Nicaraguan migration has been shaped by an array of political and economic factors that, over time, have produced sizable populations of Nicaraguans living in countries such as the United States, Costa Rica, or Spain. As of 2020, there are more than 750,000 Nicaraguans dispersed over more than 20 countries around the globe. Overall, Nicaraguans migration is largely the by product of political conditions in the homeland. From the migration resulting from the earthquake of 1972, which demonstrated the pillage of assistance by the Somoza dictatorship, leaving many Nicaraguans without help, to the civil war of the 1970s, the Sandinista revolution, and more recently the Ortega dictatorship, Nicaraguans have needed to flew in search for better conditions.
Although there are more Nicaraguan migrants in Costa Rica, a larger volume of remittances come from the U.S. Moreover, increases from Spain have been significant in the past couple of years. The Costa Rica-Nicaragua remittance corridor remains one of the most important south-to-south corridors in the Americas, and accounts for over 50% of all remittance flows between Central American countries.
The economic impact of Nicaraguan migration on Nicaragua’s economy is not only substantive but it has worked as a cushion for a country that has not introduced reforms to modernize its economy, which continues to be largely informal or agriculture based.
The political impact of the Nicaraguan diaspora is also substantive.
In the United States there are at least 100 organizations that work on Nicaraguan related issues. The large majority were formed after the April 2018 crisis. However, there are many groups that were formed before that and exist since the 1990 and 1980s. These organizations exert political pressure in many ways, but primarily through their connections in Nciaragua.