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Abstract

Our main objective is to better understand how new residential patterns have reshaped patterns of poverty among America's growing Mexican-origin population. We use data from the Integrated Public Use Microdata Samples (IPUMS) to document recent changes in poverty rates among native-born and foreign-born Mexicans living in the Southwest and in new regions where many Mexican families have resettled. Our analysis focuses on how changing patterns of employment (e.g., in construction and food processing industries) have altered the risk of poverty among Mexican families and children. We demonstrate that the Mexican population dispersed widely throughout the United States during the 1990s. Perhaps surprisingly, Mexican workers, especially new immigrants, had much lower rates of poverty in the new destination regions and rural areas than their counterparts that remained in traditional areas of population concentration - the Southwest. As we show in this study, the dispersion of America's Mexican native-born and immigrant populations raises questions and hopes about their economic and political incorporation into American society.

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