Nearshore Americas

Report: 28.5 Million Latin Americans Live Abroad, Mostly in the US

About 28.5 million natives of Latin Americans and the Caribbean are not living in their homeland, while 70 % of them are in the United States, according to a study by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).  

The report notes that emigration to destinations outside the region declined between 2000 and 2010, but inter-regional migration intensified.

These emigrants represent 4% of the region’s total population, exceeding the 26 million emigrants registered in censuses from the year 2000. When it comes to emigration, Mexicans far outnumber other Latin Americans.

Out of 28.5 million emigrants, 11.8 million come from Mexico (40 % of the total). Colombia lags far behind with 2 million emigrants and El Salvador with 1.3 million.

The United States ranks as the number one destination. It is home to 20.8 million Latin American and Caribbean emigrants (70% of the total), including nearly all of the 12 million Mexicans who live outside their country.

Spain is the second most-common destination with 2.4 million (8%) emigrants from the region.

Meanwhile, the immigrant population living in the LAC region is estimated at 7.6 million people, equivalent to just 1.1% of the region’s total. Of those, the majority were born in other countries in the same region.

The study emphasizes that migratory flows within the region rose at an annual rate of nearly 3.5% between 2000 and 2010. Argentina, Venezuela, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic concentrated the greatest numbers of these people.

The number of immigrants who were born outside the region fell between 2000 and 2010 in Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador and Uruguay, which indicates that in those cases the arrival of immigrants did not compensate for the mortality rate or that group’s re-emigration.

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In contrast, the presence of immigrants from outside LAC increased countries such as the Dominican Republic (11.3%), Bolivia (7.4%), Mexico (7.1%) and Panama (6.2%).

Had it not been for the economic crisis, more Spaniards may have migrated to Latin America, the report said, “but it was still a far cry from the high rate of Latin American and Caribbean emigration to Europe.” The report largely relies on census data of 10 countries in the region.

Narayan Ammachchi

News Editor for Nearshore Americas, Narayan Ammachchi is a career journalist with a decade of experience in politics and international business. He works out of his base in the Indian Silicon City of Bangalore.

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