Thursday, April 22, 2010

Prospects for future migration from Mexico to the US

Future migration to the US from Mexico is likely to be an insignificant factor in US government spending on benefit programs and US labor markets. This is because Mexico has gone through the demographic transition like many developed countries, moving from high birth and death rates to low birth and death rates as it developed from a pre-industrial to an industrialized economic system. The pool of potential migrants is simply not increasing fast enough relative to population and economic growth in the US.

According to the Population Reference Bureau, Mexico’s estimated population in 2009 was about 110 million persons. The rate of natural increase is at 1.6%, and the country’s total fertility rate is 2.3 (which is only slightly higher than that of the USA at 2.1). The country’s population is projected to increase to 129.0 million by 2050; while the population of the USA is projected to increase from 306.8 million in 2009 to 439.0 million by 2050. The US absolute population increase could be six times that of Mexico, between now and 2050.

If hypothetically one quarter of the Mexican population increase, or 5 million persons were to migrate to the US that would be an insignificant number compared to the projected US increase of 131 million persons


J said...

Mexicans are culturally almost Americans, and they are easily absorbed. Most immigrants will come from Central America and the Caribbean.

Brett said...

Or Africa. I remember there was a New York Times article that actually talked about that, about how there would probably be a major increase in African immigration once the demographic transition causes the Latin American potential labor pool to dry up.

One thing, though - if Mexican immigration is speculated to dry up, where is the 131 million coming from? Latin America? Continued high birth rates?

Scott said...

The fact that illegal Mexican migrants have been the prime labor pool for a number of industries in the US is sort of an "elephant in the room" in the US politically. I think that it would be a bit more difficult to look past large increases in African migrants given that they wouldn't simply be able to walk across the border.

Fall of the Usher said...

Brett raises a good point with his second paragraph. The birth rate of the U.S. may be substantially affected by any prolonged period of reduced immigration (primarily if the immigrant groups with high fertility see lengthy reductions).

Lower immigration from Mexico will probably hasten the decline of the average Mexican-American fertility rate to levels closer to the national average.

Perhaps the U.S. population won't grow as much as many projections hold.

Nonethless, it is definitely not impossible that the U.S. fertility rate could be higher and stay so than the Mexican level in the next few decades.

Cicerone said...

What about the probability of Mexico to decline to southern-european levels? Mexico is a catholic country and therefore vulnerable to a low-fertility-trap.

J said...

Cicerone has a good point. Mexico's social structure is similar to Spain. I think it is already obvious in large cities and soon it will be general. Abundant (and docile) Mexican labour soon will be thing of the past.

benj said...

"Mexico is a catholic country and therefore vulnerable to a low-fertility-trap."

France and Ireland also and they have the highest fertility rate of Europe.

Cicerone said...

France is a very secular country with its family policies, but I still haven't understood what is behind the high Irish birth rates. ireland is the onlyexception to that rule, all other nonseccular developed catholic nations are below 1.5 so it's almost certain for Mexico and South America to fall below 1.5 when they are finally developed nations.

Fall of the House of Usher said...

With Ireland it may have something to do with culture and social factors. It has many cultural similarities to the higher TFR Western countries. Ireland does seem to have even higher than most of them though.

I think that the U.S. will have higher TFR than Mexico in the near future (I said that in the other post; however, the wording was slightly awkward). Even if the U.S. TFR drops below 2 in several years it could easily remain above 1.8.

Cicerone said...

Agree, the fertility of Europeans in the USA, non-hispanic whites is at 1.8, not that different from that of the high-fertility european countries like Scandinavia, UK and France.

Rollory said...

"Mexicans are culturally almost Americans, and they are easily absorbed."


" if Mexican immigration is speculated to dry up, where is the 131 million coming from?"

This is actually a very very important question. I suspect they're just projecting current trends into the future without thinking about where said trends come from.

High birth rates are currently an underclass phenomenon in the USA, fueled by the welfare state.