San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Immigration statistics drop in last decade

Immigration to Costa Rica decreased significantly in the last decade, dropping from 7.5 percent growth in the period from 1984-2000 to just 2.4 percent in the last decade, according to a recent study by local and international organizations.

The study was presented last week by immigration and public security officials, and found that Nicaraguan and Panamanian nationals top the list of immigrants to Costa Rica, followed by Colombians.

The report found that most immigrants have limited education, reflected in their employment profile.

The study also noted an increase in emigration, mirrored by a boost in remittances sent to the country by Costa Ricans living abroad. Income from remittances to Costa Rica in 2010 totaled almost $527 million.

Immigration Assistant Director Freddy Montero said the study aims to help officials understand migration patterns “in order to identify areas where we can improve policies, to seek greater equity and social justice for this population.”

The report was carried out jointly by UNICEF, the International Organization for Migration, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the United Nations Population Fund, the Regional Center of Population at the University of Costa Rica and the Institute of Population Studies at National University.

Contact L. Arias at

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