Where are the Latinos who have left their country?

More than half are in the US and those who travel to rich countries tend to be more educated

Where are the Latinos who have left their country?

There are 37.7 million people from Latin America and the Caribbean who have left their country of origin. Some move to countries in the same region, but many seek better opportunities traveling longer distances. Nearly 20 million Latinos have arrived in the United States and other popular destinations are Spain (2 million), Canada (430,000), Germany (200,000), the United Kingdom (200,000), and Australia (200,000).

Leer en español: ¿Dónde están los latinos que se han ido de su país?

The United States is by far the country with the largest immigrant population worldwide. More than 43 million people living there were born in another country and about half are Latin Americans. Although there is no precise data on the occupation of Latinos, in general, immigrants in the United States are found in all sectors of the economy, and according to a study by the Pew Research Center, the sectors in which most immigrants work are domestic jobs, textiles and clothing, accommodation, and agriculture. In the first three, the number of legal immigrants is greater, while in agriculture there are more undocumented immigrant workers than legal workers. The same study indicates that some of the occupations with the highest proportion of immigrants are those related to beauty and personal care, such as manicurists and stylists, fruit and vegetable processors, masons and sewing machine operators.

On the other hand, a study by the University of the City of New York reveals that, among Latin American immigrants, Colombians and Ecuadorians have had the best economic conditions when analyzing a period of 20 years. The study compared only the majority groups of Latino immigrants according to the US census, that is, Colombians, Ecuadorians, Dominicans, Puerto Ricans, and Mexicans. The latter is the largest group since 97% of Mexicans living outside of their country (more than 12 million in total) are in the United States (more than 11.5 million).

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Apart from Mexico, Nicaragua, Uruguay, and Paraguay are the Latin American countries with the highest proportion of emigrants. According to data from the World Bank, the most prepared Nicaraguan migrants arrive in the United States, Panama and Spain, while the less qualified arrive in other countries of Central America and Mexico. It is estimated that about 20% of the population of Nicaragua lives abroad, which is equivalent to more than one million people. For its part, Uruguay has approximately 550,000 emigrants, of which the majority has gone to Argentina and Spain. These two countries are also the destination of the majority of Paraguayans who have left their country, followed by Brazil and the United States.


Also, a report by the OECD shows that the emigration rate of the most educated people is greater than that of the rest of the population, and there are also differences between immigrants arriving in OECD countries and those arriving in other countries considered less developed. Among Latinos who come to OECD nations, 37% have finished university studies, while only 10% of those who arrive in less industrialized countries have that level of education, according to the data in the report. That is, among those who arrive in North America, Europe and Australia there are more professionals than those who migrate to another Latin American country.

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Another important aspect of migration in the region is the exodus from Venezuela. In the last two years, the number of Venezuelan expatriates has increased from 89,000 to 900,000 people in Latin America, and from 700,000 to 1.5 million worldwide, according to figures from the International Organization for Migration (IOM). However, the firm Consultores 21 has indicated that there are probably more than 4 million Venezuelans living abroad. In any case, it is likely that Venezuelans continue to leave massively given the political and economic situation of the country. The main destinations of those who remain in Latin America are Colombia, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Ecuador, Peru and Uruguay.

The quality of life of immigrants varies depending on their place of origin, age, gender, education, family connections they have in the place of destination, their legal status, among other things. According to the most recent Global Happiness Report, the countries with the happiest immigrants are not necessarily the richest but those that tend to offer a balanced lifestyle and social services. Australia, Canada, Mexico, the United States, Costa Rica, and the United Kingdom, some of the popular destinations for Latin Americans, are among the countries where immigrants are happiest, but at the end of the day, each migrant has his or her own story and Different experience depending on your particular conditions.


Latin American Post | Paula Bautista
Copy edited by Marcela Peñaloza

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