The 1980s were the backdrop to a savage civil war which saw conflict destroy the nation of Nicaragua, and the lives of 50,000+ civilians in the process. The multicultural country of Nicaragua experienced an excessive outpouring of citizens who fled the nation for their own security. Although many Nicaraguans live in Spain, Mexico and Panama, the majority of Nicaraguans living abroad are in Costa Rica, the United States and El Salvador. Nicaragua has the second largest number in Central America (after El Salvador) of people living abroad, almost 1,200,000.
According to the Pew Hispanic Center, in 2007 there were 306,438 Nicaraguans in the United States. That represents the fourth greatest Central American community in the U.S. Nicaraguans are the largest Central American Community in Florida (esp. in Miami-Dade County) and the third largest in California (i.e. San Francisco and Los Angeles).
According to the 2000 Census, there were 226,374 Nicaraguans in Costa Rica. However, this number is believed to be higher because there were thousands of undocumented immigrants at that time. Probably there are at least 500,000 Nicaraguans in Costa Rica, including illegals. In El Salvador almost 200,000 Nicaraguans live in the country to find available work, another 200,000 Nicaraguans live in Guatemala and 100,000 are believed to live in Honduras.
An effort is being made by the Academia de Genealogia de la Diaspora Nicaraguense by collecting and publishing all the family relations of Nicaraguans living abroad and their connections to their roots in the country.
Nicaraguans living abroad are also found in smaller numbers in Europe including the countries of France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Sweden and the UK; Australia and New Zealand; Canada, Brazil and Argentina; and Japan. Usually the Nicaraguans arrived in those countries fleeing from political oppression and economic conditions.
It's difficult to estimate the number of Nicaraguans living abroad because a substantial amount are living in host countries illegally. The table shows current statistics for certain countries:
|Nicaraguans living abroad||At least 1,000,000|
- "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-05-11. Retrieved 2010-06-26.
- Immigration to Mexico