Mexican Immigrants Aren’t Sending as Much Money Home

Latin American immigrants predictably sent less money back to their home countries during the recession.

Now that the economy has warmed up, most of those immigrants are sending money south again, but there’s one exception: Mexico.

The new trend in remittances — money sent to an immigrant’s home country — is detailed in a report released by the Pew Research Center on Friday.

Mexicans sent an estimated $22 billion back to Mexico in 2013. While that might seem like a lot, it’s a 29 percent drop from 2006, when remittances reached a historic high.

And while remittances to other Latin American countries are back to pre-recession levels, money sent back to Mexico remains low.

Why the drop off? There are a couple possible answers.

First, the housing crash in the U.S. hit Mexican immigrants especially hard, since a sizable percentage of those immigrants work in construction.

Second, there are fewer immigrants coming from Mexico.

Pew reported in 2012 that migration from Mexico was at net zero, and might even be moving in reverse. That means that just as many people are heading from the U.S. to Mexico as there are coming north.

Of course, even if remittances have slowed from Mexico, there’s still a lot more money being sent to Mexico compared to other Latin American countries.

That’s because Mexicans make up more than half — 55 percent — of the foreign-born population in the U.S. And the fact that the two countries are neighbors makes it more likely for money to flow across the border.