Migradollars and Meat: Food Expenditures in Migrant-Sending Mexican Households

Claire Altman, Pennsylvania State University
Elizabeth H. Baker, Pennsylvania State University

Using the 2002 Mexican Family Life Survey, a nationally representative survey of individuals, households, and communities, we examined the relationship between exposure to migration (i.e., having relatives who are migrants) and monthly household food expenditures in 2,638 households. Using a series of OLS regression, we found that exposure to migration is associated with greater household expenditures on food each month. Additionally, migrant-sending households spend more on Westernized foods like animal proteins and processed foods than other households in Mexico. Households with relatives in the US may be remitting money as well as dietary preferences or at least the purchasing power for changes in food behaviors. If the households that remained in Mexico eventually migrate to the US, they are likely to take their newly acquired food preferences with them to the US. As such, nutrition assimilation among Mexican immigrants may begin even prior to immigration to the US.

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Presented in Poster Session 4