The current and sustained political instability in Nicaragua paints a worrisome picture. As a result, migration to Costa Rica, and likely to other countries, has grown significantly. Some of these migrants are fleeing from violence, which makes their situation more vulnerable. Costa Rica is quoted to have received over 30,000 refugee relief requests from Nicaraguans in 2018. Cross border migration since the crisis shows that at least 40,000 Nicaraguans will have entered Costa Rica at the end of 2018.
Nicaraguan migration has been shaped by an array of political and economic factors that, over time, have produced sizable populations of Nicaraguans living in countries such as the United States and Costa Rica.
Although there are more Nicaraguan migrants in Costa Rica, a larger volume of remittances come from the U.S. Moreover, increases from Spain have been significant in the past couple of years. The Costa Rica-Nicaragua remittance corridor remains one of the most important south-to-south corridors in the Americas, and accounts for over 50% of all remittance flows between Central American countries.
The economic impact of Nicaraguan migration on Nicaragua’s economy is not only substantive but it has worked as a cushion for a country that has not introduced reforms to modernize its economy, which continues to be largely informal or agriculture based.