Jul 192011

As described in an earlier post –Is massive Mexican migration to the USA a thing of the past?– we examined a 6 July 2011 New York Times article which indicated that Mexican migration to the USA had slowed to barely a trickle. If this is correct, Mexico’s population will be considerably higher in future years. This post estimates what this impact will be.

In another post –Projecting Mexico’s population: when, if ever, will it stop growing? – we incorporated the results of Mexico’s 2010 census and 2008 migration estimates into the most recent official population projection available from the Mexican Government’s CONAPO (Spanish acronym for National Population Commission). This analysis indicated that Mexico’s population would peak at 140.5 million in 2043, rather than the 130.3 million indicated in the older CONAPO projection.

If net migration becomes zero in the future, as suggested in the New York Times article, Mexico’s population will peak at 149.3 million in 2051. If net migration in future years is between the 2008 estimate of 203,000/year and zero, say 100,000/year, then the Mexican population will peak at 144.9 million in 2049. Clearly, the variation in these projections of almost nine million (149.3 verses 140.5) is quite significant. Given these different projections, our current thinking is that Mexico’s population will probably peak at around 145 million about mid-century.

Though population projections based on birth and deaths rates tend to be fairly accurate, net migration projections are far more precarious. Actual net migration between the two countries will depend on a wide range of future socio-economic variables for both countries. The most obvious of these variables will be fertility rates, growth of the working age population, education opportunities, economic growth, trade regulations and trends, job availability, unemployment rates, and personal preferences of both workers and retired people. There undoubtedly will be surprises such as technology changes or climate change. Some of these may have very profound impacts on migration, and therefore on total population levels.

Migration between Mexico and the USA is the focus of chapters 26 and 27 of Geo-Mexico: the geography and dynamics of modern Mexico. Explore the book using Amazon.com’s Look Inside feature; buy your copy today!

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