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Close to Home: The Development Impact of Remittances in Latin America

For many immigrant families, sending money back to relatives and friends in their country or region of origin is an important part of ensuring their success, along with increasing the possibility that they may be able to bring over family members in the future. Examining these payments, sometimes referred to as remittances, is of interest to a number of international organizations and think-tanks. Recently, the World Bank published a long report which looks at the practice of sending remittances to Latin America and the Caribbean from migrant workers living abroad. The report notes that in 2005 migrant workers from these two regions sent a total of $48.3 billion back to their home countries, but they also observed that their impact on the region has, in some cases, been overestimated. The report also notes that some positive effects of remittances include “higher savings, better access to health and education…and reductions in poverty and social inequality.”
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