Most Mexicans See Better Life in U.S. – One In Three Would Migrate

Most Mexicans See Better Life in U.S. – One In Three Would Migrate

Facing a variety of national problems - crime, drugs, corruption, a troubled economy - Mexicans overwhelmingly are dissatisfied with the direction of their country. With drug-related violence affecting much of Mexico, large majorities describe crime (81%) and illegal drugs (73%) as very big problems, and Mexicans overwhelmingly endorse President Felipe Calderón's tough stance against drug traffickers.

Most believe life is better in the United States. Close to six-in-ten (57%) say that people who move from Mexico enjoy a better life in the U.S., up from 51% in 2007. And the vast majority of those who are in regular contact with friends and relatives living in the U.S. say those friends and relatives have largely achieved their goals.

A substantial minority of Mexicans say that if they had the means and opportunity to go live in the U.S. they would do so, and more than half of those who would migrate if they had the chance say they would do so without authorization.

Nonetheless, immigration data show a drop-off in recent years in the annual flow of Mexican immigrants to the U.S. This decline may be tied in part to the economic downturn in the U.S., which has resulted in fewer jobs for immigrants. Four-in-ten Mexicans say they know someone who left for the U.S. but returned because they could not find a job, although even more (47%) report knowing someone who returned because they were turned back by the border patrol.

And some may see expanding job opportunities in the Mexican economy. Although 69% say the current economy is bad, most are upbeat about the future: 61% expect the national economy to improve over the next 12 months, while only 14% think it will get worse.

The close ties between people in the U.S. and Mexico are reflected in the survey's findings - 39% of Mexicans have friends or relatives in the U.S. Nearly one-in-five (18%) Mexicans say they receive money from relatives living in another country, although this represents a slight decline from 2007, when 23% said they received money from outside.

These are the latest findings from the 2009 survey of Mexico by the Pew Research Center's Global Attitudes Project.

Read the full report Most Mexicans See Better Life in U.S. – One In Three Would Migrate on the Pew Research Center's Global Attitudes Project Web site.

Spotlight on Mental Health

Composite image of modern city network communication concept

Learn the Basics of Broadband from Our Limited Series

Sign up for our four-week email course on Broadband Basics

Quick View

How does broadband internet reach our homes, phones, and tablets? What kind of infrastructure connects us all together? What are the major barriers to broadband access for American communities?

Pills illustration
Pills illustration

What Is Antibiotic Resistance—and How Can We Fight It?

Sign up for our four-week email series The Race Against Resistance.

Quick View

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria, also known as “superbugs,” are a major threat to modern medicine. But how does resistance work, and what can we do to slow the spread? Read personal stories, expert accounts, and more for the answers to those questions in our four-week email series: Slowing Superbugs.

Explore Pew’s new and improved
Fiscal 50 interactive

Your state's stats are more accessible than ever with our new and improved Fiscal 50 interactive:

  • Maps, trends, and customizable charts
  • 50-state rankings
  • Analysis of what it all means
  • Shareable graphics and downloadable data
  • Proven fiscal policy strategies

Explore

Welcome to the new Fiscal 50

Key changes include:

  • State pages that help you keep track of trends in your home state and provide national and regional context.
  • Interactive indicator pages with highly customizable and shareable data visualizations.
  • A Budget Threads feature that offers Pew’s read on the latest state fiscal news.

Learn more about the new and improved Fiscal 50.