports with the permission of the publisher. RAND reprints were formally reviewed in accordance with the publisher's editorial policy and compliant with RAND's rigorous quality assurance standards for quality and objectivity. For select current RAND journal articles, see External Publications.

This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.