Poverty and violence push 378,000 Central Americans to the north every year-a global problem

Joint report issued by the World Food Programme (World Food Program), the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) and the Citizen Data Design Laboratory of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) also show that high costs have been paid in terms of human and economic costs, including $2.2 billion in regular and irregular travel each year.


The publication comes from a unique survey of thousands of Central American families in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

The report shows that in just two years, The number of people considering international immigration has increased by more than 50% off, Jumping from 8% in 2019 to 43% in 2021.

However, only 3% had a specific plan. Family separation and the high costs associated with immigration are considered deterrents.

An migrant sits in a caravan in Honduras, near the border between Corinto and Guatemala.

© World Food Program/Julian Frank

An migrant sits in a caravan in Honduras, near the border between Corinto and Guatemala.

It is said that most immigrants (55%) hire a smuggler at an average cost of US$7,500 per person, while the cost of going through legal channels is US$4,500.

For 89% of people, the United States is their destination country.

Since many families prefer to stay at home, World Food ProgramThe plan supports sustainable livelihoods and provides people with hope and opportunities in their villages.

“But we need new funding to help millions of people who plan to leave without them getting help soon,” said David Beasley, executive director of the World Food Program.


According to reports, People who are food insecure are three times more likely to make specific migration plans than people who are not.

Due to the economic impact of Central America, food insecurity has risen sharply. Coronavirus disease Epidemics and poverty continue to make it more difficult for families to feed themselves.

As of last month, the World Food Program estimated that the number of food-insecure people in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras had tripled, from 2.2 million in 2019 to 6.4 million.

Migration flows are also affected by violence and insecurity and climate-related shocks, such as severe droughts in the Central American Dry Corridor and more frequent and stronger storms in the Atlantic Ocean.

Families of immigrants from Honduras walk to the border with Guatemala.

© World Food Program/Julian Frank

Families of immigrants from Honduras walk to the border with Guatemala.

Resolve the root cause

The report also presented a blueprint for governments to deal with this problem.

Expanding the national social protection plan will help alleviate poverty and eliminate hunger among high-risk groups.

For example, cash-based transfers are the lifeline of those in need, enabling families to meet their basic needs. The school feeding program also supports local agriculture and saves money for poor families.

The report recommends economic development and investment initiatives tailored to the needs of the community, including agricultural programs aimed at building resilience to climate shocks, diversifying crops, and promoting production and employment training programs for young people and women in rural and urban areas.

Another suggestion is to encourage diasporas to invest in public projects in local communities.

The report also recommends that the United States and other immigrant destination countries expand legal channels for Central Americans, such as increasing their chances of obtaining temporary work visas.


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