Remittances constitute a major economic force in Latin America and the Caribbean, where they are estimated to have grown 4% in 2014, reaching at least $62.3 billion in 2014. In light of this growth, remittance trends, such as growth above 7% for Mexico and changes in policy toward Cuba, have important implications for national development in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Many households in the region rely on remittances, along with a few other sources of income, to help cover expenses related to food, housing, education, and health. That remittances enable them to cover these important areas is no doubt positive. It is also important to consider how remittances can build prosperity among households and communities throughout the region. Part of the answer lies in access to usable, reliable, and affordable remittance and financial services.
Key findings of this report include:
- The 2014 growth in remittances to Latin American and the Caribbean was substantial but uneven: Mexico, along with most Central American and Caribbean countries, saw growth, while South American countries did not.
- Growth is driven by the improving US labor market, new migration patterns, and changes in migrants’ frequencies and methods of sending money home.
- 2015 will be impacted by growth in remittances from the US and re-establishment of higher migration flows. Spain’s economic growth will also play a relevant role. The impact of immigration and bilateral policies will gain importance in new ways.
At the end of the article, you will find country analyses for Cuba, Panama, Spain, and Mexico:
- The Cuban question: will remittances increase under the new status quo?
- Is Panama acting as a middle man?
- Will Spain’s remittances rebound in 2015?
- Mexico and its migration trends