Migration, Remittances and Development

Photo: Mariana Calvo

To understand the dynamics of Guatemalan migration, several indicators must be taken into account. Overall, 

  • Violence is a proxy for the presence of crime networks operating underground economies based on an ecosystem of extortion, gang violence, intimidation, political harassment, kidnapping, and trafficking. The opportunity costs to operate criminal activity are profitable.

  • Poverty does not drive migration, but there are development related links that are lacking or not offering the opportunities for a modern society. 

  • Human Development Index in the region is in the middle, but offers mediocre indicators (per capita income below 400 per month, education of 6 years, low life expectancy, etc.). 

    These indicators need to be unpacked to reveal greater realities, such as the obsolete nature of the agro-export model, the existing inequalities and informality. Migration is also connected to labor market integration with the United States. People migrating are also following foreign labor demands in the United States in construction, agriculture, domestic work and other services in the hospitality industry. 

This document offers an introduction to the migration dynamics in Guatemala and proposes an approach to leverage opportunities.