Population Research and Policy Review 23: 219–234, 2004.
© 2004 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Printed in the Netherlands.
Mexican migration to the United States Paciﬁc Northwest
STEPHEN T. FAIRCHILD & NICOLE B. SIMPSON
Department of Economics, Colgate University, 13 Oak Drive, Hamilton, NY 13346, U.S.A.
Abstract. The migration of Mexicans to the Paciﬁc Northwest region (PNW) of the United
States has received little attention in scholarly literature. This is unfortunate, as Mexican
migration has signiﬁcantly affected this region, both economically and culturally. Using data
supplied by the Mexican Migration Project, we compare the characteristics of Mexican mi-
grants to the Paciﬁc Northwest with characteristics of Mexicans who migrate to other parts
of the U.S. The data reveal signiﬁcant differences between the two groups: Mexican migrants
to the PNW earn lower U.S. wages, are less likely to migrate illegally, and more commonly
work in agriculture. They also are more transitory in nature, making more frequent, shorter
trips to the U.S. Most interesting is that PNW migrants send signiﬁcantly more money back
home compared to Mexican migrants in other parts of the U.S., even after controlling for the
aforementioned differences in individual characteristics.
Keywords: Mexico, migration, Paciﬁc Northwest, remittances
There is little question that U.S. immigrants are more geographically concen-
trated than natives (e.g., Bartel 1989). However, in recent years, the dispersion
of Mexican migrants across the U.S. is higher than ever. According to Durand
et al. (2000), approximately 80% of all Mexican migrants in the U.S., legal
and illegal, lived in California and Texas prior to 1990. Recently, however,
less than 60% of all Mexican migrants live in these two states. This has led
to dramatic increases in Mexican migrants in other states across the U.S.
such as North Carolina, Utah, and Nevada. With this change in the distri-
bution of Mexican migrants across the U.S. have come questions concerning
their characteristics. Are Mexican migrants who move to other parts of the
country similar to those in California and Texas? Is there a certain proﬁle
of Mexican migrants in speciﬁc regions? Many state and local policymakers
across the U.S. have been awakened by this trend, making it very important
to characterize Mexican migrant populations in each region of the country.
One particular region that has been overlooked in the literature is the Paciﬁc
For the purpose of this paper the PNW includes the states of Idaho,
Montana, Oregon, and Washington. Mexican migration to the PNW began