Remittances to Latin America and the Caribbean in 2019: Emerging Challenges

Remittances to Latin America and the Caribbean in 2019. Remittance volume and growth. Political instability. Migration and development.

Family remittances to Latin America and the Caribbean grew by approximately eight percent in 2019 compared to 2018. This marks a slowing trend in remittance growth that began in 2017. The slowing growth is associated with remittances to Mexico having decelerated from 11.2 percent to 7 percent as well as from significant reductions from other important remittance recipient countries such as El Salvador, Haiti, and Colombia.

Nonetheless, remittances to the region totaled nearly US$100 billion and stand in contrast to the region’s slower economic growth of 0.6 percent.

Each year, the Migration, Remittances and Development Program at the Inter-American Dialogue analyzes remittance growth to the region as well as trends that impact how people send and receive money.

The data presented in this report draws from official sources, such as Central Banks, as well as original survey data with remittance senders and recipients.

Key findings on remittances to the region for 2019:

  • The slowing growth in remittances can be explained by several factors: the rise in migration from politically unstable countries, migrants sending more transfers more frequently, and restrictive immigration policies in the US, Mexico, and South America.
  • Despite lower growth, remittances contributed to preventing greater economic shocks from the regional slowdown.
  • Central America and the Caribbean have some of the highest levels of income dependency on remittances.
  • Venezuela, Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala are among the countries with the highest remittance growth for 2019. 
  • Although the volume of people migrating from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras has increased, the number of unauthorized border crossings that successful make it into the US has decreased.

Download the report here.


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