E.g., 07/29/2014
E.g., 07/29/2014

Remittance Data

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Remittance Data

The main sources of official data on migrants' remittances are the annual balance of payments records of countries, which are compiled in the Balance of Payments Yearbook published annually by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). For more information on remittances from the United States based on this data, see this issue's Spotlight.

In migration literature, the term "migrant remittances" has generally come to refer to the transfers in cash or in kind from a migrant to household residents in the county of origin. However, the IMF data presented in the tables below are based on a much broader definition and include three categories of data:

  • Workers' remittances refer to transfers in cash or in kind from migrants to resident households in the countries of origin. Usually these are ongoing transfers between members of the same family, with persons abroad being absent for a year or longer.
  • Compensation to employees refers to the wages, salaries, and other remuneration, in cash or in kind, paid to individuals who work in a country other than where they legally reside. For example, the wages earned by seasonal or other short-term migrant workers (i.e., abroad for less than a year) would be included in this category, as well as border workers who work, but do not reside, in a neighboring country. It also includes wages and salaries earned by the local staff of foreign institutions, such as embassies and international organizations, and companies based abroad but operating locally.
  • Migrants' transfers refer to capital transfers of financial assets made by migrants as they move from one country to another and stay for more than one year.

The data provided in the tables below show the total remittances, which is the sum of the values of the three IMF categories defined above.

While the categories used by the IMF are well defined, there are several problems associated with their implementation worldwide that can affect their comparability. The data have serious limitations and the estimates obtained should be interpreted with caution. On the one hand, official remittance figures may underestimate the size of flows because they fail to capture informal remittance transfers, including sending cash back with returning migrants or by carrying cash and/or goods when migrants return home. On the other hand, official remittance figures may also overestimate the size of the flows. Other types of monetary transfers -- including illicit ones -- cannot always be distinguished from remittances.

The information presented here is derived from "Measurement of Remittances," pp. 321-362 in Bilsborrow et al., 1997, International Migration Statistics: Guidelines for Improving Data Collection Systems (Geneva: International Labour Office).

TABLES

Table 1. Top fifteen countries with the highest total remittances received, 2001
Country Total remittances
(in millions)1
GDP
(in millions)2
Total population3 Total remittances as percentage of GDP Total remittances
per capita
Mexico 9,920.0 617,819.7 101,879,171 1.6 97.37
France 9,220.0 1,309,807.0 59,658,144 0.7 154.55
India 9,160.0 457,048.8 1,002,708,291 2.0 9.14
Philippines 6,366.0 71,437.7 81,369,751 8.9 78.24
Spain 4,692.0 581,823.0 40,087,104 0.8 117.05
Germany 3,800.0 1,846,069.0 82,280,551 0.2 46.18
Portugal 3,573.0 109,802.5 10,066,253 3.3 354.95
Belgium 3,493.0 229,609.6 10,258,762 1.5 340.49
Egypt 2,911.0 98,475.8 71,901,545 3.0 40.49
Turkey 2,786.0 147,682.7 66,493,970 1.9 41.90
United States 2,380.0 10,065,270.0 285,023,886 -- 8.35
Italy 2,266.0 1,088,754.0 57,844,924 0.2 39.17
Bangladesh 2,104.5 46,705.9 132,974,813 4.5 15.83
Greece 2,014.0 117,168.7 10,623,835 1.7 189.57
Jordan 2,011.0 8,829.1 5,153,378 22.8 390.23


-- Figure rounds to 0.0.

1The remittance data presented in the above table are from IMF (International Monetary Fund), 2003, Balance of Payments Statistics Yearbook 2002 (Washington, DC, IMF Publications Services). "Total remittances" refers to the sum of the 1) workers' remittances, 2) compensation to employees, and 3) migrant transfers reported by each country. The remittance data presented for all countries are for 2001 except the data for India which are for 2000. For additional information on how remittances are defined and measured, see Chapter Seven in Bilsborrow et. al., 1997, International Migration Statistics: Guidelines for Improving Data Collection Systems (Geneva: International Labour Office).
2The source for the gross domestic product for each country is the World Bank website at devdata.worldbank.org/data-query. The GDP data presented for all countries are for 2001 except the data for India which are for 2000.
3The source of the total population data for each country are estimates generated by the U.S. Census Bureau (see www.census.gov/ipc/www/idbrank.html). The total population figures presented for all countries are for 2001 except India which is for 2000.

