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The Changing Population at Labor Force Ages Along the U.S-Mexico Border

James D. Williams, Clyde Eastman


NAFTA has replaced IRCA (Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 as amended) as the focal point in U.S.-Mexico relations, yet, underlying both are common themes related to population and economics. Disparities in economic opportunities and disparities in population dynamics are major defining elements of life along the U.S.-Mexico border. The decennial censuses in both countries provide an opportunity each decade to examine the evolving situation. The purpose of this study is to assess the potential labor force supply which is implicit in the population age distribution along both sides of the border and to project population impacts of a continuation of the situation which prevailed in the 1980s. The analysis highlights ethnic transformation on the U.S. side of the border and the crucial role of natural increase (as opposed to more commonly discussed migration patterns) in labor force growth along especially the Mexican side of the border.

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Print ISSN: 0886-5655
Online ISSN: 2159-1229