Remittances Making a Difference
November 25, 2003
The ever-increasing U.S. immigrant population from Latin America will send a record $30 billion back to their homelands this year, according to a study by the Pew Hispanic Center and the Inter-American Development Bank.
The study is the first of its kind to look broadly at the phenomenon of remittances, or the money sent abroad by immigrants. It included a public opinion survey of more than 3,000 people each in Mexico, Central America and Ecuador.
According to the Pew and IDB study:
- The biggest stream of dollars comes from Mexican workers, which may reach $14.5 billion this year.
- Western Union and MoneyGram control about 70 percent of the wire transfer market, but conventional banks and credit unions and competing wire-transfer firms have cut into their market share.
- About 11 percent of senders say they used banks, but 17 percent say they used informal means, such as mail or individuals who carry the funds by hand.
- In Mexico, 33 percent of remittance-receivers reported having bank accounts, compared with 22 percent of the general population, the study found.
- Officially, Mexico's central bank reports that, through September, the flow of worker dollars amounted to nearly $10 billion; at that clip, the central bank tally should exceed $13 billion, a record level.
The flow of worker dollars to Latin America, the report notes, is an obvious outgrowth of migration to the United States that has been building momentum for a quarter century.
Source: Dianne Solís, "Immigrant cash flow spiraling: Latin American workers to send home a record $30 billion this year," Dallas Morning News, November 25, 2003; based on, Study, "Remittance Senders and Receivers: Tracking the Transnational Channels," Pew Hispanic Center, November 24, 2003.
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