Migrant workers sending more money home

Migrant farm workers from Mexico finish a long day of harvesting organic vegetables at Grant Family Farms on September 3, 2010 in Wellington, Colo.

Migrant workers have managed to keep sending cash back to their home countries, in spite of the tough economy.

Cash remittances to Latin America and the Caribbean countries were up 8 percent from 2010 to 2011. That’s according to the Inter-American Dialogue, a Washington think tank. It says remittances are now almost  back to pre-recession levels.

Why? Unemployment among foreign–born workers in the U.S. is down 2 percent. And the workers who are here tend to be more established. 

"We’re not just talking about people who are nannies, or doing maintenance work or things like that," says Marc Chandler, head of currency strategy at Brown Brothers, Harriman. "We’re talking about people who are already embedded into society."

The Inter-American Dialogue says half of all migrant workers are women; they’re more likely to send money home than men.

Plus technology has made it easier than ever to get money back to home countries. Natural disasters in Mexico and other Central American countries have made migrants even more generous. There's at least one major disaster in Mexico and Central America every year.

 

About the author

Nancy Marshall-Genzer is a senior reporter for Marketplace based in Washington, D.C. covering daily news.

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