Migration and the Gendered Origin of Migrant Networks Among Couples in Mexico


  • Please note that the order of authorship is alphabetical and does not reflect differences in the level of contribution.

Direct correspondence to Mathew J Creighton, Departament de Ciències Polítiques i Socials, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Ramon Trias Fargas, 25–27, 08005 Barcelona 〈mathew.creighton@upf.edu〉.



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.


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.


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.


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.