The extensive flow of migrants from Mexico to the United States has long been one of the most dramatic chapters in the history of international migration.
Arrests on the border between the U.S. and Mexico peaked in in 2000, when almost 1.8 million migrants were arrested.
But with ongoing conflict in the Middle East, migration to Europe will likely supercede Latin American immigration to the U.S. in the coming years.
That’s according to Gordon Hanson and Craig McIntosh, researchers from the University of California at San Diego, who outlined the trend in a recent study by the National Bureau of Economic Research.
The researchers say things are changing on the U.S.-Mexican border: in 2015 there were 330,000 arrests, six times less than in 2000.
Researchers predict that the largest migratory flow in the world over the next three decades will occur thousands of miles from the Rio Grande. The more than 3,700 migrants who died in Mediterranean waters in 2015 could be just the beginning as the Mediterranean will likely be a hotspot of international migration until the middle of the century.
Here are some of the study’s key findings:
In Mexico, women had an average of 6.8 children in the 1980s, compared to three for U.S. women. At the same time, the Mexican economy suffered a long period of turbulence while its neighbor to the north enjoyed a so-called Great Moderation, when the U.S. recorded moderate economic growth from the 1980s until 2007. That means millions of migrants headed to the United States for jobs. Today, however, Mexico’s fertility rate is barely higher than the U.S. rate – 2.3 compared to 1.9.
One out of every three foreign workers currently in the United States is Mexican. That means 13 percent of working-age Mexicans are living in the United States.
To the south, sub-Saharan Africa suffers from “even lower salaries,” the study says. In fact, the region has the world's lowest salaries. After months of watching migrants arrive from the Middle East, the European Union is now focusing on Africa, where its Mediterranean coastline has become a launchpad for dangerous smuggling trips to the north. In just one week in September, 3,400 migrants were rescued off the coast of Libya.
Professor Gordon Hanson told Univision News that Central American countries are too small to significantly shape future migration flows, although people there will continue to migrate north. Guatemala is one of the few countries in the Americas where the number of children is expected to continue to grow, and Honduras and El Salvador are likely to continue to face political and security problems.
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