The several thousand migrants in the “caravans” making their way to the U.S. border represent only a small fraction of the people in Central American nations who would like to come, according to a new Gallup survey.
The iconic pollster’s recent global estimate, between 2015 and 2017, found that 16 percent of adults from Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador, Panama and Costa Rica want to migrate to the U.S.
That translates into nearly 5 million people.
Worldwide, the survey found, more than 750 million people said they would move to another country permanently if they could. And 3 percent — or nearly 160 million people — say they would like to move to the U.S.
Gallup said it typically finds that the percentage of people with plans to move is substantially lower than the percentage who would like to move.
And even fewer are actively making preparations to do so.
In Honduras, the country of origin of most migrants in the caravans, 47 percent of adults said they would like to move to another country permanently if they could.
About 9 percent were planning to move in the next year, and 2 percent were actively preparing to do so.
Gallup said its global studies have shown that the U.S., more than any other country, has been the top desired destination for people who say they would like to move.
But Gallup said the desire to move to the U.S. started to show signs of waning in Central America in 2017.
“This could possibly reflect changes in the climate toward migrants in the U.S. under the Trump administration — but it is still too early to tell, and Gallup will continue to monitor it,” the polling organization said.