Central America: Violence and Migration in Central America / Americas Barometer Insights: 2014 / Number 101

 Over the past decade, much of Central America has been devastated by alarming increases in crime and violence. For most of this timeframe, migration from many of these same countries to the United States increased as well, at least until the 2008 financial crisis deflated migration numbers. In the following Insights report, we examine the possible relationship between high levels of violence and Central Americans’ migration intentions. Though conventional views of the motivations behind migration tend to highlight economic and familial factors as the principal causes of migration, we find that crime victimization and perceptions of insecurity among Central Americans also play a significant role in determining the extent to which an individual considers migration as a viable strategy. Nonetheless, in the face of consistently high levels of crime and violence, perceptions of insecurity among Central Americans over the past ten years have been declining, suggesting perhaps a populace that has become accustomed to a high crime context and thus one less inclined to let crime influence future migration patterns.  SEE MORE…

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