Future migration from Mexico likely to be insignificant

Future migration to the US from Mexico is likely to be an insignificant factor related 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.

The chart shown below depicts the change in fertility rates in Mexico since 1960.

The next chart shows the change in life expectancy for persons in Mexico.

This information demonstrates that Mexico has gone through the demographic transition.

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



  1. That’s not necessarily the case–mass emigration is perfectly compatible with a state of natural population decrease, cf. Ukraine.

  2. rosethorn said

    A good counter-example, Randy. The question then would be what would trigger such a mass migration in Mexico’s case.

  3. For all that GDP per capita in the north has risen, the southern remains absolutely poor and its position is continuing to deteriorate. I can easily imagine a situation where the south depopulates in favour of northern Mexico and the United States, as the relative attractiveness of of those two destinations rises. This assumes that the economic conditions in the south don’t improve, of course.

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