Can IPUMS identify International Workers?

I’d like to know if IPUMS allows me to estimate the total number of workers that live in Mexico (or internationally) but commute into the US for work. I know there’s data to kind of get an answer for that by looking at nativiity status, labor force states, and place of birth but this doesn’t tell me how many workers commute into the US for work.

The main question I’m trying to answer is “How many workers commute into San Diego County (CA) that live in Mexico?”

Any help is appreciated!

The US decennial census as well as American Community Survey (ACS) and Current Population Survey (CPS) data that IPUMS harmonizes sample respondents at their US residence. None of these sources include people who travel into the US for work and go back to their home in a different country at the end of the day. They do include temporary migrant workers who live and sleep for a period of time in the US, though the criteria for inclusion differs somewhat between these sources. For example, you might use the ACS variables EMPSTAT (employment stratus), STATEFIP (State), COUNTYFIP (County), YRSUSA1 (years in the United States), MIGPLAC1 (state or country of residence 1 year ago), and BPL (birthplace) to identify respondents who were born in Mexico, recently moved to San Diego County, and are currently working.

The Mexico 2010 & 2015 censuses available through IPUMS International do contain the variable PWRKMX (state or country of work), which reports the country that a respondent worked in during the previous week. More specifically, the questionnaire text notes that it identifies in what municipality, state, or country “the business, company or place where [the respondent] worked last week [is] located”. However, this doesn’t record the US county that a respondent worked in. You might restrict your analysis to respondent households in Baja California using GEO1_MX or even households in border municipalities using GEO2_MX, but again this will not guarantee that the individual commuted to a particular county (i.e. San Diego County specifically).

With a bit of googling, I was able to find border crossing statistics from the Department of Transportation. This does not identify the number of commuters, but you can filter by the port of crossing as well as the vehicle type. I wish I could have been more helpful and I hope you are able to find the data that you are looking for.

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