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Emigration from the Americas

The analysis of out-migration from countries of the Americas in this year’s edition is based on a vastly improved coverage of outflows (see Box 2).

Box 2. An improved coverage of outflows from the Americas

The statistics used for the analysis of outflows in this year’s edition incorporate a number of changes. First of all, temporary migration to the Canada and the United States are covered for the first time. This is not inconsequential, because it accounts for almost 1.5 million movements from countries of the Americas over the period from 2009 to 2012, compared to 1.9 million for permanent migration to those countries for the same period. In addition, out-migration to other countries of the Americas is included, for the destination countries for which immigration data by nationality were compiled.[1] This also is significant, accounting for some 1.6 million movements over the period.

Thus the coverage of authorized migration from countries of the Americas to other countries within the region and to OECD countries outside the hemisphere is much more complete. There are of course still some omissions. Unauthorized migration is by definition excluded. In addition, for many European countries, not all short-term movements are not counted, because immigration statistics are often produced from entries into population registers and there is generally a minimum-stay criterion, which can be as long as a year in some countries, in order for an immigrant to be officially registered. Nevertheless the statistics presented here give a far more complete picture of out-migration from the Americas than has been available up to now.

The first thing to note is the scale of movements, almost 6.5 million, in the period from 2009 to 2012 (Table 5). This represents almost 7 persons per thousand population in the origin countries. For migration to the same destination countries, the rest of the world sends 4 persons per thousand population.

Table 5. Migration movements from the Americas to OECD countries and other countries of the Americas, permanent and temporary, 2009-2013

