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More Women Fewer Men Now Emigrating to U.S. From Mexico, Study Says

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When you hear the words "Mexican immigrant," what image pops into your head? 

Maybe you're picturing a male day laborer. But Rogelio Saenz from the University of Texas at San Antonio says the latest data does not reflect that.

"Women are becoming​ much more a part of the Mexican immigrant population," Saenz says.

The new face of the Mexican immigrant is increasingly that of a woman. That's according to a new study byUTSAand the University of New Hampshire about the latest trends in Mexican immigration.

That face is changing in other ways too.

"Immigrants from Mexico tend to have higher levels of education, they're more likely to be fluent in English, they are more likely to be naturalized citizens – I believe it was something like 7 percent were naturalized citizens," Saenz says.

Reasons for migrating to the U.S. have also changed. In the past, poverty was a main driver. Today, it's drug-related violence. But the militarization of the U.S.-Mexico border has driven the cost of crossing illegally way up. Not as many people can afford it. So, those who come over, both documented and undocumented, are people with higher levels of income. 

Overall, U.S.-Mexico immigration numbers have declined in the past ten years, the study says, and it sites a relatively sluggish U.S. economy and a scarcity of construction job opportunities as potential contributing factors. Read more on the study's findings here.

Texas Standard reporter Joy Diaz has amassed a lengthy and highly recognized body of work in public media reporting. Prior to joining Texas Standard, Joy was a reporter with Austin NPR station KUT on and off since 2005. There, she covered city news and politics, education, healthcare and immigration.
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