Which Country Leads Immigration to Mexico?

Guess which country has the highest immigration rates to Mexico? According to the Mexican census, Spain held that honor between 1900 and 1940. By 1930, 47,000 Spanish emigrated to Mexico before the Spanish Civil War. However, in the years between 1950 and 2015, Spain moved to second or third place. Then the number one country sending immigrants to Mexico was not Guatemala, nor was it Germany, it was the United States of America.

Palm trees in Cozumel  Photo: Rebecca Cuningham

Surprised? Over 30,000 people from the United States immigrated to Mexico in the 1940s. That decade was the lowest number in the last 65 years. In the 1950s, it was up to almost 98,000, triple the previous ten years. 1960’s brought the only dip, down to 97,000. Ten years later, it was up to 157,000. The next census, people from the US moving to Mexico had increased to almost 195,000. By 1990s, 344,000 US citizens transferred south. By 2000, the number more than doubled, to 738,000. Five years later, it stayed almost the same, at 739,000. New data will come out after 2020 as to the current standing.

As of the 2010 census, Spanish immigrants to Mexico totaled 77,000. The US rate for that time period is almost 10 times that of second place España. Can we pinpoint why?

What does it mean when people emigrate? Am I reading the data correctly that 2,398,000 US citizens left their country to go to Mexico in the last 65 years? Are senior citizens moving to our southern neighbor so they can afford their retirement? Perhaps medical costs are lower in Mexico. Or people like Lotería better than Bingo.

Lotería – Mexican Bingo Card  Photo: Rebecca Cuningham

I wonder if, as a courtesy, we have extended citizenship to the same number of Mexican immigrants to the US during six and a half decades? Shall we make some kind of citizen swap?

What does this immigration data say to you? What is the cause of the exodus?

Stay tuned next week for an article on Asian immigration to Mexico.

Gracias for reading Fake Flamenco! I appreciate your comments! ¡Olé! –Rebecca

Cincuenta (50) Centavos Mexicanos  Photo; Rebecca Cuningham


Rebecca Cuningham

24 thoughts on “Which Country Leads Immigration to Mexico?

  1. Interesting info, Rebecca. I had no idea that so many Americans had migrated and continue to migrate to Mexico. I wonder how they and their Mexican-born offspring feel when they hear the American president denigrate Mexicans.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’ve looked into more Spanish sources since in English I get the story flowing the other way:
    762,290 immigrants from the US resided in Mexico as of 2019. Working on getting the raw census data and parameters from the Mx government site.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. There is a large number of Canadians that move to Mexico as well. Mostly for the weather and low cost of living. We don´t see many Mexicans here in Spain but I have met people from South America.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Very interesting Rebecca, I would have supposed there were expats from the US but not that many. Great post!
    Thank you,

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Very good research and interesting information. Thank you 🙏🏻 Rebecca and all the best,

        Liked by 1 person

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