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Mexico's net migration down 50%

February 20, 2009|Associated Press

MEXICO CITY — Migration from Mexico, mainly to the United States, has fallen dramatically as fewer Mexicans leave their country to look for work abroad amid a global economic downturn, the government said Thursday.

The net outflow -- legal and illegal -- declined more than 50% in the 12 months ended in August compared with the same period a year earlier, said Eduardo Sojo, president of the board of Mexico's National Statistics, Geography and Information Institute.

Sojo attributed the net drop in migration to tough economic conditions abroad motivating Mexicans to stay at home, rather than Mexicans in other countries returning to their homeland.

He said the net outflow -- the number leaving minus the number returning -- dropped to 204,000 from August 2007 to August 2008. That was down from 455,000 for the previous year.

The number of returning Mexicans declined slightly, to 450,000 from 478,000. But the number leaving Mexico fell sharply, to 654,000 from 933,000.

The government has said in previous years that a majority who leave are undocumented migrants. Its figures are estimates based on quarterly surveys of Mexican households.

Experts say that there have been wide swings in emigration to the United States.

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