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One in Seven Mexican Workers Are in the United States, Sending Billions Home

Press Release
Thursday, November 30, 2006

One in Seven Mexican Workers Are in the United States, Sending Billions Home

MPI Releases New Fact Sheet in Advance of Mexico’s Presidential Inauguration 

Washington - When Mexico’s President-Elect Felipe Calderón takes office tomorrow, December 1, one reality confronting him will be the fact that one in seven Mexican workers (14 percent of the Mexican labor force) were in the United States in 2005, a number that has likely risen in 2006. Mexicans made up almost 5 percent of the US labor force and nearly a third of all foreign-born workers in the United States in 2006.

These data are included in a new Fact Sheet by MPI Policy Analyst Jeanne Batalova. Other findings include:

Mexican workers tend to be young men: About 77 percent of Mexican workers in the United States were under the age of 45 in 2006, and 70 percent of Mexican workers were men (compared to 52.5 percent of native-born workers). 

Mexican men had the highest labor force participation rates of both foreign-born and native-born groups in the United States in 2006, at 88.2 percent, while Mexican women had the lowest, at 47.3 percent.

Only 5.8 percent of Mexican workers over 25 had a bachelor’s degree or higher in 2006, compared to 30.6 percent of all foreign-born workers and 32.8 percent of native-born workers.

Nearly one in three employed Mexican-born people (29.1 percent) worked in service occupations in 2006. In the same year, nearly 23 percent of Mexican-born workers were employed in the construction industry, more than twice the percentage of all foreign-born workers, and three times that of native workers.

Mexicans living and working abroad sent home an estimated $20 billion in remittances in 2005, most of which came from the United States. These remittances equaled 2.8 percent of Mexico’s GDP and accounted for nearly 40 percent of the total $53.6 billion in remittances to Latin America.

Please click here to read the Fact Sheet and see comparative charts and tables.