Central Americans surveyed this year said scarce economic opportunities were the main reason that they wanted to leave their homelands and head to another country, including the U.S., according to a report by the United Nations and other agencies released Tuesday. .
Over 90% of the Central Americans who told researchers they wished to migrate cited unemployment, low wages, lack of money to buy food and necessities and other economic reasons, according to the report, which was compiled by the United Nations World Food Programme, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Migration Policy Institute.
Smaller percentages of households in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador who participated in the study said they hoped to migrate to escape violence, reunite with family members living abroad and leave areas affected by natural disasters.
Beasley said the latest analysis, stemming from this report, shows that 6.4 million people in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador "face crisis levels of hunger, or worse." .
The report's findings stem from interviews this spring with nearly 5,000 households across 12 departments in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, which are collectively known as Central America's "Northern Triangle." .
An estimated annual average of 378,000 Central Americans have immigrated to the United States from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala over the past five years, according to the joint report.
For example, in Cortés, Honduras, a coastal area devastated by two hurricanes last year, a higher percentage of households hoping to migrate said they wanted to do so because of climate-related reasons.