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Why Leave Home


For residents of the Northern Triangle countries (Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala) deciding to leave home temporarily or permanently to settle in another country is complex and predicated on various factors.

Many populations in the Northern Triangle face strong organized criminal elements that use extortion and threats of violence to secure capital. El Salvador and Honduras have the highest homicide rates in Central America. Honduras and Guatemala are two of the highest ranked countries for femicide globally. According to results from Latin America Barometer (2018), one in five respondents from the Northern Triangle had been a victim of a crime within the past 12 months. A plurality of respondents faced “complex insecurity,” meaning exposure to both physical and fiscal insecurity.

Fears of violence and a desire to live safely and peacefully result in a push toward political stability and reliable physical security. The combination of a persistent threat of violence, especially against women, lack of economic opportunity, and government instability are the main drivers of emigration.

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Publication Information

Full Citation:

Boyd, Marcus. 2021. "Why Leave Home." College Park, MD. March.

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