A commitment to family remittances and the COVID-19 pandemic
Experiences of US migrants
By: Manuel Orozco and Kathryn Klaas
This report presents the findings of a survey carried out with more than 1,000 US immigrants from eight Latin American and Caribbean nationalities during the Covid19 pandemic. The study identifies critical aspects that shaped migrants’ experiences in 2020 and early 2021, and, more importantly, the determinants of continuing to send money back home in times of crisis.
It finds that people continued remitting despite having lost employment, working fewer hours, or being
affected by the spread of the virus. More specifically, we found that the likelihood of sending remittances
under these circumstances increased when people have children in their home country and have a stronger financial base.
One lesson learned from this period is that migrants were better prepared to face adverse situations, such as a crisis that results in economic lockdown. Moreover, the continuity with which migrants sent
money during 2020 and the increases already seen in the first quarter of 2021 provide more than an
opportunity, but rather an urgent chance to leverage these funds for economic recovery and modernization.
These remittances can be integrated into strategies for coping with the slow recovery from the pandemic and for investing in areas that modernize home countries’ economies while also addressing contexts that are typically conducive to large migration.