Net migration from Mexico, mainly to the United States, plunged by more than 50 percent in late 2008 compared to a year earlier as fewer Mexicans left their country in search of work, the government said Thursday. Mexican officials attributed the sharp drop to tough economic conditions abroad amid a global crisis causing Mexicans to stay at home, rather than Mexicans in other countries returning to their homeland. "There is declining tendency of people going abroad, but we have not detected, up to now, any increase in people returning to the country," said the Eduardo Sojo, president of Mexico's National Statistics, Geography and Information Institute. Sojo said the net outflow of Mexicans - either legally or illegally - was 455,000 between August 2006 and August 2007, the figure dropped to 204,000 people between August 2007 and the same month of 2008. While the number of returning Mexicans stayed largely the same - 478,000 in the 2007 period as compared to about 450,000 by late 2008 - the number leaving fell from 933,000 to 654,000.