Social Security Contributions and Return Migration Among Older Mexican Immigrants

Published: 2015
Project ID: UM15-17


Previous literature has attempted to understand the effects of immigration on the Social Security system. To date, this research has been primarily limited to migrants in the U.S. and does not consider those who return to their countries of origin. Immigrants often pay OASDI taxes using illegitimate Social Security numbers and may return migrate without collecting Social Security benefits. However, as more migrants legalized under IRCA reach old age, it is important to understand the dynamics of return migration and U.S. Social Security. In this study, we will analyze the demographic characteristics, health, labor dynamics, and income sources of Mexican return migrants who contributed to the U.S. Social Security system as well as those who receive or expect to receive U.S. benefits during retirement. We will use the Mexican Health and Aging Study (MHAS), which is equivalent to the HRS, for 2012 and 2003, exploiting the cross-section and panel components, 17 and 26 years after the 1986 Immigration and Reform Control Act (IRCA).


Emma Aguila

Alma Vega