The debate on whether Mexican immigrants are positively or negatively selected on education has been limited by studying immigrants in data collected only from the sending or the destination country. Using nationally representative data from Mexico that tracked migrants to the United States prospectively, we examine the education selectivity of Mexicans who immigrated to the United States from 2002 to 2005. We find that using reports of migration by remaining household members and proxy substitution of migration education underestimates migrant selectivity. Migrant men and women were positively selected within households and rural municipalities of origin but negatively selected from the national educational distribution. Differences in selectivity by size of place, as well as when considering the local or national context, means that the answer of whether immigrants are positively or negatively selected on education depends on the context considered.
Published in a peer-reviewed journal of the Population Council.