Demographic growth in Mexico slowed dramatically from 3.5 percent annual growth in 1965 to 0.89 in 2006. Mexican women are having far fewer children. The total fertility rate declined from 7.2 in 1960 to 2.3 in 2003. The National Population Council estimates that the rate of growth of the working age population (ages 15-59) is slowing and that it will begin to shrink in 2027. Nevertheless, a quarter of the working age population remains underemployed.
US policies towards Mexican immigration
The two major presumptive American presidential candidates, Senators Barack Obama (Democrat-Illinois) and John McCain (Republican-Arizona) have similar stances on immigration policy. McCain was one of the sponsors of the failed 2007 comprehensive reform bill, which was also supported by Obama. The major difference between the candidates is that during the 2008 Republican primary campaign, McCain moved toward the right by emphasizing increased border enforcement before a legalization program or increase in temporary migrants would be put into place. McCain has been a strong supporter of NAFTA, whereas Obama criticized the agreement while campaigning in northern industrial states where many workers feel that they have been hurt by competition with Mexico. Obama has pledged that if he is elected, he will try to negotiate bilateral labor and environmental side agreements to NAFTA. While any changes to NAFTA could only take place with Mexico´s cooperation, history indicates that the Mexican government´s role in managing emigration will continue to be primarily reactive to U.S. policy.