According to the report, roughly 2,500 Mexicans used violence as the basis for an appeal for asylum in the U.S. in 2008, an almost 50-fold increase from 2006, when President Felipe Calderon took office. Other reports differ with regard to the size of the increase -- Global Post says that more than 2,600 requested asylum as early as 2006 -- but most sources suggest that several thousand people are requesting asylum annually. Additionally, many thousands more are using alternative means of entry into the U.S. to escape the violence, from tourist visas to legal residencies for investors.
The report focuses primarily on the challenge coming from those looking to escape Mexico for the U.S., but outbreaks in drug violence have also spurred migration within Mexico. In all, the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) estimates that 230,000 Mexicans qualify as displaced.
Of course, it can be difficult to distinguish between forcible displacement and voluntary migration, and some studies offer a more worrying picture. According to data provided by Inegi, Mexico’s statistical agency, in 2010, the population in the embattled northern city of Juarez declined from 1.3 million to roughly 1 million in just two years. Another study released around the same time from the Autonomous University of Ciudad Juarez (UACJ, for its initials in Spanish) estimated the size of the population loss at 500,000. According to a further study by UACJ, 33,000 homes in the city are unoccupied.