Continued migrant mobility: analyzing the geographic mobility of immigrant populations beyond the international migration context

Marquez, N.
138 pages. Washington, University of Washington (2023), unpublished


The late 20th century rise in international migration to the United States (US) brought with it an abundance of novel scholarship and theorizing regarding what drives movement across international borders. Conversely, studies of internal migration, and internal mobility more generally, have not received the same abundance of attention, despite being a much more common form of mobility and having many commonalities with international migration. This dissertation contributes to the body of work that analyzes more frequent forms of migration and mobility and linking it to instances of international migration. By studying the ”continued mobility” of immigrants, I highlight how immigrants continue to face pressures which shape their mobility in a way that is unique from native populations. I draw on literature from the domains of internal migration and international migration to highlight how international and internal mobility are tied to one another. In the first chapter, I analyze how the changing relationship of in- and out-migration between Mexico and the US has contributed to an acceleration of aging of the Mexican-born population in the US. While previous studies have noted that migrants coming from Mexico tended to be older in more recent years, I find that the vast majority of the aging among the Mexican population in the US can be attributed to declines in the ratio of in-migrants to out-migrants. Accelerated aging will have many impacts on the Mexican-born population, including contributing to internal mobility declines as older individuals are less likely to migrate than younger individuals. Second, I analyze how aging and changes in the socio-demographic positioning of the Mexican-born population have contributed to US internal migration decline. I find that internal migration rates of the Mexican-born population have substantially fallen in the past two decades, far more than has been observed in other populations. While aging of the Mexican population explains some of this decline, the effects have been observed across all socio-demographic groups within the Mexican-born population and highlight how factors used to explain migra- tion decline in the US more generally are insufficient to explain the decline observed in the Mexican population. In the final chapter, I move away from studying migration to focus on day-to-day mobility, or activity space. This study compares the activity space patterns of both migrant and native populations and finds that the activity space of immigrant populations is segregated from native populations in a way that is unique from other measures of segregation.

The Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock is one of the leading demographic research centers in the world. It's part of the Max Planck Society, the internationally renowned German research society.