Thursday, December 13, 2012

The U.S. and Mexican Prosperity

We now know that by 2043, just a generation from now, the U.S. will be majority nonwhite. Hispanics are the biggest part of our growing demographic change.

Conservative writer Michael Barone is currently focusing on Mexican immigration. And he has useful data drawn from the Pew Hispanic Center.

Pew reports that net migration from Mexico to this country had fallen to zero from 2005 to 2010, that 20,000 more people moved to Mexico from the United States than from there to here in those years, and that from 1995 to 2000, the net inflow from Mexico was 2.2 million people. Barone says that because there was net Mexican immigration until 2007, when the housing market collapsed and the Great Recession began, we must have had net outmigration to Mexico from 2007 to 2010, and that that outmigration likely continued in 2011 and 2012.

Barone, who is writing about American internal and immigrant migrations, finds that migration surges typically last just one or two generations, with the surges’ beginnings and ends mostly unpredicted. Barone nevertheless predicts the Mexican migration surge may be over.

Maybe, but maybe not. In building his case, Barone writes:
Life in Mexico is not a nightmare for many these days. Beneath the headlines about killings in the drug wars, Mexico has become a predominantly middle-class country [see picture], as Jorge Castaneda notes in his recent book, MaƱana Forever? Its economy is growing faster than ours.
El norte life, of course, has gotten worse. In Barone’s words, “the dreams that many Mexican immigrants pursued have been shattered.” He points to mortgage foreclosure statistics that, beginning with the 2007 housing bust, in the majority of cases afflicted the four "sand states" of California, Nevada, Arizona and Florida--areas, Pew noted, with large numbers of Latino immigrants.

Many of these Latinos were among buyers unqualified by traditional credit standards for the subprime mortgages granted at that time, with encouragement from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Barone believes one-third of those foreclosed on in the Great Recession were Latinos, people whose “dreams turned into nightmares.”

Pew’s report on declining U.S. birthrates provides further evidence of recession impact on Latino families. The biggest drop was among Mexican-born women, from 455,000 births in 2007 to 346,000 in 2010--a 24% decline. That drop contrasts with only 6% for U.S.-born women, and is much more like the sharp decline in U.S. birthrates during the 1929 to 1933 Depression years.

No comments: