Skip to: Content
Skip to: Site Navigation
Skip to: Search


Who are Mexico's border-crossers?

January 27, 1982



The typical undocumented Mexican worker is not the poorest, least educated, Mexican.

Skip to next paragraph

Sex: Eight out of 10 are men.

Age: Half are 30 or younger; 80 percent are 40 or younger.

Marital status: 55 percent are married.

Education: Average of five years' schooling - slightly higher than the average for Mexico.

Origin: About two-thirds come from rural areas, mostly in central Mexico, about one-third from urban areas. Only 11 percent come from border regions of Mexico.

Destination: California, 47 percent; Texas, 27 percent; Illinois, 7 percent; Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico combined, 6 percent; the rest go to other US states.

Employment in Mexico before coming: 80 percent had some kind of job - 60 percent in agriculture, about 8 percent in white-collar jobs. But they earned much less than they did in the US.

Jobs they held in the US: White-collar, 4.5 percent; blue-collar, 36 percent; service, 23.5 percent; farm, 36.1 percent.

Source: 1978-1979 study by the National Center of Labor Information and Statistics, an agency of the Mexican federal government.