Migration decision-making among Mexican youth: Individual, family, and community influences
We explored migration decisions using in-depth, semistructured interviews with male and female youth ages 14 to 24 (n = 47) from two Mexican communities, one with high and one with low U.S. migration density. Half were return migrants and half were nonmigrants with relatives in the United States. Migrant and nonmigrant youth expressed different preferences, especially in terms of education and their ability to wait for financial gain. Reasons for migration were mostly similar across the two communities; however, the perceived risk of the migration journey was higher in the low-density migration community whereas perceived opportunities in Mexico were higher in the high-density migration community. Reasons for return were related to youths’ initial social and economic motivations for migration. A greater understanding of factors influencing migration decisions may provide insight into the vulnerability of immigrant youth along the journey, their adaptation process in the United States, and their reintegration in Mexico.