The changing geography of Mexican immigration to the United States: 1910-1996

Jorge Durand, Douglas S. Massey, Fernando Charvet

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134 Scopus citations


Objective. We seek to describe trends in the geographic destination of Mexican immigrants to the United States. Methods. Using the Integrated Public Use Microdata Samples for 1910-90 and the 1996 Current Population Survey, we tabulate the distribution of all foreign-born Mexicans and recent Mexican immigrants (those arriving in the prior five years) by state and metropolitan area. Results. We find that early in the century, Mexicans went primarily to Texas, but after 1910, California emerged as a growing pole of attraction. California continued to gain at the expense of Texas through the 1920s and 1930s, but it did not surpass Texas until the Bracero Program of 1942-1964. Following the demise of this program, California came to dominate all other destinations; but since 1990, Mexican immigration has shifted away from it toward new states that never before have received significant numbers of Mexicans. Conclusions. During the 1990s, Mexican immigration was transformed from a regional to a national phenomenon. By 1996, nearly a third of new arrivals were going to places other than the five traditional gateway states, which historically have absorbed 90% of all Mexican immigrants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)X-15
JournalSocial Science Quarterly
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences


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