Migrants and the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Remittances

Findings on how the pandemic will affect migrants' ability to remit
Woman's hand against a wall. Photo by Dominic Chavez, World Bank.

This analysis by the Migration, Remittances and Development Program at the Inter-American Dialogue offers a glimpse of the potential impact of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic on US immigrants and family remittances.

This pandemic will have particular consequences for those who are financially vulnerable and have underlying health risks. Even though this pandemic tends to be more dangerous for older adults, migrants (who are typically far younger than this high-risk age-group) will likely still be disproportionally affected.

Major findings include:

  • 35 percent of migrants in the US earn less than $20,000 and 15 percent earn over $50,000.
  • 20 percent of all migrants are uninsured. Among the unauthorized population and non-citizens, this number is even higher.
  • Half of the migrants in a 2013 Inter-American Dialogue (IAD) study reported that they would self-medicate without seeking medical attention.
  • Following the 2009 crisis, migrants’ capacity to send money to relatives dropped by at least 10 percent during the 2009 financial crisis, which had an eight percent increase in the unemployment rate within 18 months.
  • In 2020, 35 percent of migrants will send five percent less than they would have prior to the pandemic.

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