Declining Return Migration from the United States to Mexico in the late-2000s Recession

by Michael S. Rendall, Peter Brownell, Sarah Kups

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Researchers in the U.S. and Mexico have variously asserted that return migration from the U.S. to Mexico has increased substantially, remained unchanged, or declined slightly in response to the 2007-2009 U.S. recession and global financial crisis. The present study addresses this debate using microdata through mid-2009 from a large-scale, quarterly Mexican household survey, the National Survey of Occupation and Employment (ENOE), after first validating the ENOE against return migration estimates from a specialist demographic survey, the 2006 National Survey of Demographic Dynamics (ENADID). No evidence of increased return migration is found. Statistically significant declines in return migration, however, are found between the immediately prerecession 2006/07 year and the 2008/09 recession year, and between the fourth quarter of 2007 and the fourth quarter of 2008 when the global financial crisis had just been triggered.

This paper series made possible by the NIA funded RAND Center for the Study of Aging and the NICHD funded RAND Population Research Center.

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