Latin American immigrants living in the United States will send more than 45 billion US dollars to their relatives back home this year, a 10% increase over 2005, according to a report from the Inter-American Development Bank.
The total sum surpasses the amount the region receives in direct foreign investment and official development aid from international donors.
A third of the remittances go to Mexico, making it the country’s second largest source of income after oil. Another 15 billion is sent home by Latin Americans living in countries other than the United States, the report says.
Brazilians should send US$ 7 billion. The amount is the largest one in South America, but only half of what Mexicans are expected to send back to their homeland.
The 45 billion that Latin American immigrants will have sent home by the end of 2006 – more than 50% higher than the figure was just two years ago – will keep food on the tables of millions of their relatives, help pay the rent and in some cases, will keep entire families afloat.
The study, based on a telephone survey of immigrants, also demonstrates that the majority of those polled find life in the US a great deal more lucrative than the life they left behind.
Most of those surveyed said that while they did not have full-time jobs back home, they found one within a month of moving to the US, with 38% finding a job in less than two weeks.
The average salary for their first job, according to the study, was US$ 900 a month, about six times more than what the majority said they could expect to earn in their home countries.