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Objectives

We investigate how the matrilineal versus patrilineal origin of Mexican couples’ migrant networks are associated with the aspirations to migrate and the subsequent migration behavior of each spouse.

Methods

Using longitudinal data from the Mexican Family Life Survey (2002–2005) on 3,923 married couples across 139 municipalities, we estimate multilevel logistic regressions predicting aspirations to migrate to the United States for each spouse and the subsequent migration behavior of the couple in the interwave period.

Results

The networks of both ego and spouse are associated with U.S. migration aspirations although they matter more for the person from which they originate. Only matrilineal networks predicted a subsequent move to the United States. for men and women/couples who were assessed jointly.

Conclusion

Matrilineal networks are instrumental in the migration process, particularly of the couple. As such, they could prove instrumental in helping understand the migration motivations and dynamics of individuals and families.