Author: Manuel Orozco
Full Citation: Orozco, M. (2018) ￼Central American Migration: Current Changes and Development Implications. Washington, DC: Inter-American Dialogue.
The number of Central American migrants in the United States has nearly doubled from 2000 to present, but the trend changed from 2009 onwards. Though migration has continued, it has done so at a declining rate. Overall growth in the migrant population in the United States has been offset by large numbers of deportations. These declining rates of migration will have a number of impacts for both the United States and for migrant sending countries. Slowing migration, increased deportations and the likely return of some TPS holders may result in higher unemployment, lower remittances, and increases in the size of the informal economy in Central America. Therefore, it is essential to invest in increasing productivity and reducing the informal economy, as well as to leveraging resources in the financial sector and savings from remittances. This article analyzes recent trends in Central American migration, starting with a brief historical context and moving on to current developments. It considers geographical divisions, reasons for migrating, and growth in the overall migrant population. Finally, it considers implications of these current trends for Central American countries.