Mexican Immigrants

How many Mexican immigrants are in the United States?

Approximately 11.6 million Mexican immigrants resided in the United States in 2015, according to the ACS, accounting for 27 percent of all U.S. immigrants and down from the peak of 29.5 percent in 2000.

In which U.S. states do Mexican immigrants live?

Mexican immigrants are primarily concentrated in the West and Southwest, and more than half live in California or Texas. In 2015, the top five states of residence for Mexican immigrants were California (37 percent of all Mexican immigrants), Texas (22 percent), Illinois (6 percent), Arizona (4 percent), and Florida (2 percent).

Use this interactive map to learn the top states and counties where individual immigrant populations reside.

Use this interactive map to learn the top metropolitan areas where individual immigrant populations reside.

In 2015, Mexican immigrants accounted for more than half of the foreign-born population in New Mexico (71 percent), Arizona (57 percent), and Texas (55 percent). By contrast, Mexicans accounted for less than 2 percent of all immigrants in Rhode Island (1.8 percent), Massachusetts (1.5 percent), and New Hampshire (1.2 percent).

How many Mexican-born workers are in the U.S. labor force?

About 69 percent of the 11.2 million immigrants from Mexico ages 16 and older were in the civilian labor force in 2015. This represents a slightly higher labor force participation than for the overall foreign-born population ages 16 and older (66 percent of 41.4 million) and the native-born population ages 16 and older (62 percent of 214.8 million).

How has the emigration rate from Mexico changed over time?

According to Mexico’s National Survey of Occupations and Employment (Encuesta Nacional de Ocupación y Empleo, or ENOE), the emigration rate from Mexico (refers to emigrants leaving Mexico regardless of their destination, although most head to the United States) has remained steadily low in recent years, after experiencing a drop following the 2007-09 U.S. recession. From 2008 to 2012, the emigration rate dropped from 6.4 migrants per 1,000 residents to 3.3 migrants. It ticked up slightly in 2015 to 3.6 migrants per 1,000 residents.

The immigration rate to Mexico (overwhelmingly comprised of return migrants) has also dropped, from 4.4 migrants per 1,000 residents in 2008 to 1.4 per 1,000 in 2015.

Note: ENOE asks Mexican households to enumerate any members of the household who are living abroad at the time of the interview. Accordingly, it does not capture the emigration of entire families where no member of the household remains in Mexico.

Which areas/regions do most Mexican migrants come from?

According to the Survey of Migration on the Northern Border of Mexico* (Encuesta de Migración en la Frontera Norte de México, or EMIF), the number of immigrants moving from Mexico to the United States decreased steadily between 2007 and 2015 despite an uptick in 2013. EMIF estimated that 96,000 immigrants crossed the country’s northern border in 2014—just percent of the 323,000 level recorded in 2013.

In 2015, traditional sending states such as Guanajuato, Chiapas, and Michoacán accounted for the largest shares of the 96,000 migrants who headed toward the United States, collectively representing 27 percent of northward flows. Between 2009 and 2015, some states in northern and central Mexico witnessed a decline in total outflows, while others experienced increased emigration. The most significant drop was recorded in the state of Coahuila (northern Mexico, bordering Texas): Between 2009 and 2015, migrants from Coahuila declined from 8 percent to 2 percent of the total outflow from Mexico. During the same period, migrants from Chihuahua (northern Mexico, bordering Texas) grew in share by twelvefold, from 0.5 percent to 6 percent of the total outflow, and Chiapas (western Mexico) more than quadrupled its share (from 2 percent to 9 percent).

For an overall map of flows by Mexican state over time, visit MPI’s data tool, Origins of Mexican Migrants to the United States by Mexican State of Residence, Number, and Share, 2004-2014.

*Note: EMIF is an annual sample survey of migration flows along Mexico’s northern border region conducted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (SRE), Secretariat of Labor and Social Welfare (STPS), National Migration Institute (INM), National Population Council (CONAPO), and College of the Northern Border (COLEF) in Tijuana. The survey excludes Mexicans entering the United States by air, migrants under the age of 15, and non-Mexican nationals crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. The category “migrants headed toward the United States” is restricted to those migrants who are traveling to the United States or a Mexican border city, are ages 15 and older, were not born in the United States, and do not have an immediate return itinerary. The 2015 data are preliminary.