  ----------------------------------------------------------------------------Destination regions-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
  Canada and the United States Americas except for Canada and the United States OECD outside of Americas All destination countries Total outflow 2009-2012 as a % of the 2012 origin country population
  2009-2012 2012/2009 2009-2012 2012/2009 2009-2012 2012/2009 2009-2012 2012/2009  
Origin countries % of total outflow % change % of total outflow % change % of total outflow % change Total outflow % change  
Canada 35.246619961603 -9.1949817041296 11.407281329625 13.641709133673 53.346098708772 36.102095013278 197400 14.086972131221 0.56664884511954
United States 25.43218457813 10.399449035813 15.826712606909 27.299088649544 58.741102814961 -10.727330607868 802800 -0.29560767238622 0.2528405308402
Canada and the United States 27.369272468958 4.8086388449721 14.954443701253 25.097927723022 57.676283829789 -3.9111823739102 1000200 2.3929967617993 0.28386836331677
Antigua and Barbuda 84.833091436865 -14.97005988024 11.574746008708 66.233766233766 3.5921625544267 30.434782608696 2800 -5.46875 3.0942303158226
Bahamas 97.043385109802 -10.671112963735 1.7139796464917 27.272727272727 1.2426352437065 81.25 9300 -9.3940626270842 2.5096784600495
Barbados 96.205650459921 -7.8018575851393 0.77201051248357 -84.615384615385 3.0223390275953 52.777777777778 6100 -7.6923076923077 2.1495581189248
Cuba 70.127702195142 -14.249099306043 9.9393484127647 22.851196670135 19.932949392093 -6.8926014319809 215700 -9.7409820435404 1.9133956415591
Dominica 55.3606665205 -51.322115384615 6.3801797851348 466.66666666667 38.259153694365 4.6341463414634 4600 -23.380726698262 6.3626471737068
Dominican Republic 73.762091182593 -12.929212651049 5.4221649818228 170.21448806151 20.815743835584 0.012600012600017 293500 -4.0023335639763 2.8559873911863
Grenada 88.720636769559 -25.541125541126 8.9885459134149 51.515151515152 2.2908173170258 95.238095238095 5200 -18.791500664011 4.8832513295981
Guyana 70.116627941077 -19.904818560381 27.846330844368 -33.941058941059 2.0370412145548 31.052631578947 44300 -23.597110881816 5.5733879494926
Haiti 83.273121144233 2.7945569200133 5.7305857737771 255.44806517312 10.996293081989 19.741935483871 148600 18.386656816503 1.4610211057351
Jamaica 97.160231467037 -0.04548065875144 1.1290787823845 8.1589958158996 1.7106897505784 237.78280542986 169900 2.5084317032041 6.1349447315779
Saint Kitts and Nevis 92.755681818182 -1.8867924528302 7.2443181818182 35.897435897436 na na 2100 -15.015919456157 3.9414750671842
Saint Lucia 84.428442844284 0.28142589118199 9.1809180918092 46.354166666667 6.3906390639064 -13.291139240506 10000 -15.015919456157 5.5282799800962
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 82.254441494793 -20.072826581702 17.745558505207 -4.0511727078891 na na 9800 -15.015919456157 8.9546780283982
Suriname 13.582837822082 -7.6433121019108 0.93272706074385 37.5 85.484435117174 8.6627906976744 8600 -15.015919456157 1.6045541876114
Trinidad and Tobago 91.961617879266 -17.59190493873 5.9710919470424 20.461538461538 2.0672901736912 8.5427135678392 41200 -15.015919456157 3.0778973844788
Caribbean 79.200504766669 -8.7712625673721 6.8711671596994 30.902461257976 13.928328073632 3.7504209656186 971500 -4.6626103516728 2.5285398257554
Belize 81.214085752173 -15.4296875 14.33623102991 19.230769230769 4.4496832179166 122.64150943396 6800 -7.3455759599332 2.0943652410048
Costa Rica 71.449618113442 -9.3216896831844 12.367696661885 20.570570570571 16.182685224673 8.032955715757 25800 -3.7189452827313 0.53676205102913
El Salvador 82.878821519244 -15.789703315881 6.9803361295865 -7.0460704607046 10.14084235117 24.811273276296 103600 -12.171052631579 1.6449820354261
Guatemala 83.264981087 -3.1216209863194 11.353772645829 -36.508875739645 5.381246267171 -7.566765578635 100500 -7.6926035616754 0.66605533138971
Honduras 51.482176360225 13.406493947279 13.234660551734 -41.342756183746 35.283163088041 31.399317406143 72000 9.4834834834835 0.906708623126
Mexico 94.568952772322 2.3623631057927 1.4566870928713 46.781326781327 3.9743601348069 20.774826594485 1325700 3.5376043746663 1.0970423486789
Nicaragua 27.916731177953 -18.209932690558 51.105606148043 39.078365009112 20.977662674005 16.397153945666 71000 15.413926617909 1.1857504331385
Panama 64.878048780488 -23.049749779217 20.282705099778 -26.515151515152 14.839246119734 -8.5991678224688 18000 -21.74333204484 0.47445204602185
Central America 87.951347929496 0.52511269746001 5.3151841598774 10.438422965451 6.7334679106266 20.016016016016 1723400 2.1275673307518 1.0439476557673
Bolivia 4.405764753882 -32.05467372134 82.706938344493 37.851129183709 12.887296901625 -31.579376733562 333300 23.180579451694 3.1757521827961
Colombia 45.433479245585 -14.115165744757 27.602386202178 111.10174847272 26.964134552237 -35.30268106272 400500 2.3107476178364 0.83947974052806
Ecuador 38.085538480192 -15.249865018897 16.708799369525 12.942920681987 45.205662150283 -51.383488732022 165000 -30.620178338844 1.0647572233471
Peru 19.972174150468 -28.305090279818 60.644290882517 36.863604962004 19.383534967015 -45.627683269311 498100 1.3588991512731 1.6610021408706
Venezuela 52.124845502535 7.3042515908881 25.049381432581 51.199531889994 22.825773064883 -17.517144009681 173100 10.516352404912 0.5780112170404
Andean Region 28.610700636943 -14.6837836091 48.35872611465 45.616596516735 23.030573248408 -39.954358172906 1570000 2.8751102879609 1.1748370145616
Argentina 39.537337050712 -21.285236502628 29.387386029689 6.5414447247921 31.075276919599 -30.977820352222 146000 -17.232299590404 0.35529792724581
Brazil 44.366761803925 0.78635014836794 11.572028111525 94.90662139219 44.061210084549 -23.192816922843 521400 -3.4320883100196 0.26243956897173
Chile 40.070918351661 -21.326340119122 30.380110066922 0.88947024198822 29.548971581418 -9.8839590443686 97600 -11.65185552462 0.55870620780731
Paraguay 1.1480196381782 -17.732962447844 88.909481949152 44.854173650687 9.94249841267 -52.022226911444 447300 30.491767976351 6.6886175279008
Uruguay 23.830914826498 -21.73752310536 48.562776025237 8.7171377742637 27.606309148265 -8.8815789473684 39600 -3.8596815994076 1.167070613
Southern Cone 27.37614702351 -6.820337083495 43.920046460094 41.549529515243 28.703806516396 -26.798763756102 1251800 5.0161899026714 0.46833972404857
All above countries 51.821797857764 -4.2002294920089 24.22047775025 38.958073045297 23.957724391987 -17.415585074634 6466100 1.5470019259445 0.67582379370416
All other origin countries 37.419952482382 11.324093416972 1.5910876560168 24.263769837902 60.988959861602 12.282281544918 23398800 12.102985366882 0.38212729039056
All origin countries 40.538138236776 6.6932812309395 6.4906432326305 33.80389431502 52.971218530593 9.0188150494583 29864900 9.4539603506576 0.42181652531217

