Economics are a big factor in the U.S. migrant crisis. Here’s how immigration numbers and GDP compare in the Americas

February 11, 2023, 1:00 PM UTC
Nicolas Rapp

For many if not most immigrants, hopes for economic betterment are part of the calculus of relocation. Many Latin American economies were hit especially hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has helped fuel a surge in attempts at undocumented migration to the U.S. from those countries.

This map illustrates how much someone could theoretically boost his or her standard of living (as measured by per capita GDP) by crossing borders. But economics are only one factor in the hemisphere’s immigration dilemma: Political conflict in Nicaragua and Peru; gangs in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador; and systemic breakdown in Cuba and Venezuela are also driving people to leave their homes behind.

This article appears in the February/March 2023 issue of Fortune with the headline, “Economic exodus in the Americas.”

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