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Mexico records steep decline in immigration outflow

Associated Press / August 9, 2011

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MEXICO CITY - Mexico’s net outflow of migrants has fallen to “almost nothing,’’ as fewer people entered Mexico and the number leaving dropped even faster, the government’s statistical unit said yesterday.

Mexico lost about 0.09 percent of its population to migration as reflected in quarterly surveys carried out between March 2010 and March 2011, according to the National Statistics Institute.

That was 83 percent lower than the outflow of 0.53 percent of the population in 2006 and early 2007, near the end of Mexico’s migration boom.

“In the first quarter of 2011, there was practically no net loss of population due to international migration,’’ the institute said. “As a result, in relative terms the net migration balance was almost nothing.’’

About 0.38 percent of the country’s 112.7 million people migrated abroad in the most recent period studied, while about 0.29 percent immigrated to Mexico.

By contrast, in the 2006-2007 period, almost 1 percent of the population left in a year, and about 0.46 of the population were newly arrived migrants.

The comparisons are based on preliminary figures from the quarterly National Employment and Occupation survey.

Those immigrating to Mexico include Central Americans settling in border areas and US retirees who live in Mexico.

Should the tendency of falling emigration continue, if more US baby boomers decide to retire to Mexico or more Mexicans working in the United States return, Mexico could revert to its century-old status as a net exporter of migrants.

But Raul Delgado, a professor at the Zacatecas Autonomous University, said the new numbers were neither particularly encouraging, nor guaranteed to be permanent.

“I do not think we will ever be net gainers in terms of migration,’’ Delgado said.

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