During the 1980s, Nicaragua hosted more than 10,000 refugees, mainly from El Salvador and Guatemala. Most have since repatriated. Those who chose to remain have been naturalized or granted permanent resident status.
After the Sandinista takeover in 1979, thousands of Nicaraguans left the country. It was estimated in 1987 that 24,000 had fled to Honduras, 16,000 to Costa Rica, and over 200,000 to the US, chiefly to Florida. After the defeat of the Sandinistas in the 1990 elections, some 200,000 Nicaraguans returned from abroad. Under the CIREFCA plan, 1989-94, 70,000 Nicaraguans repatriated. In 2000, the net migration rate was -2.4 migrants per 1,000 population. Worker remittances in that year amounted to $320 million, or 13.2% of GDP. The government views the migration levels as satisfactory.