Pioneer and Settler Mexican Migration to New Destinations in the United States: Thirty Years of Development

Mark Leach, University of California, Irvine
Frank D. Bean, University of California, Irvine

During the 1990s, the Mexican origin population of the United States accelerated its transformation from a mostly regionally concentrated ethnic group to one that is more widely distributed around the country. Our first proposition is that in the U.S. case the very first Mexican-born internal migrants, who we term “pre-pioneer” migrants, are persons who migrate to new locales for much the same reasons as usual migrants (i.e., economic and family-based life course reasons). We theorize that these persons set the stage for subsequent pioneer migration, which in turn, eventually becomes supplanted by settler migration. We use statistical methods to identify the predominate characteristics of Mexican migration into new destinations across the past four decades and relate these to stages in the migration flows to show the potential for diverse incorporation outcomes of Mexicans in new destinations. We discuss the implications for migration and incorporation of theoretical frameworks, and for policy implications.

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Presented in Session 91: New Patterns of Migrant and Immigrant Settlement