The relationship between retirement income and return migration among Mexican elderly in the US

Alma Vega, University of California, Berkeley

While recent decades have paid increased attention to Mexican immigration to the U.S., far less is known about return to the country of origin, particularly during later life. Elderly return migration potentially impacts U.S. spending on old-age support programs, selectivity issues regarding U.S.-residing elderly immigrants, and our general understanding of immigrant assimilation. This study determines the correlates of return migration among Mexicans aged 60 years and older in the U.S., paying particular attention to the role of retirement income. Using logistic regression techniques on the Integrated Public-Use Microdata Series (IPUMS), it considers whether lower retirement income levels prompt Mexican immigrants in the U.S. to return migrate during later life. Preliminary results indicate that return migrants are more likely to be lower in the income distribution than those who stayed in the U.S. even after controlling for a battery of demographic variables. This finding suggests that retirement in the U.S. is a normal good for older Mexican immigrants in the U.S., the probability of which increases with higher income levels.

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Presented in Session 18: Return migration