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Microsoft Word crm-ptmt el Salvador 2009[final]. doc

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Workshop on Temporary Migrant Workers Programs

 

 

40

TABLE 5 

UNITED STATES: PERCENTAGE OF PERSONS BORN IN LATIN AMERICA  

AND THE CARIBBEAN 25 YEARS AND OLDER, BY REGION OF BIRTH  

AND EDUCATION LEVEL, 1990, 2000 AND 2004  

1990 

2000 

CPS 2004 

Region of Birth 

Finished High 

School or More 

Finished College 

or More 

Finished High 

School or More

Finished College 

or More 

Finished High 

School or More 

Finished College 

or More 

Latin America 

38.4 8.2 43.9 9.6 49.7 11.5 

Caribbean 

56.9 13.6 62.0 15.8 69.5 19.5 

Central America 

43.6 8.0 44.2 8.3 38.8 6.1 

Mexico 

24.3 3.5 29.8 4.3  —  — 

South America 

69.8 18.5 74.9 23.0 80.6 29.7 

United States 

68.6  9.7  83.3 24.5 88.3 27.8 

Source: 1990 and 2000 National Population Censuses, 2004 Current Population Survey. 

Notes: For the 1990 Census, Central America does not include Belize and South America does not include Brazil; for 

the 2000 Census, South America does not include Paraguay and Uruguay. Data from the 2004 Current Population 

Survey include Mexicans in the Central America group. 

 

D. Female Participation and Housework 

One of the defining characteristics of migration flows of women among Latin American countries is 

the search for work. Several case studies agree that migrant women increasingly identify economic 

reasons for their decision to migrate, and many of them engage in household work in the country of 

destination, since it is in this sector that they find real economic insertion opportunities (Cortés, 

2005; Martínez, 2007). 

A high number of migrants are employed as household workers. At an intra-regional level, 

this represents an 27% of the migrant workforce. In Argentina and Costa Rica – important receiving 

countries – many women are employed as household workers (29% and 36%, respectively), and Chile 

shows a percentage of 43% (see Table 6).  

This evidence shows that the labor market is making use of labor identities rooted in gender 

relations in order to meet the demand for flexible and low-cost labor (Martínez, 2007). However, it 

should be noted that “this migration does not displace nationals from their occupations and typically 

seems to be of replacement and functional to the evolution of the labor market, which is facing depletion 

of the supply of migrants from rural areas, and where the types of services provided are changing from 

full-time positions (living in the homes where they work) to independent services” (Tokman, 2008:29). 

Table 6 and Graph 9 show labor segregation not only by gender but also, by country of origin. 

It is increasingly common for migrants from the same country to carry out the same type of work in 

different countries of destination. As is the case with nurses and teachers from the Caribbean, 

Peruvian migrant women specializing in housework are one of the most obvious cases, since 50% of 

them work in this sector. 

Regarding migration within Latin America and the Caribbean, two primary flows of women 

employed in housework should be highlighted: Nicaraguans in Costa Rica and Peruvians in Chile. 

According to data from CEPAL (2004), Costa Rican women employed as household workers in their 

own country only account for 9.1%, while 42% of Nicaraguans living in Costa Rica are employed in 

this sector. In the same manner, 16% of the Chilean women are employed in household work, while 

72% of Peruvian women living in Chile work in this sector (Cortés, 2005).  

It has been said that Peruvian women employed as household workers are higher qualified than 

other groups of migrants, and that this comparative advantage can be one of the reasons why it is easier 



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