currently how many mexican immigrants are there in the united states
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Currently how many Mexican immigrants are there in the United States?. In 2009, there were approximately 11.5 million Mexican immigrants in the United States 1. 1: 62%, or almost 2/3 of all Mexican immigrants, are illegal 1.

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in 2009 there were approximately 11 5 million mexican immigrants in the united states 1
In 2009, there were approximately 11.5 million Mexican immigrants in the United States1


62 or almost 2 3 of all mexican immigrants are illegal 1
62%, or almost 2/3 of all Mexican immigrants, are illegal1


why are so many mexicans leaving mexico
Why are so many Mexicans leaving Mexico?

By: Kaitlin Farrell

April 5, 2010

1,969 mile border
  • History of immigration between the two countries
  • Most Mexicans immigrate to the southwest
  • Circular migration-->permanent settlement
  • Mexican-American War (1846-1848)

“In the felicitous phrase of contemporary immigrant activists,

they didn’t cross the border; the border crossed them.”1

what does this all mean
What Does This All Mean?
  • Family connections across the border help propel immigration!
  • Almost 2/3 of the Mexican population has a relative living in the United States1
  • In a survey of about 5,000 Mexican immigrants, 80% reported having a relative other than a spouse or a child in the U.S.2
  • Remittances



the drug wars
The Drug Wars
  • Most prevalent in the northern Mexico, especially Ciudad Juarez
  • Gruesome
  • U.S. is partly to blame- we are the consumers
  • Mexican President Felipe Calderon’s own war on drugs, 2007
  • 10,031 have died in drug-related deaths since 20071
  • Has created a new immigrant group of asylum seekers, typically “middle-class, employed, and frightened”2



the statistics
The Statistics
  • While the percentage of Mexico’s poor is about the same as it was 20 years ago, the population has risen1
  • Large gap between rich and poor
  • In 2008:
    • 19.5 million people living in “extreme” poverty
    • 50.6 million people living in poverty2 (just about half of the total population of Mexico)



Poverty is most prevalent in rural areas
  • Even though only about 25% of the population lives in rural areas, they represent about 70% of Mexico’s extreme poor and about 46% of Mexico’s moderately poor1


single cause not likely
Single Cause? Not Likely
  • Why such poverty?
    • No one single cause
    • Much has to do with the country’s unstable past
    • Quick history lesson on Mexico…
mexican political structure
Mexican Political Structure
  • Independence from Spain declared in 1810
  • Have had 3 different constitutions since then
  • Authoritarian presidents
  • Revolution in 1910, lasted a decade
3 branches of government, but executive has traditionally held most of the power
  • Highly centralized
  • Until 2000, the monopoly political party was the PRI
  • No re-election policy
  • Corruption & patronage among officials
  • After years of instability due to the Revolution, experienced rapid economic growth between 1946-1970
    • Predominately urban for first time
    • “Mexicanize” the economy & growth of national industries1

1: A Concise History of Mexico, p. 256

economic turmoil
Economic turmoil
  • 1970s-1980s = economic crises!
  • Problem with “Mexicanizing” the economy was that it created a closed environment
as a result
As a result…
  • Mexican leaders opened up the country to international investment, trade, and competition (aka globalization)
  • NAFTA, 1994
    • Pros and Cons
  • Mexico’s political and economic structures have created many shortfalls
  • The economic crises especially have “hampered overall growth, halted the creation of new jobs and pushed large numbers of the lower middle class into poverty.”1


is poverty improving
Is Poverty Improving?
  • Some say yes because of statistics
  • But in reality, still large numbers of Mexicans living in poverty
  • Still see U.S. as opportunity to advance
    • 1/3 of Mexicans would still move to U.S. if they could1


  • Why are so many Mexicans leaving Mexico?
    • Family ties
    • Escape the violence
    • Escape poverty
  • All 3 are connected
  • Baker, B. C., Hoefer, M., & Rytina, N. (2009). Estimates of the Unauthorized Immigrant Population Residing in the United States: January 2009. Retrieved from
  • Becker, A. & McDonnell, P. J. (2009, March 4). Drug war creates new class of refugees. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved from
  • (2009, December 13). Mexico needs to defeat both poverty, cartels. Retrieved from
  • Chavez, A. H. (2006). Mexico: A Brief History. (A. Klatt, Trans.). Berkely , CA: University of California Press.
  • Cevallos, D. (2005, August 23). Not Everyone Celebrates Improved Poverty Statistics. Retrieved from
  • Cohn, D., & Passel, J. (2009). Mexican Immigrants: How Many Come? How Many Leave? Retrieved from
  • Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. (2010). Spotlight: Remittances to Mexico 
Cross-Border Money Flows Slowed by U.S. Slump. Retrieved from
  • Focus Migration. (n.d.). Country Profile:Mexico. Retrieved from
  • Hamnett, B. (1999). A Concise History of Mexico. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press
Income Generation and Social Protection for the Poor. (n.d.) A Study of Rural Poverty in Mexico. Retrieved from
  • Jordan, M. & Sullivan, K. (2003, March 22). Trade Brings Riches, but Not to Mexico’s Poor. Washington Post. Retrieved from
  • Los Angeles Times. (2010, April 5). Mexico Under Seige: The drug war at our doorstep. Retrieved from
  • Nasse, H. E. (2005, December 6). Family, better jobs pull Mexicans to USA. USA Today. Retrieved from
  • Pew Global Attitudes Project. (2009, September 23). Most Mexicans See Better Life in U.S. - One-In-Three Would Migrate: Troubled by Crime, the Economy, Drugs and Corruption. Retrieved from
  • Pew Hispanic Center. (2009). Mexican Immigrants in the United States, 2008. Retrieved from
  • Terrazas, A. (2010). Mexican Immigrants in the United States. Retrieved from
  • Voice of America. (2010, March 17). Mexican Government Struggles to Contain Drug War Violence. Retrieved from