Volume 33 - Article 43 | Pages 1211–1240  

A multistate life table approach to understanding return and reentry migration between Mexico and the United States during later life

By Alma Vega, Noli Brazil


Background: Empirical research describes retirement migration to Mexico as a viable option for some older Americans. However, far less research examines this phenomenon among Mexican immigrants in the United States. The literature that does address this topic treats international migration as a singular occurrence and does not examine the possibility of return and subsequent reentry between countries. This omission creates an important gap in our knowledge of international retirement migration, considering the strong transnational ties that Mexican immigrants maintain to their home and destination countries.

Objective: Using a multistate life table approach, this study examines the rate of return to Mexico and reentry back into the United States among Mexican males aged 50 and older with U.S. migration experience, as well as the number of years spent in both countries.

Results: Results show that the rate of reentry from Mexico into the United States declined from 3.33% at ages 50-54 to less than 1% at age 70 and older (p<0.05). By contrast, the rate of return to Mexico from the United States increased from 3.19% at ages 50 to 54 to 4.44% at ages 65 to 69 and dropped to less than 2% at age 70 and older (p<0.05).

Conclusions: Although rates of return and reentry among this population are relatively low, they provide insight into the potential life course factors driving the migration patterns of a population of increasing size and relevance in the United States.

Author's Affiliation

  • Alma Vega - University of Pennsylvania, United States of America EMAIL
  • Noli Brazil - University of California, Davis, United States of America EMAIL

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