An Empirical Examination of Characteristics of Mexican Migrants to Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Areas of the United States*


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    This research was partially funded by USDA National Research Initiative and the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station.

School of Human Environmental Sciences, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville AR 72703 or at


Abstract  This research examines differences between those Mexican migrants choosing metropolitan destinations and those choosing destinations outside metropolitan areas of the United States. Using general estimating equations, the study presents data indicating that since the 1960s migrants choosing rural destinations are less fluent in English, slightly older, much less educated, far more likely to be unskilled, more likely to be married, and more likely to be undocumented. The picture is more complex when consideration is restricted to those migrants arriving in rural areas since the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement. These migrants are far more likely to be single, have more education but have less English fluency, have less work experience, and have less family experience with migration to the United States. They are more likely to come from small towns and rural areas of Mexico.