Remitly Study Reveals 9 in 10 Immigrants in the U.S. Believe the American Dream is Still Achievable

Despite the current political climate, 60 percent would encourage family to relocate to the United States

SEATTLE--()--Today Remitly, the largest private digital remittance company in the U.S., released findings from its 2018 Immigrant Sentiment survey. The inaugural study, conducted by Ipsos for Remitly, surveyed first-generation Latin American immigrants (defined as Latin American adults born outside of the U.S.) on their attitudes and experience after immigrating to the U.S. Despite low levels of public satisfaction with the current state of the nation, Remitly found more than half of first-generation immigrants (60 percent) would still recommend relocating to the U.S. to a friend, family member, or colleague.

The findings also revealed that nine in ten immigrants believe the American Dream – the belief that everyone in the U.S. has the chance to be successful and happy if they work hard – is still achievable. This optimism is despite the challenges immigrants face like cultural barriers, navigating complex immigration regulations, finding housing, work, and accessing services.

Overall Findings

  • Among the majority of immigrants who believe in the American Dream, access to living standards and better education are the most attainable opportunities (according to 49 and 47 percent respectively)
  • Just under two in five reported physical safety (38 percent) and better access to jobs (35 percent) as the most achievable aspects of the American Dream for them in the U.S., while 31 percent say the same thing of free speech
  • Among the reasons first-generation immigrants give as to why the American Dream may not be achievable, most say that it’s too hard to get ahead (59 percent), and one in five (19 percent) say it’s because they don’t trust the U.S.
  • Among the 40 percent of immigrants who would not encourage family to relocate to the U.S. given the current political climate, more than half (59 percent) report this is because the immigration process is hard to navigate and/or because of racism (53 percent)
  • If given the choice to do it again, one out of four immigrants (23 percent) would not choose to make the move
  • When asked about the biggest challenges they face as immigrants in the U.S., 31 percent cite cultural barriers as the biggest challenge, followed by immigration regulation (24 percent) and access to services (16 percent)

Country-Specific Attitudes

  • Nearly three-quarters of immigrants from Mexico relocated to the U.S. with their family (73 percent)
  • Close to 50 percent of Puerto Ricans (47 percent) would not encourage their family members to relocate to the U.S., with 70 percent citing racism as the reason
  • Puerto Rican immigrants cite finding work (23 percent) and housing (15 percent) as the biggest challenges they face after cultural barriers (30 percent), while immigrants from Mexico name immigration regulation (28 percent) and access to services like medical and transportation (21 percent) as the biggest challenges
  • Twenty-nine percent of immigrants from Venezuela relocated to the U.S. to escape a dangerous situation, political turmoil or war, as a refugee
  • One out of four Mexican immigrants (25 percent) and nearly one out of five Puerto Rican and Venezuelan immigrants (18 percent) would not choose to stay in the U.S. if they could do it again

Opinions on Financial Services in the U.S.

When asked about both traditional financial services and mobile banking offerings, the findings revealed:

  • Sixty-two percent of immigrants trust mobile technology to handle their finances
  • Among the 38 percent who would not trust mobile technology to handle their finances, 71 percent say this is because they are worried about their data/privacy
  • Thirty-eight percent of Latin American immigrants in the U.S. get their financial advice from family and friends, and 23 percent turn to news publications
  • Eighty-four percent of immigrants think traditional financial institutions are meeting their financial needs, and 93 percent feel mobile technology/financial technology is meeting their financial needs
  • When asked what they associate most with money, 50 percent believe money provides stability/security

“The American Dream is defined by immigrants who come to the U.S. seeking a more prosperous life,” said Matt Oppenheimer, CEO and co-founder of Remitly. “Despite political and social threats toward Latin American immigrants, they remain optimistic and work toward the dream of a better life in America. We are committed to providing the best financial services for them in the hopes that they can achieve any version of their American Dream.”

Complete findings available upon request.

About the Study

These are the findings from an Ipsos poll conducted June 1 – June 5, 2018 on behalf of Remitly. For the survey, a sample of 501 adults ages 18 and over from the continental U.S., Alaska and Hawaii was interviewed online, in English or in Spanish. To qualify for the survey, respondents had to report being born in a country other than the United States. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of ±5.0 percentage points for all respondents surveyed.

The sample for this study was randomly drawn from Ipsos’s online panel (see link below for more info on “Access Panels and Recruitment”), partner online panel sources, and “river” sampling (see link below for more info on the Ipsos “Ampario Overview” sample method) and does not rely on a population frame in the traditional sense. Ipsos uses fixed sample targets, unique to each study, in drawing sample. After a sample has been obtained from the Ipsos panel, Ipsos calibrates respondent characteristics to be representative of the U.S. population using standard procedures such as raking-ratio adjustments. The source of these population targets is U.S. Census 2016 American Community Survey data. The sample drawn for this study reflects fixed sample targets on demographics. Post-hoc weights were made to the population characteristics on gender, age, region, race/ethnicity and income.

Statistical margins of error are not applicable to online nonprobability sampling polls. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to, coverage error and measurement error. Where figures do not sum to 100, this is due to the effects of rounding. Ipsos calculates a design effect (DEFF) for each study based on the variation of the weights, following the formula of Kish (1965). This study had a credibility interval adjusted for design effect of the following (n=501, DEFF=1.5, adjusted Confidence Interval=6.5).

About Remitly

Remitly is the largest independent digital remittance company headquartered in the United States, transferring $5 billion in annualized volume from its customers in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada to loved ones throughout the world. The company’s proprietary global transfer network includes its easy-to-use mobile app, which makes the process of sending money faster, easier, more transparent, and less costly by eliminating the forms, codes, agents, extra time and fees typical of the traditional, century-old money transfer process. Remitly is backed by industry-leading investors Naspers’ PayU, World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC), Silicon Valley Bank, Stripes Group, DFJ, DN Capital, QED Investors, Trilogy Equity Partners, Bezos Expeditions, Founders’ Co-Op, and TomorrowVentures. The company is headquartered in Seattle, with additional offices in London, the Philippines, and Nicaragua. For more information, visit

About Ipsos

Ipsos is an independent market research company controlled and managed by research professionals. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos has grown into a worldwide research group with a strong presence in all key markets. Ipsos ranks fourth in the global research industry. With offices in 89 countries, Ipsos delivers insightful expertise across five research specializations: brand, advertising, and media; customer loyalty; marketing; public affairs research; and survey management.

Ipsos researchers assess market potential and interpret market trends. They develop and build brands. They help clients build long-term relationships with their customers. They test advertising and study audience responses to various media and they measure public opinion around the globe. Ipsos has been listed on the Paris Stock Exchange since 1999 and generated global revenues of €1,782.7 million in 2016.

For more information about conducting research intended for public release or Ipsos’ online polling methodology, please visit our Public Opinion Polling and Communication page where you can download our brochure, see our public release protocol, or contact us.


For Remitly
Britta Gidican, 206-535-6152 ext. 213
For Ipsos
Negar Ballard, 312-292-8366

Release Summary

The inaugural study from Remitly surveyed immigrants in the U.S. and finds 9 in 10 believe the American Dream is still achievable.


For Remitly
Britta Gidican, 206-535-6152 ext. 213
For Ipsos
Negar Ballard, 312-292-8366