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Net migration: The Far East is the new Southwest


Recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau show that China has overtaken Mexico as the source of the largest number of immigrants to the U.S. FRED can add some insight to this topic: Although FRED doesn’t include country-by-country migration data, it does include net migration data for each country in the World Bank’s World Development Indicators release. The list of countries is long. The graph above looks at only the three countries noted here. The U.S. is a net immigration country, while China and Mexico are net emigration countries. No surprise there. What may be a little unexpected is how large the fluctuations have been from one five-year period to the next. Also, migration out of China has increased (by an order of magnitude) despite many years of impressive economic growth. Indeed, aggregate economic conditions are not likely to be the sole driver for migration choices.

Note: In 2013, the most-recent year for which complete Census data are available, Mexico actually sent the third-largest number of immigrants to the U.S. As noted above, China sent the most, but India is now in second place.

How this graph was created: Search for net migration, and the U.S. should appear first. Scroll through the list or use the “Add Data Series” tab to search for and add China and Mexico (and many other countries) to the graph.

Suggested by Christian Zimmermann

View on FRED, series used in this post: SMPOPNETMCHN, SMPOPNETMMEX, SMPOPNETMUSA


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