Jul 122010

The map shows the ten states which receive the highest remittances (funds sent home, primarily from the USA, by Mexican migrant workers) on a per person basis in 2005.

Map of states receiving most remittances per person

The states receiving most remittances per person, Click to enlarge. All rights reserved.

Many factors help to explain why some states receive high amounts of remittances, on a per person basis, while other states receive much less.

They include:

  • the number of migrant workers from that state working in USA
  • the poverty levels in the state
  • unemployment rates in the state
  • whether or not that state has a long history of supplying migrant workers

Perhaps surprisingly, there is no correlation between distance from the USA and the per person remittances sent back by migrant workers. On the contrary, it is clear that more remittances are received per person in several southern states. No northern border state is in the top 10 receiving states for remittances.

Why might this be? Perhaps workers from states nearer to the border return funds by non-official channels, such as with friends or relatives returning home. Perhaps life is so good in the northern states that fewer workers migrate.

(a) What other factors can you think of which might be relevant?

(b) Try to find data to help support (or refute) your ideas.

“Migration to the USA” is the title of chapter 26 of Geo-Mexico: the geography and dynamics of modern Mexico. This chapter provides a good introduction to the geography, history and impacts of migration and remittances. Buy your copy today!


  4 Responses to “The 10 states in Mexico receiving the highest remittances per person”

  1. Half are on the Pacific coast where tourists from NOB are plentiful. None on the Gulf Coast and Yucatan. I have no idea why but I find that strange.

  2. Good point! Perhaps the Gulf states offered more opportunities of employment beyond agriculture such as oil, petrochemicals, ports etc?

  3. Does this mean that Mexicans have stopped trying to make the trec to the States completely? Who, of all of the illegals who have made it actually go back home? I live in a neighborhood in Northern California in which my family and 1 other are the only 2 caucasion families here in this nice 10 year old housing complex..It was built (single family homes) in the late 90’s. It is owned primarily by Hispanics..baby boomers..(aged between 55-65) and thier families. Some are non English speaking.
    My question is this: They have obviously migrated here, and transitioned to being citizens at some point. It appears that they have then became pregnant and had thier kids here in the U.S. They own homes and new vehicles and thier kids are going to colleges to get better jobs.
    Why is it that some make it and some go back to such a difficult life? I was born and raised in this area and have remained poor my whole life. I came from Southern Cali..almost at the border…lol.
    I love the Mexican population here in my own City. They are decent and hard working and they are the hardest workers as far as I can tell.
    I guess what I am trying to ask is how Mexico, itself has become so far out of control with the drug trafficking as to see much of its own population just opt to live elsewhere? When there were so many more good than evil and most of the good folks left , why not stay and fight? Then, maybe I do not know what I am talking about at all. I do not mean to offend anybody. I am only trying to understand..

  4. Hi Roxann, Thanks for sharing your personal experience. You raise some interesting questions, to which there is no simple answer! I think, based only on anecdotal evidence, that many of those who return to Mexico fall into one of two categories: (a) young, married and want to raise their family in Mexico and (b) recently retired and want to “return home”. Some of these migrants may have become US citizens, but many will not have done so. The reasons behind decisions about migration are usually personal / individual and based on people’s perceptions rather than on hard data or evidence (if such exists!). Hope you continue to find Geo-Mexico posts interesting and thanks for taking the time to comment, TB

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