Think Creative Spring 2022
Right: Creative’s study revealed that roughly one out of every three Salvadorans intended
to migrate the following year.
Nearly one-fifth of Salvadorans interviewed in 2020 who intended to
migrate were unemployed.
A study by Creative found economic insecurity to be a major driver of irregular migration from El Salvador. Building individual income and stability, particularly in the country’s capital city, can help reduce the need to leave, report the researchers. Economic insecurity remains at the heart of people’s decision to migrate fromEl Salvador. “For someone living without hope for a better economic future in their country— when faced with a violent outbreak like that of March 2022—migrating without a legal pathway becomes even more compelling.” says Mariellen Jewers, Ph.D., co-author of Creative’s study. She and lead author, Manuel Orozco, Ph.D., discovered that opening a formal bank account is one simple step that greatly reduces a person’s intention to migrate. Increasing high quality formal employment is another solution, the report said. “Increasing people’s savings in formal institutions, as opposed to holding money in cash, changes people’s decision-making frame away from putting resources toward irregular migration and toward wealth-building activities, such as property ownership,” Orozco While asset ownership, specifically owning property, decreased the intention to migrate fromEl Salvador in 2021, having savings outside a financial institution has the opposite effect, the study said. Migration is most likely to occur among those with some disposable income, but who do not have savings in financial institutions. The research explored Salvadorans’ migration intentions with broader trends and analysis about migration from the Central American country. Based on a phone survey of 718 Salva dorans, the questions coveredmigration, eco Photo by Janey Fugate (top); undefined undefined via istock.com and Jewers write in Creative’s study. Unbanked are likely to leave
Lack of economic opportunities, persistent unemployment and exposure to crimes that exacerbate economic insecurity are among the most common reasons cited for migration.
Increasing people’s savings in formal institutions, as opposed to holding money in cash, changes people’s decision-making...” - Economic Insecurity & Irregular Migration, 2021 “
nomic perspectives, socioeconomic background of the respondents and remittance receipts. The new report highlights that the lack of economic opportunities, persistent unemploy ment and exposure to crimes that exacerbate economic insecurity are among the most com monly cited reasons to migrate. El Salvador has a history of migration. From 1980 to 1990, up to a quarter of El Salvador’s population fled the country to escape their civil war. 1 Punctuated by natural disasters in 2001, El Salvador has experienced a steady outflow since 2000 and the vast majority reside in the United States. 2 Since 2019, San Salvador alone accounted for 18 percent of total emigration from the country. Creative’s survey found that 71 percent of Salvadorans had a relative living abroad, and roughly one out of every three Salvadorans
intended to migrate the following year. In tandemwith so many transnational Salvadoran families, remittances account for nearly a quarter of El Salvador’s GDP. Remittances play a key role The average remittance recipient receives $175 per transaction roughly nine times per year. These funds allow households to meet current needs and facilitate investment in education, housing, and nutrition, which improve individuals’ earning capacity over a lifetime. “Remittances are crucial for households in times of crisis, as research shows that remittances increase or remain consistent in economic downturn,” the report said. “Remittances are also a long-term source of income; Creative survey participants received remittances for an average of 6.75 years.”
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