Report: Record 33.7 million Mexican-origin people in U.S. in 2012

Washington, May 1 (EFE).- Mexicans and Mexican-Americans, who comprise about 64 percent of the Hispanic population in the United States, reached a record 33.7 million in this country in 2012, according to a report released Wednesday by the Pew Hispanic Center.

The study, based on U.S. Census data, said that the 33.7 million figure includes 11.4 million Mexicans who have emigrated from Mexico and 22.3 million people of Mexican origin who were born in the United States.

People of Mexican origin comprise 11 percent of the U.S. population.

The report said that the number of Mexicans and Mexican-Americans in the country has increased drastically over the past four decades, a population flow that has amounted to one of the most massive migrations in modern history.

By way of comparison, although in 1970 less than 1 million Mexicans were living in the United States, by 2007 that figure had reached its high point of 12.5 million.

Since 2007, however, the number of Mexicans here has declined because immigration from Mexico has slowed "significantly," the center said.

Currently, 35 percent of Hispanics of Mexican origin in the United States were born in Mexico but the remainder were born in this country, and of those, 52 percent have at least one immigrant parent.

Prior to the 1980s, the growth in the Mexican-origin population in the United States came mainly from Mexicans who were born in this country, but between 1980 and 2000, that growth came mainly from immigration from Mexico.

The trend, in any case, reversed again between 2000 and 2010, a period during which the number of Mexican-origin births in the United States exceeded immigration as the main contribution to the group's population growth, the study said.

The report added that the 11.4 million Mexicans living in the United States comprise the largest group of first-generation immigrants in this nation, which has a total of 40 million people who were born abroad.

After Mexicans, the Chinese make up the next-largest group of foreigners, with a total of 2 million people, the study said.

Mexican immigrants, in addition, make up more than 55 percent of the undocumented population in the country, which is calculated to be about 11 million people.

The report was released as the U.S. Congress is studying a comprehensive immigration reform package that would open a route to legalization and potential citizenship for undocumented foreigners living here.

Immigration reform is of great interest to the countries of Latin America and is certain to be one of the issues President Barack Obama will discuss on his upcoming visit to Mexico and Costa Rica.