More Mexican immigrants have returned to Mexico from the U.S. than have migrated there, a new study found on Thursday amidst increasing hostility towards Mexicans in the U.S.
Between 2009 and 2014, 1 million Mexican immigrants and U.S.-Mexican citizens left the U.S. for Mexico while 870,000 citizens from the Central American country migrated north-bound during this same period, the Pew Research Center found.
The figures, which are estimates based on government data from both countries, also indicated that the migration flow of Mexicans to the U.S. is at its lowest level since the 1990s.
While an economic recession that disproportionately affects immigrants, harsher anti-immigration law enforcement and mass deportations are among the reasons behind the change in migrations flows, most Mexican immigrants cite a desire for family reunification as their primary motive for returning home, according to the researchers.
The study also found that, contrary to popular belief, a large number of Mexicans don’t see life on the northern side of the border as necessarily better. In fact, one third of Mexicans say those who move to the U.S. lead a life that is neither better nor worse than in Mexico.
The study’s findings appear to represent a larger shift in migration patterns in Latin America.Since 2010, for the first time in 14 years, more people emigrated from the European Union to Latin American and Caribbean countries than the other way around, according to the International Organization for Migration.