Global Remittances Guide
Remittances are among the most tangible links between migration and development. They are larger than foreign direct investment and official development assistance received by low- and middle-income countries. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, officially recorded remittances hit a record-high $719 billion in 2019, including $548 billion to low- and middle-income countries, the World Bank estimates. The numbers fell in 2020, as the pandemic scrambled economic fortunes. Overall remittances fell to $702 billion in 2020, with $539 billion going to low- and middle-income countries.
The tools below present data on remittances. Select one of the maps below to visualize global remittance flows between 1980 and 2020, numerically or as a share of GDP. Learn about remittance trends since 1970 and the relationships between remittance-sending and -receiving countries.
Note: Remittances are the sum of two components tracked by the International Monetary Fund: 1) the total income of migrant workers and other international migrants; and 2) personal transfers (cash and in-kind transfers) between residents and nonresidents. Read more about definitions and the data compiled by the World Bank here: https://migrationdataportal.org/themes/remittances. The World Bank data only capture remittances sent through formal channels such as banks and money transfer operators. Currently, no uniform and authoritative historical data on informal flows exist. Given the widespread use of informal channels, the data should be regarded as underestimates of total flows.
A full Remittances Glossary is available along with Further Readings on Migration and Development topics.
This data tool is a project of MPI's Migrants, Migration, and Development program with generous support of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the technical assistance of Dilip Ratha and Sanket Mohapatra from the Development Prospects Group, The World Bank, and research assistance of Roberto Munster.