Skip to main content

LATEST UPDATES: Tracking COVID-19 | Vaccines | Racial Injustice

Historic’ Amount Of Remittances Sent To Mexico In 2020

People waiting in line to wire money at a money transfer and shipping center ...

Photo by Tania Thorne

Above: People waiting in line to wire money at a money transfer and shipping center in Oceanside. March 19, 2021.

Listen to this story by Tania Thorne.

Teresa Mendoza, a house cleaner, frequents a money transfer house in Oceanside to wire money to two family members in Puebla, Mexico.

“I know the need in Mexico and God has blessed me with my job so I am able to contribute to my family what I can,” said Mendoza while visiting the business Friday.

Nashielly Marquez was also wiring money.

“I am sending money to my aunt to help her and so she can send me some items back from Oaxaca too,” she said.

Money transfer houses remained busy during the pandemic as workers like Mendoza and Marquez sent wire transfers, known as remittances, to their families living south of the border.

Some $41 billion in remittances were wired in 2020, a historic amount despite the economic impact of the pandemic.

Domingo Ramos Medina, an economist in Tijuana, says government aid that included U.S. stimulus checks and unemployment helped many families in Mexico stay afloat during quarantine.

“2020 was a historic year for remittances and it has to do with the government aid that helped workers [in the U.S.] who then sent money to their families in Mexico,” he said.

Ramos said that since the majority of families in Mexico hold informal jobs, there is no type of unemployment or insurance available to them. Therefore they rely on help from their families in the U.S.

Reported by Tania Thorne

Ramos said that the U.S. economy is improving and data shows that January of this year is already breaking remittance records. Ramos reported $3.2 billion was wired in January, a 26% increase from January of last year.

He said one factor helping the American economy is the prolific rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“The vaccine process among other things has helped the American economy grow, and grow at a more accelerated speed than Mexico,” he said.

While vaccines are being distributed in Mexico, Ramos says the U.S. is distributing them at a much faster speed.

As more vaccines become available and businesses begin to open, Ramos says the U.S. economy will begin to show improvement, ultimately impacting Mexico.

“The growth of the American economy has a lot to do with us. The moment that economy grows, it will help us,” Ramos said .


San Diego News Now podcast branding

San Diego news; when you want it, where you want it. Get local stories on politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. New episodes are ready weekday mornings. Hosted by Anica Colbert and produced by KPBS, San Diego and the Imperial County's NPR and PBS station.

  • Need help keeping up with the news that matters most? Get the day's top news — ranging from local to international — straight to your inbox each weekday morning.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Photo of Tania Thorne

Tania Thorne
North County Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI love hearing from the community and listening to what's important to you. No story is too small. If it matters to you, more than likely it matters to somebody else too.

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or sign up for our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.