Central American Migration: In Numbers

Photo of Honduran migrants Hencer Oliva / Adobe Stock / Enhanced license

On June 12, 2024, the Inter-American Dialogue released the presentation "Central American Migration: In Numbers" that contains research from Manuel Orozco, director of the Migration, Remittances, and Development program.

A panoramic view of migration from the sub-region, the presentation points to risk factors, determinants, and root causes of migration from Central America including an analysis of the different waves, the individual and local level factors, as well as the country’s system wide macroeconomic, social, political, and environmental realities.

Both common denominators and country-differentiated risk factors exist at a given time.

For example, working in agriculture and the informal economy increases the intention to migrate by 1.5 times more than those in other occupations — 80 percent or more of the labor force works in those occupations. That has been a common determinant over the past 20 years.

Being a working woman in the household today, increases the chances to migrate by 1.14 times. That was not the case pre-2019.

Similarly the likelihood to leave Nicaragua increases with the fear of the radicalization in that country by the Ortega regime.

The number of people that have left the region since 2019 every year are one percent of their population. One third includes now families and one in fifteen are unaccompanied minors.

Other key findings include:

  • The number of Central Americans living abroad has increased close to 20 percent of their homeland population
  • People applying for asylum are about five percent of border arrivals
  • Family remittances have become a key source of revenue in the economy, sustaining private sector consumption
  • US development assistance has been important to mitigating migration, however it needs to increase economic development support



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