Undocumented and Unwell: Legal Status and Health among Mexican Migrants

Amanda R. Cheong, Douglas S. Massey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Using data from the Mexican Migration Project, we evaluate the effects of documented and undocumented migration on the health of Mexican adults. Results suggest that documented and undocumented migrants are positively selected with respect to health in migrating to the United States and health status does not strongly predict selection into return migration back to Mexico. Among returned migrants, health deteriorates as the number of trips to the United States increases, with undocumented migrants experiencing an extra health penalty. While there is no continued decline on return to Mexico for undocumented migrants, they fare worse than returned documented migrants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)571-601
Number of pages31
JournalInternational Migration Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Demography
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


  • health
  • migration
  • undocumented


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