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Economic Survival Strategies of Poor Families on the Mexican Border

Joan Anderson, Martin de la Rosa


This study examines the coping strategies of poor families during the Mexican economic crisis and how the border environment affects those strategies. To emphasize the impact of the border context, the results are compared to and contrasted with a similar, though more extensive, study of poor families in Guadalajara by Mercedes González de la Rocha (1986 and 1988). González de la Rocha concluded that the important elements in the survival strategies of poor families were the size of the family, its phase in the domestic cycle and increased informal sector work. Large families in the second and third stages of the domestic cycle fared better than small young families. This Tijuana study is consistent with the earlier study. In addition it explores four general ways in which the border influences coping strategies: (1) the dollarization of the economy; (2) the maquiladora boom and its affect on employment and the type of labor demanded; (3) the creation of binational families, with family members on both sides of the border; and (4) the existence of an economy of discards from the U.S.

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