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Demography

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Immigrants in Their Parental Homeland: Half a Million U.S.-born Minors Settle Throughout Mexico

  • Claudia MasferrerEmail author
  • Erin R. Hamilton
  • Nicole Denier
Article

Abstract

In the past 10 years, a historical change occurred in migration flows within North America: specifically, Mexico–U.S. migration reached zero net migration. Alongside Mexican adults returning to their homeland was an unprecedented number of U.S.-born minors. Little is known about this massive migration of U.S. citizen children. We analyze Mexican census data from 2000 to 2015 to estimate the size and characteristics of the population of U.S.-born minors residing in Mexico. Between 2000 and 2010, the population of U.S.-born minors doubled to more than half a million. The population stabilized, aged, and became longer-term Mexican residents thereafter. The large majority of U.S.-born minors are primary school–aged. Although concentrated in the northern border and traditional migrant-sending regions, U.S.-born minors are distributed throughout Mexico. The majority of U.S.-born minors live in Mexico with two Mexican-born parents, but one-third are separated from one or both parents, and most of those separated from parents reside with grandparents. We interpret these trends in reference to the determinants of Mexico–U.S. migration, transnational and mixed-status families, and the future spatial and social mobility of U.S.-born minors living in Mexico.

Keywords

U.S.-born minors U.S.–Mexico migration Child migration Return migration 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This research was supported by a grant from SEDESOL-Conacyt (Award Number 2017-01-292077) and by UC MEXUS-Conacyt (Award Number CN-18-211). The authors are solely responsible for the content. We appreciate the comments and suggestions from the anonymous reviewers. We would like to thank Natalia Oropeza for her research assistance, and Víctor M. García-Guerrero for his guidance on data visualization.

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Copyright information

© Population Association of America 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Claudia Masferrer
    • 1
    Email author
  • Erin R. Hamilton
    • 2
  • Nicole Denier
    • 3
  1. 1.Centro de Estudios Demográficos, Urbanos y AmbientalesEl Colegio de MéxicoCiudad de MéxicoMexico
  2. 2.Department of SociologyUniversity of California, DavisDavisUSA
  3. 3.Department of SociologyUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

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