Family remittances to 17 Latin American and the Caribbean countries grew over 8% from 2016 to 2017, reaching US$75 billion. This increase is substantial and far exceeds the World Bank’s forecasted 1.2% economic growth for the entire region. In terms of scale, remittance growth has been nearly as large as export growth (9%) in 2017.

Growth in remittances is being driven predominantly by migration patterns in countries such as Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and Colombia, which represent 45% of flows in remittances and experienced growth of over 10% last year. In fact, for Central America and the Caribbean, the projected 3.5% economic growth for these countries is due largely to the combined 15% increase in remittances.

Other drivers of remittance growth include the continued demand for foreign labor in the United States economy, and to a lesser extent the dollar devaluations in countries like Mexico, the Dominican Republic, and Costa Rica.

Table: Remittances to Latin America and the Caribbean, 2017 growth (US$,000,000)

Country

Remittance inflows

Percentage Growth

 

Remittances as Percentage of GDP

 

2015

2016

2017 est.

2016

mmmm2017

Bolivia

1,178

1,204

1,278

2%

6%

3.6%

Brazil

2,175

2,365

2,285

9%

-3%

0.1%

Colombia

4,635

4,859

5,579

5%

15%

1.9%

Costa Rica

517

515

530

0%

3%

0.1%

Dominican Republic

4,963

5,261

5,895

6%

12%

7.8%

Ecuador

2,378

2,602

2,721

9%

5%

2.8%

El Salvador

4,284

4,576

5,021*

7%

10%

18.3%

Guatemala

6,285

7,160

8,192*

14%

14%

11.5%

Haiti

2,195

2358.65

2,722*

7%

15%

33.6%

Honduras

3,651

3,847

4,331

5%

13%

19.5%

Jamaica

2,226

2,287

2,374

3%

4%

16.7%

Mexico

24,771

26,993

28,630

9%

6%

2.7%

Nicaragua

1,193

1,264

1,409

6%

11%

10.2%

Panama

473

426

442

-10%

4%

0.8%

Paraguay

461

547

582

19%

6%

2.0%

Peru

2,719

2,884

3,061

6%

6%

1.6%

Selected countries

64,106

69,149

75,052

7.87%

8.54%

1.9%

Source: Central banks data and INEC for Panama data. Est. are author’s estimates, except *: Central Bank data. Growth is 8.7% excluding Brazil. GDP calculations based on World Bank Data.