Family Formation and Temporary Migration to the United States as Life Course Transitions among Mexican Men and Women

Maria J. Perez-Patron, Texas A&M University
Emily M. Agree, Johns Hopkins University

Life-course considerations, such as marriage, divorce, or childbearing, are critical for understanding an individual’s decision to migrate. This paper uses data from the first wave of the Mexican Health and Aging Study (MHAS, 2001) to compare the timing of family formation (union formation and fertility) among older Mexicans with and without previous migration experience to the United States. It also looks at the effect that the timing of these life course transitions has on the timing of the first trip to the United States. The statistical approach includes descriptive tables and non-parametric survival curves, as well as latent class growth analysis to model these different pathways of family formation. Results confirm a delay in first union and fertility among migrant men and women when migration occurs before family formation. While men are able to make-up for this delay, a disruptive effect was found in the fertility of return migrant women.

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Presented in Session 33: Family Transitions across the Life Course