Remittances

Remittances, money from immigrants sent back to their homes, totaled over $304 billion in 2010, according to the World Bank. The flow of such funds from immigrants from Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) to their families back home rose by 6 percent to $61.0 billion in 2011, following a 2 percent rise in 2010, according to a study by the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB). The IADB attributes the higher growth rate to improved economic conditions in the United States, which accounts for about 75 percent of remittances sent to LAC countries. Mexico was the recipient of the largest amount of remittances in 2011, $22.7 billion. An earlier IADB study found that in 2009 most respondents sent the money through transfers (65 percent of participants); the remainder sent the money through travelers and other informal means (14 percent), the Internet (2 percent) and banks (20 percent, up from 7 percent the previous year).

 

REMITTANCES TO SELECTED LATIN AMERICAN COUNTRIES, 2010-2011

($ millions)

Country 2010 2011 Percent change 
Mexico $21,271 $22,731 6.9%
Guatemala 4,127 4,377 6.1
Colombia 4,023 4,168 3.6
El Salvador 3,540 3,650 3.1
Dominican Republic 2,908 3,131 7.7
Honduras 2,529 2,862 13.2
Peru 2,534 2,697 6.4
Ecuador 2,324 2,673 15.0
Haiti 1,971 2,057 4.4
Jamaica 1,911 2,025 6.0
Other 11,762 10,629 -9.6
Total $57,600 (1)
$61,000 6.0%

(1) Total revised to reflect the definition of remittances in the Balance of Payments Manual of the International Monetary Fund. Individual country data were not revised.

Source: Inter-American Development Bank/MIF.

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The United States tops the list of countries from which immigrants send money back to their families overseas, as tracked by the World Bank. In 2010, immigrants in the United States sent $52 billion overseas, down 0.1 percent from 2009 but almost twice as much as the next highest country, Saudi Arabia, with $27 billion in remittances in 2010.

 

TOP TEN COUNTRIES, BY REMITTANCES SENT OVERSEAS, 2009-2010 (1)

($ millions)

Rank Remittance outflows 2009 2010 Percent change
1 United States $51,639 $51,597 -0.1%
2 Saudi Arabia 26,470 27,069 2.3
3 Switzerland 19,562 21,668 9.0
4 Russian Federation 18,779 18,796 0.1
5 Germany 15,951 15,908 -0.3
6 Netherlands 14,226 12,923 -9.2
7 Spain 12,743 12,227 -4.1
8 Italy 12,868 12,201 -5.2
9 Kuwait 11,749 11,770 0.2
10 Korea, Rep. 8,648 11,385 31.6
  Total $305,641 $304,210 -0.5%

(1) World Bank staff estimates based on the International Monetary Fund's Balance of Payments Statistics Yearbook 2011.

Source: World Bank.

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