Cohort Analysis of Changes in Education of Mexican Migrants to the U.S.

Michael Rendall, RAND Corporation
Susan Parker, Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE)

Previous studies on the educational composition of Mexican migrants to the U.S. have mostly used either U.S. data sources or data from Mexico community-based samples. Recent results instead using nationally-representative Mexican data from households reporting on the emigration of household members contradict the findings of positive educational selectivity of previous studies. The present study builds on this work by using nationally-representative migrant-flow and Mexican-resident data sources collected in Mexico to investigate cohort trends in the age and education composition of migrants to the U.S. since the mid-1990s. We find a much larger change in the educational composition of migrants when viewed across cohorts than across periods, suggesting a large role for exogenous (supply) changes in the educational attainment of successive cohorts in Mexico. We discuss this “supply” source of change versus changes in the demand for educated workers in the U.S. and changes in Mexican emigrants' educational selectivity.

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Presented in Session 90: Determinants of Immigration and Its Impact