International migration has been present throughout the history of the countries of Latin American and the Caribbean. From the colonial period until they attained independence, and through to the mid-twentieth century, the countries of the region received immigrants from overseas. Subsequently, the region became characterized by emigration, and since 1950, net migration for the region has been negative. One of the main challenges when studying international migration is the availability of data sources that provide insight into migration patterns and flows and the characteristics of the migrant population, given that, unlike other events, such as birth and death, migration may occur several times in a person’s life or never at all.

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