Faculty Spotlight: Erin Hamilton
Professor of Sociology


Migration and health.

Poverty and Inequality Research

A major question that motivates Erin’s research is how inequality is generated and/or changed through migration and the policies that regulate migration. Erin has studied:

  • How social inequality in gender relates to different propensities for men and women to emigrate from Mexico;
  • How immigrants and their children in the United States “fit into” patterns of racial and ethnic inequality in health;
  • How major U.S. immigration policies, such as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), impact the socioeconomic wellbeing and health of immigrants.

Recent Work

Erin’s most recent publication (in Population and Development Review) was titled ‘U.S. Citizen Children De Facto Deported to Mexico’. 

The key finding was that one of every six U.S.-born children living in Mexico in the mid-2010s was de facto deported, meaning that they migrated to Mexico to accompany a deported parent.  

Current Projects

Erin is currently working on a study of the health of infants born to U.S.-born immigrants in Mexico with UC Davis Sociology Ph.D. student, Sara Alcay. 

In the study, Erin and Sara combine U.S. and Mexican birth records from 2015-2019 and compare the rates of low birthweight of infants born to four generations of women, defined by the mother’s place of birth and the location of the birth of the infant:

  • Mexican-born women birthing in Mexico;
  • U.S.-born women birthing in Mexico;
  • Mexican-born women birthing in the U.S.;
  • U.S.-born women (of Mexican origin) birthing in the U.S.

Low birthweight is a risk factor for infant and child morbidity and mortality and is a key indicator of population health in infancy.

They find that the rate of low birthweight is highest among infants born to U.S.-born women in Mexico in the binational population, suggesting a pattern of unhealthy migration to Mexico from the United States and/or disadvantage faced by U.S.-born women in Mexico.

How does Erin unwind?

“I like to take walks, garden, and watch movies.”

Read a policy brief by Erin Hamilton:
De Facto Deported Children in Mexico Face Socioeconomic Disadvantage


May 2024