The Mexican population in the United States reached the number of 35,709,528 in 2017 representing 11.1 percent of the total population of the United States and 62.2 percent of the Hispanic population in the country (U.S. Census Bureau, 2017a). This growth was mostly represented by those born in the United States, which accounted for 68.6 percent of the total Mexican population (Migration Policy Institute, 2017). The Mexican foreign-born population has declined since its highest point in 2014. However, even with such decline, Mexicans represented the largest foreign-born group in the country in 2017 with a population of 11,513,528, which accounted for over 25 percent of the 43 million immigrants in the United States (U.S. Census Bureau, 2017). What is interesting is that despite Mexicans continue to be the largest immigrant group in the country, little is known about their contribution in their communities and neighborhoods in New York City.

The recent decline of Mexican immigrants appears to be the result of many factors, including the change of migration patterns, the long-term drop in Mexico’s birth rates, the decline of job opportunities in the U.S., the increase of border and immigration enforcement, and the rise of deportations (Passel, Cohn & Gonzalez-Becerra, 2012). In the state of New York, the overall Mexican population reached the number of 478,850 in the year 2017 (U.S. Census Bureau, 2017a). However, following the trends of the country, from this group, the population born in Mexico declined from 237,779 in 2010 to 232,937 in 2017 (U.S. Bureau, 2017b). This unprecedented change might be the result of the factors mentioned above but also other factors should be taken into account.

Most of the Mexican population of the state of New York is concentrated in New York City, particularly in ethnic enclaves located in Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx, which have been facing housing market pressures and gentrification over the last decade. This project aims to understand the livelihoods and housing conditions of Mexican immigrants who have been long-term residents of Brooklyn, the borough with the largest concentration of Mexicans in New York City. Through fieldwork and interviews with Mexican community leaders and long-term residents, this study intends to understand the way Mexican immigrants have contributed to and form a sense of community in their neighborhoods, as well as the challenges they have faced in recent years as a result of the urban transformations of Brooklyn. The information shared by the participants will shed light on the way the Mexican community has settled down, grown, and transformed certain neighborhoods of Brooklyn. 


Principal Investigator: Gabriela Rendón, Assistant Professor of Urban Planning and Community Development.

Research Assistant: Jacqueline Castañeda Nuñez, MS Design and Urban Ecologies student.


Jeffrey S. Passel, D’Vera Cohn & Ana Gonzalez-Barrera (2012). Net Migration from Mexico Falls to Zero-and Perhaps Less, Pew Research Center. Washington, DC: Pew Research Center, April 23, 2012. Available online. 

Jie Zong & Jeanne Batalova (2018). Mexican Immigrants in the United States. Washington, DC: Migration Policy Institute, October 11, 2018. Available online. 

Migration Policy Institute (2017). Mexican-born Population over Time: 1850-Present. Washington, DC: Migration Policy Institute. Available online.

U.S. Census Bureau (2017a). Demographic and Housing Estimates 2013-2017 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates.

U.S. Census Bureau (2017b). Selected Characteristics of the Foreign-Born Population by Region of Birth: Latin America. 2013-2017, American Community Survey, 5-Year Estimates.