Here's The Real Economic Impact Of Mexican Immigrants On The US

mexican immigrant rights

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

The flow of Mexican immigrants to the U.S. has been impacted by the economic crisis and the anti-immigrant laws that began with the passing of a law in Arizona.But Mexican immigrants are vital to the U.S. economy, contributing about 4 per cent to GDP.

We drew on BBVA Research’s Mexico Migration Outlook to highlight the impact of Mexican immigrants to the U.S. economy and the trends in Mexican migration flows.

Mexican immigrants contribute about 4 per cent to total U.S. GDP and they represent nearly 60 per cent of unauthorised workers

  • Mexican immigrants contribute 4 per cent of total U.S. GDP. Including second and third generation Mexicans, their contribution rises to 8 per cent.
  • Mexican immigrants represent nearly 60 per cent of unauthorised workers in the U.S..
  • The average productivity of a Mexican immigrant is on average 21.5 per cent lower than the national average., and 16.8 per cent lower than the average for all immigrants in the U.S..

Source: BBVA Research

Mexican immigrants contributed 3.8% to U.S. GDP in 2011, down from 4.1% in 2007

Mexican immigrants have historically contributed the most to economies in California, Nevada, Arizona and Texas

'Arizona is probably the state that has posted the greatest drop in the contribution of Mexican immigrants to GDP, from 11.8% on average before the crisis to 8.6% after.

In Nevada and Texas, before the effects of the crisis the Mexican immigrants' contribution to state GDP was, on average, 10.0%, and following the crisis it fell on average to 8.5% and 8.7% respectively.'

Meanwhile Idaho, Washington and New Jersey were the states with the largest increase in contribution to GDP when comparing looking at pre and post-crisis levels.

Source: BBVA Research

In the U.S., Mexican immigrants predominantly work in construction, tourism, and manufacturing

But in GDP terms, they contribute the most to the agricultural sector, construction, and accommodation and food services

In terms of contribution to U.S. GDP by sector about 5 per cent of Mexican immigrants are engaged in agriculture forestry and fishing but they contribute to about 18 per cent of U.S. GDP in this sector.

Mexican immigrants contribute 13.4 per cent to the construction sector's output and about 11.7 per cent to the accommodation and food services sector's output.

They have a much lower participation rate in government, information services, finance, insurance and real estate.

Source: BBVA Research

The number of people born in Mexico but living in the U.S. has almost been constant since 2007

Mexican immigration to the U.S. hasn't grown since 2008 because of two main reasons.

Between 2007 - 2009 it was because of the economic crisis, while in 2010 - 2011 it was because of the 'Arizona Effect' i.e. the anti-immigration laws that began with the passing of the Arizona Law which was later extended to Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina and Tennessee.

Nearly 500,000 Mexican immigrants lost their jobs during the crisis, but most immigrant groups saw a positive trend in employment between Q4 2009 and June-July of 2010. In the year that followed the passing of the Arizona Law, nearly 350,000 Mexican immigrants lost their jobs.

Source: BBVA Research

Mexican and central American immigrants were affected the most by the economic crisis

The anti-immigrant laws largely impacted Mexicans because they represent a larger number of unauthorised immigrants in the U.S.

Interestingly while the number of border patrol agents has surged the number of immigrants apprehended at the border has declined

Between 1995 - 2009 economic growth saw more Mexicans apprehended and vice-versa

There hasn't however been a massive return of Mexican immigrants to their home country

While the flow of Mexican immigrants hasn't increased after the economic crisis and the passing of the Arizona Law, neither has the return of Mexican immigrants to their country of origin.

The majority of immigrants that do return home are males and 80 per cent of them tend to be between the age of 18 - 49.

Moreover most immigrants who return to their home country tend to have a low education level -- elementary school or less but in recent years the proportion of returning immigrants with higher education levels has increased.

Source: BBVA Research

Most of the immigrants who return to Mexico are male

A higher per cent of married immigrants return home, though that figure has decreased over time. Meanwhile, the number of single immigrants returning to Mexico has increased

Declining birth rates in Mexico haven't had a major impact on migration

Remittances to Mexico are expected to reach their highest since 2007 and if this trend continues they could reach a new record in 2013

Now look at what's going in frontier markets...

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