Table 2. Top fifteen countries with the highest total remittances received as a percentage of the GDP, 2001
Country Total remittances
(in millions)1
GDP
(in millions)2
Total population3 Total remittances
as percentage of GDP
Total remittances
per capita
Lesotho 209.0 796.7 1,852,808 26.2 112.80
Vanuatu 53.3 212.8 192,910 25.0 276.14
Jordan 2,011.0 8,829.1 5,153,378 22.8 390.23
Bosnia and Herzegovina 860.1 4,769.1 3,922,205 18.0 219.29
Albania 699.0 4,113.7 3,510,484 17.0 199.12
Nicaragua 335.7 2,067.8 4,918,393 16.2 68.25
Yemen 1,436.9 9,177.2 17,479,206 15.7 82.21
Moldova (Republic of) 223.1 1,479.4 4,431,570 15.1 50.34
El Salvador 1,925.2 13,738.9 6,237,662 14.0 308.64
Jamaica 1,058.7 7,784.1 2,665,636 13.6 397.17
Dominican Republic 1,982.0 21,211.0 8,475,396 9.3 233.85
Philippines 6,366.0 71,437.7 81,369,751 8.9 78.24
Uganda 483.0 5,675.3 24,170,422 8.5 19.98
Honduras 541.0 6,385.8 6,357,941 8.5 85.09
Ecuador 1,420.0 17,982.4 13,183,978 7.9 107.71

1The remittance data presented in the above table are from IMF (International Monetary Fund), 2003, Balance of Payments Statistics Yearbook 2002 (Washington, DC, IMF Publications Services). "Total remittances" refers to the sum of the 1) workers' remittances, 2) compensation to employees, and 3) migrant transfers reported by each country. The remittance data presented for all countries are for 2001, except the data for Yemen which are for 2000. For additional information on how remittances are defined and measured, see Chapter Seven in Bilsborrow et. al., 1997, International Migration Statistics: Guidelines for Improving Data Collection Systems (Geneva: International Labour Office).
2The source for the gross domestic product for each country is the World Bank website at devdata.worldbank.org/data-query. The GDP data presented for all countries is for 2001 except the data for Nicaragua which is for 1998 and for Yemen which is for 2000.
3The source of the total population data for each country are estimates generated by the U.S. Census Bureau (see www.census.gov/ipc/www/idbrank.html). The total population figures presented for all countries are for 2001, except Yemen which is for 2000.

Table 3. Top fifteen countries with the highest total remittances received per capita, 2001
Country Total remittances
(in millions)1
GDP
(in millions)2
Total population3 Total remittances
as percentage of GDP
Total remittances
per capita
Luxembourg4 576.0 18,540.0 442,972 3.1 1,300.31
Jamaica 1,058.7 7,784.1 2,665,636 13.6 397.17
Jordan 2,011.0 8,829.1 5,153,378 22.8 390.23
Portugal 3,573.0 109,802.5 10,066,253 3.3 354.95
Belgium 3,493.0 229,609.6 10,258,762 1.5 340.49
El Salvador 1,925.2 13,738.9 6,237,662 14.0 308.64
Vanuatu 53.3 212.8 192,910 25.0 276.14
New Zealand 1,034.0 50,425.3 3,864,129 2.1 267.59
Dominican Republic 1,982.0 21,211.0 8,475,396 9.3 233.85
Bosnia and Herzegovina 860.1 4,769.1 3,922,205 18.0 219.29
Albania 699.0 4,113.7 3,510,484 17.0 199.12
Greece 2,014.0 117,168.7 10,623,835 1.7 189.57
Austria 1,513.0 188,545.5 8,150,835 0.8 185.63
Switzerland 1,255.0 247,090.7 7,283,274 0.5 172.31
Croatia 727.7 20,260.5 4,334,142 3.6 167.90

1The remittance data presented in the above table are from IMF (International Monetary Fund), 2003, Balance of Payments Statistics Yearbook 2002 (Washington, DC, IMF Publications Services). "Total remittances" refers to the sum of the 1) workers' remittances, 2) compensation to employees, and 3) migrant transfers reported by each country. The remittance data presented for all countries are for 2001. For additional information on how remittances are defined and measured, see Chapter Seven in Bilsborrow et. al., 1997, International Migration Statistics: Guidelines for Improving Data Collection Systems (Geneva: International Labour Office).
2The source for the gross domestic product for each country is the World Bank website at devdata.worldbank.org/data-query. The GDP data presented for all countries are for 2001.
3The source of the total population data for each country are estimates generated by the U.S. Census Bureau (see www.census.gov/ipc/www/idbrank.html). The total population figures presented for all countries are for 2001.
4For Luxembourg, all of the remittances reported for 2001 fall into the "compensation to employees" category. The compensation to employees category includes wages, salaries, and other remuneration paid to individuals who work in a country other than where they legally reside. This includes seasonal or short-term migrants, border workers who work but don't reside in a neighboring country, as well as the local staff of embassies and other international organizations.