March 26, 2009

Immigrants Sending Less Money Home

Fewer hard-earned dollars are going to families in developing nations these days, as their immigrant relatives working abroad feel the pinch from the deepening recession.

An Inter-American Development Bank study released in March showed remittances to Latin America from the United States at just over $69 billion in 2008 — nearly the same as in 2007.

Yet the latest figures show as much as a 13 percent drop for some countries in January 2009, compared to the same period last year.

Overall, 70 percent of Hispanic immigrants in the United States sent less money home last year, according to the Pew Hispanic Center.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Bangladesh, too, had a ten percent drop in remittances between January and February.

A drop in remittances doesn’t just affect individual families, it also impacts the economies of immigrants’ home countries.

In Mexico, remittances are second only to oil as a revenue source. They account for 17 percent of the GDP in El Salvador and 11 percent in Guatemala, with similar numbers throughout the region.

And Senegal gets as much as $2 billion annually from it citizens working abroad, reports the BBC.

At $200 billion, World Bank study found that in 2005 remittances sent home by economic migrants were worth twice as much as international aid.

Now the bank is estimating that remittances could drop by as much as 5 to 8 percent overall in 2009.

This comes at a time when developing nations are facing potential cuts in the international aid they receive.

–Ronnie Lovler/Newsdesk.org

Sources:

“Remittances El Salvador fall 8.4 percent”
EFE (Spain), March 4, 2009

“Remittances fall in Bangladesh form US, EU in February”
All Headline News

“Mexican government adopts emergency measures to tackle economic crisis”
Xinhau (Chinese government), March 20, 2009

“Migrant workers sending less money to Latin America”
Wall Street Journal, March 17, 2009

“The poorest nations need help in this crisis”
Wall Street Journal, March 23, 2009

“W.Bank sees fall in 2009 remittances to poor nations”
Reuters, March 24, 2009

“Central America: Remittances Slowdown begins to hit home”
Euromoney, March 2009

“Senegal’s lifeblood drains away”
BBC, March 10, 2009

“Hispanics and the Economic Downturn: Housing Woes and Remittance Cuts”
Pew Hispanic Center, January 8, 2009

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