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Lesson Transcript

Culture File: Mexico - Lesson 19: Remittances from the US
Hello, and welcome to the Culture File: Mexico series at SpanishPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring essential cultural information about Mexico, Mexican Culture, and Mexican People. In this lesson, we will continue with another episode of this series about Mexican economic activities. I’m Michael, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 19: Remittances from the US.
Remittances are money transferred from one country to another by a foreign worker, and in Spanish are called "remesas". They actually make up a significant portion of Mexico’s gross domestic product, or "producto interno bruto", currently representing 2.1 percent of the national GDP. Not long ago, remittances were the country’s second largest source of income.
Remittances in Mexico are mainly derived from money transferred from the US, in total over 20 billion dollars each year. In recent years, as we’ve mentioned before, this form of income has considerably decreased, for reasons such as decreased immigration, or "inmigración", to the US, a slow North American economy, or "economía", new restrictions on remittances, unfavorable exchange rate, or "tasa de cambio", and higher fees for sending money abroad.
Mexico’s income from remittances is heavily tied to migration. A large number of Mexican-born citizens migrate to another country, particularly to the United States, in order to find work and earn a higher wage. About 10% of Mexican-born citizens live in a different country, and roughly 98% of this 10% have headed for the United States. Immigrants to the US mainly find low-skilled jobs in areas such as agriculture, construction, manufacture, and housekeeping. Long-term migrants often get sales and office jobs, and some even go on to create their own small businesses.
A large percentage of remittances come from Mexican workers in the US, who send money back to family or friends still living in Mexico. This money is of great help to those receiving it, as some people in Mexico heavily depend on remittances to fund their living expenses, or "gastos", education and health services.
Remittances have helped reduce poverty, or "pobreza", in areas where a large portion of families receive them. However, even though remittances are considered a benefit of migration, they aren’t a reliable source of income in the long term. The exchange rate and restrictions on remittances can greatly affect the amount of money that Mexican workers abroad are able to send back to Mexico.
So listeners, how did you like this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
Were you aware of the huge contribution of remittances to the Mexican economy?
Leave a comment telling us at SpanishPod101.com! Until next time!