Two Sources of Error in Data on U.S. Migration in Mexican Household-Based Surveys
Erin R. Hamilton, University of California, Davis
We examine the nature and degree of two sources of error in data on U.S. migration in Mexican household-based surveys: 1) sampling error that results when whole households migrate and no one is left behind to report their migration; and, 2) reporting errors that result when migrants are not identified by survey respondents. Using data from the first two waves of the Mexican Family Life Survey, which tracked U.S. migrants from 2002 to 2005, our analysis suggests that up to half of migrants are not counted as a result of these two sources of error. Misreporting is the larger source of error, accounting for more than one-third of all migrants. Those who are not counted, especially whole-household migrants, are a unique group of migrants. Their omission results in an underestimate of female migrants, children, and migrants from the Mexican border region, and an overestimate of migrants from the periphery region.