Some Central American counties depend on remittances

As reported by the Wall Street Journal, Remittances, mainly from the U.S., are vital to millions of Latin American households, reaching a record $80 billion last year, according to the World Bank. While more than a third of that went to Mexico, the smaller Central American countries of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, the so-called Northern Triangle, rely on remittances even more.

In Honduras and El Salvador, remittances account for nearly one-fifth of economic output, according to the World Bank. Cutting the migrant flow risks further economic deterioration that could spark even more migration, experts say.

Honduran immigrants in the U.S. totaled almost 600,000 in 2017, from 109,000 in 1990, according to the U.N.’s Statistics Division.

In Honduras, where two-thirds of the country’s nine million people live in poverty, about one in four families receive remittances, said Manuel Orozco, a migration expert at the Inter-American Dialogue, a Washington-based think tank. Last year, they received on average 16 transfers of $281 each, Mr. Orozco said.

The money transfers soared in 2017 as migrants fearful of deportation sent home more of their savings, according to the World Bank. In El Salvador, remittances rose nearly 10% to $5.1 billion, and in Honduras 12% to $4.3 billion. In Guatemala they rose 14% to $8.5 billion, or 12% of GDP.

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