Filiz Garip: On the Move: The Changing Mechanisms of Mexico-U.S. Migration


Monday, February 22, 2016, 12:00pm to 1:45pm


Harvard Kennedy School: Allison Dining Room

Filiz Garip, Associate Professor of Sociology, Harvard University.

Why do Mexicans migrate to the United States? Is there a typical Mexican migrant? Beginning in the 1970s, survey data indicated that the average migrant was a young, unmarried man who was poor, undereducated, and in search of better employment opportunities. This is the general view that most Americans still hold of immigrants from Mexico.

On the Move (forthcoming from Princeton University Press) argues that not only does this view of Mexican migrants reinforce the stereotype of their undesirability, but it also fails to capture the true diversity of migrants from Mexico and their evolving migration patterns over time.

Using survey data from over 145,000 Mexicans and in-depth interviews with nearly 140 Mexican families, the book reveals a more accurate picture of Mexico-U.S. migration. In the last fifty years there have been four primary waves: a male-dominated migration from rural areas in the 1960s and ‘70s, a second migration of young men from socioeconomically more well-off families during the 1980s, a migration of women joining spouses already in the United States in the late 1980s and ‘90s, and a generation of more educated, urban migrants in the late 1990s and early 2000s. For each of these four stages, the book examines the changing variety of reasons for why people migrate and migrants’ perceptions of their opportunities in Mexico and the United States.

Looking at Mexico-U.S. migration during the last half century, On the Move uncovers the vast mechanisms underlying the flow of people moving between nations.

About the speaker

Fillip Garip is Associate Professor of Sociology at Harvard University. Garip’s research lies at the intersection of migration, economic sociology and inequality. She studies the mechanisms that enable or constrain mobility and lead to greater or lesser degrees of social and economic inequality. 

She is currently working on a book, On the Move: Changing Mechanisms of Mexico-U.S. Migration (forthcoming from Princeton University Press), which will be the focus of her seminar presentation. Garip received her Ph.D. in Sociology and M.S.E in Operations Research & Financial Engineering both from Princeton University. She holds a B.Sc. in Industrial Engineering from Bogazici University, Istanbul.

Garip received the Harold W. Dodds Honorific Fellowship at Princeton, and was part of the Woodrow Wilson Society of Fellows. At Harvard, she has taught courses on migration and economic sociology, and has won the George Kahrl Excellence in Teaching Award from the Department of Sociology.

 She is currently affiliated with the Weatherhead Center for International AffairsDavid Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, and the Inequality and Social Policy Program at Harvard. She is also the director of academic programming for the Undergraduate Research Scholars program at the Institute of Quantitative Social Science at Harvard. She serves as a consulting editor for the American Journal of Sociology.

Garip collaborates with scholars in different fields including political science, computer science and statistics.

Learn more: Filiz Garip's website


See also: Spring 2016