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  HOME | Mexico

271,000 Mexicans in U.S. Slipped into Poverty Last Year

MEXICO CITY – Around 271,000 Mexican immigrants in the United States “entered a state of poverty in 2009,” according to a study released Friday by the Mexico unit of Spanish banking giant BBVA.

The report said that between the fourth quarter of 2008 and the same period last year, “the number of workers of Mexican origin with jobs decreased by approximately 560,000.”

For that reason, the number of workers of Mexican origin who are currently unemployed increased to about 1.8 million, “of whom around 51 percent are immigrants,” according to the document signed by analyst Juan Luis Ordaz Diaz of the economic studies service of BBVA Mexico.

The bank said that last year, 60 percent of the total jobs lost in the United States were concentrated in the construction and commerce sectors, which lost close to a million jobs, and in manufacturing, which left close to 1.4 million people unemployed.

As a result, the unemployment rate of Mexican immigrants in the United States grew from roughly 8 percent to 12 percent.

The consequence of the economic situation of Mexicans in the United States is that a greater number of them slipped into poverty, according to figures of the Current Population Survey cited by BBVA, to such a degree that 271,000 immigrants are considered the new poor north of the border.

The poverty rate of Mexican immigrants in the U.S. went from 19.7 percent in 2007 and 24.8 percent in 2008 to 27.1 percent in 2009.

One consequence of the U.S. employment and economic crisis was that “in 2009 Mexico saw its revenues from remittances drop by 15.7 percent in dollars compared with what it received in 2008,” BBVA noted.

The fall in remittances was the biggest since the Mexican government began keeping track in 1995.

In contrast to what a number of analysts expected, there is no evidence that the world economic crisis led to a massive return of immigrants to Mexico.

BBVA says that because most Mexicans in the United States feel truly settled there, and because of increased border security and the fact that a return to Mexico would not have improved their economic situation, few felt motivated to make the “return migration.”

The study forecast that 2010 will be “a better year” for Mexicans living in the U.S., and that there will be “a certain recovery in jobs and with that an improvement in the amount of remittances that will be sent.”

By far, most of the remittances Mexico receives come from the United States, home to 12 million Mexicans – about half of them undocumented immigrants – and millions more descendants of Mexican immigrants. EFE

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