Across the United States some six million immigrants from Latin America now send money to their families back home on a regular basis. The number of senders and the sums they dispatched grew even when the U.S. economy slowed, and looking to the future, the growth seems likely to continue and potentially to accelerate. The total remittance flow from the United States to Latin America and the Caribbean could come close to $30 billion this year, making it by far the largest single remittance channel in the world.
As it continues to grow, the composition of the Hispanic population is undergoing a fundamental change: Births in the United States are outpacing immigration as the key source of growth. Over the next twenty years this will produce an important shift in the makeup of the Hispanic population with second-generation Latinos--the U.S.-born children of immigrants-- emerging as the largest component of that population. Given the very substantial differences in earnings, education, fluency in English, and attitudes between foreign-born and native-born Latinos, this shift has profound implications for many realms of public policy, and indeed for anyone seeking to understand the nature of demographic change in the United States.