Reconsidering Multiplicity Surveys on Emigration from the United States

Karen A. Woodrow-Lafield, University of Maryland

In the late 1980s, special surveys provided data for the population by nativity and immigration, for family members, and for emigrants and Americans living abroad. These data were collected primarily for emigration component in evaluating decennial census coverage. This paper reconsiders this comprehensive survey approach for studying individuals and family networks by nativity and residence. Those analyses suggested increased Mexican emigrants during the IRCA legalization programs, and, subsequently, Mexican Migration Project researchers found elevated rates of Mexican return migration in 1990-1994 as newly legalized immigrants could travel more easily. The discussion focuses on the likely value that surveys with multiplicity sampling have for depicting trends in return migration and resolving gaps in modeling emigration.

Presented in Session 36: Return Migration and Migration Systems