 

Half of the out-migration from countries of the Americas is to Canada and the United States, one quarter to the rest of the OECD outside the Americas and one quarter to other countries of the Americas. By contrast barely 2 percent of migration from other regions of the world is to countries of the Americas other than Canada and the United States.

Migration to Canada and the United States from other countries of the Americas has never really recovered from the effects of the 2008-2009 economic crises. In 2012 movements were at 4% below their 2009 level at the trough of the recession. Other OECD countries outside the Americas, especially in Europe, have seen a further drop of 17% in migration from countries of the Americas since 2009, a consequence of a further deterioration of economic conditions due to the budget crisis in Europe, which followed on the heels of the recession. However, migration to other countries of the Americas has taken up the slack, increasing by over 39% over the 2009-2012 period. Although the stagnation of movements to North America and other countries of the OECD outside the Americas may have something to do with the increase in movements within the Americas, the latter have also certainly been fostered by the liberalization of movements associated with the numerous regional trade agreements and their expanding membership.

The high rates of growth in outflows to the Americas are observed in all regions, especially the Caribbean, the Andean Region and the Southern Cone. The increase is less significant in Central America, where out-migration tends to be dominated by the movements of Mexicans who tend to go to the United States and where movements of Salvadorians, Guatemalans and Panamanians to other countries of the Americas have all declined by some 25% to 40% over the period.

Migration from the Caribbean to other countries of the Americas aside from Canada and the United States has increased the most, by 31%, but still accounts for only about 7% of total out-migration from this region. Nationals of Caribbean countries continue to go largely (79%) north, to Canada and the United States, although migration to these two countries has declined by 9% over the period.

Caribbeans have a particularly high out-migration rate, at 2.5% for the four years in question, with movements over the period representing the equivalent of some 5% to 6 % of the population in Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.[2] These are exceedingly high out-migration rates, but include temporary movements. Still out-migration has declined in all countries of the Caribbean over the 2009 to 2012 period, with only Haiti in particular and to a lesser extent Jamaica showing increasing expatriation. The increase in Haiti is almost certainly attributable to the hardships associated with the 2010 earthquake. 

It is as yet too early to tell if this increase in migration within the hemisphere outside of North America will maintain itself as economic conditions improve further in the United States and Europe, in particular Spain.  Higher wages and often more favorable living conditions in North America and Europe than in neighboring countries may be lures which are too difficult to resist for potential migrants looking to improve their lives and those of their families.



[1] These are Argentina, Barbados, Bolivia,  Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay.

[2] Some of the movements over the four years may be by the same persons.