, Volume 48, Issue 3, pp 1049–1058 | Cite as

Declining Return Migration From the United States to Mexico in the Late-2000s Recession: A Research Note

  • Michael S. Rendall
  • Peter Brownell
  • Sarah Kups


Researchers in the United States and Mexico have variously asserted that return migration from the United States to Mexico increased substantially, remained unchanged, or declined slightly in response to the 2008–2009 U.S. recession and fall 2008 global financial crisis. The present study addresses this debate using microdata from 2005 through 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 National Survey of Demographic Dynamics (ENADID). Declines in annual return-migration flows of up to a third between 2007 and 2009 were seen among the predominantly labor-migrant groups of male migrants and all 18- to 40-year-old migrants with less than a college education; and a decline in total return migration was seen in the fourth quarter of 2008 (immediately after the triggering of the global financial crisis) compared with the fourth quarter of 2007.


Return migration International migration surveys Mexican immigrants 



We gratefully acknowledge support from the National Institute of Aging under investigator grant R21AG030170, and from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development research infrastructure grant R24-HD050906. We thank the discussants and participants of the September 2009 Conference on Ibo-American Migration in the Context of the Global Financial Crisis, Fox Center, Guanajuato, Mexico, and of the April 2010 Population Association of America session at which earlier versions of this paper were presented. We also thank Eduardo Sojo, Scott Borger, and three anonymous reviewers for very helpful comments and suggestions.


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Copyright information

© Population Association of America 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael S. Rendall
    • 1
  • Peter Brownell
    • 1
  • Sarah Kups
    • 1
  1. 1.RAND CorporationSanta MonicaUSA

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