The Initiation and Growth of Migration Streams from Communities in Five Latin American Countries

Elizabeth Fussell, Tulane University

A variety of theories describe how a migration stream begins and how it is perpetuated, providing a synthetic account of international migration. In this research I model the proportion of a community that has ever migrated in a given year as a function of the level of development of the community, economic opportunities in the community, and the characteristics of migrants from that community in the U.S. I use the Mexican Migration Project and Latin American Migration Project data for communities in Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Puerto Rico. I find significant and positive relationships between indicators of the level of development and the initiation of migration. Furthermore, higher levels of migrant remittances lead to the perpetuation of the migration stream in most cases. These findings provide empirical evidence for a synthetic account of international migration.

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Presented in Session 61: Community Structure and Migration