The 10 Countries That Receive the Most Remittances

The 10 Countries That Receive the Most Remittances

June 25, 2024 12 min read

Woman in India.

In an increasingly interconnected world, remittances have emerged as a vital lifeline for many economies, particularly in developing nations.

Beyond providing essential household income, remittances help improve healthcare, education, and infrastructure, fostering development at both local and national levels. They play a crucial role in enhancing economic resilience and reducing poverty.

According to the 2024 World Migration Report, there has been an overall increase in remittances in recent decades, from $128 billion in 2000 to $831 billion in 2022. Interestingly, digital remittances have become the favored method for consumers worldwide, with 53% of consumers using digital apps to send and receive money globally.

The countries that receive the highest amounts of remittances globally are typically those with large diasporas and economies heavily reliant on these inflows. Here are the top 10 countries that receive the most remittances and some relevant data about their economies.

India – 111 USD billion

  • India is the first country to reach –and surpass– the USD 100 billion mark regarding remittances.
  • India’s remittances account for 63% of the total remittance inflows to South Asia. This notable rise is mainly due to the contributions from highly skilled Indian migrants working in the tech industries of the United States, United Kingdom, and Singapore.
  • According to the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, the Indian diaspora (Indians living abroad) comprises around 35 million, including 13 million Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) and 17 million individuals of Indian Origin.
  • The Gulf countries host the largest NRIs, with 24% residing in Saudi Arabia, 20% in the UAE, and 4-8% in Kuwait, Oman, and Qatar.
  • Although the number of migrants in this region is significant, their contribution to remittances is lower because the workforce primarily comprises semi-skilled and unskilled labor, as reported by the International Labour Organization.
  • In contrast, the United States has a smaller percentage of NRIs but ranks as the second-largest source of remittances, due to the higher earning potential of its skilled Indian workforce.
  • Many highly educated and English-speaking Indians are securing jobs in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, which are often well-paid sectors. With full-time employees earning a median monthly salary of €4,974 ($5,416), Indians have become the highest-earning immigrant group in Germany, Europe’s largest economy.
  • In the US, the world’s largest economy based on GDP, Indians are emerging as the highest-earning ethnic minority group. Data from the Pew Research Center showed that Indians born outside the US earn an average of $120,000 per year.
  • The Indian diaspora is usually educated and wealthy. Some fitting examples of the success of their descendants are Kamala Harris, the vice president of the United States, and Rishi Sunak, prime minister of the United Kingdom. Recently, Ajay Banga, born near Mumbai (Bombay), was appointed president of the World Bank, one of the most important financial institutions in the world. Furthermore, Indians or those of Indian descent also lead tech giants like Google, IBM, and Microsoft.

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Mexico – 61 USD billion

  • Mexico retained its position as the world’s second-largest recipient of remittances in 2022, a ranking it had also achieved in 2021 when it surpassed China, historically the second-largest recipient after India.
  • Remittance inflows to Mexico are heavily impacted by its economic connections with the United States, where most of its migrant workforce is located.
  • With more than 12 million Mexican migrants living in the United States, according to the NGO “México Cómo Vamos”, about 96% of the remittances that arrive in Mexico do so from the United States, and the annual amount sent annually has not stopped increasing for the last 10 years.
  • Canada is the second country from where most Mexican remittances come from, ranked with 1.3%, and Ecuador is in third place with just 0.4%.
  • In 2022, the Center for Latin American Monetary Studies (CEMLA) estimated that the income of the poorest 30% of households increased their income by 22% by receiving remittances.
  • The states of Jalisco and Michoacán in Mexico are the states with the highest percentage of income from remittances. The border between Mexico and the United States is the most crossed in the world, and this is also reflected in the remittance market: the border states of California and Texas are the most important in terms of sending funds to Mexico.
  • The average monthly amount per person of remittance income in Mexico has remained around $300. Since most funds are sent through electronic transfers, many payment branches are available in the Latin American country for the collection of funds.
  • The BBVA bank forecasts that the Mexican economy could grow 2.9% by 2024, while remittances would increase this year by 6.6% to reach 67.6 USD billion.
  • Mexico’s dependence on remittances reached a maximum of 4.0% of GDP in 2022. It is estimated that remittances will represent 3.7% of the country’s GDP in 2024.

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China – 51 USD billion

  • China has been one of the top recipients of remittances for many years, thanks to its large diaspora. The Overseas Chinese, also known as the Chinese diaspora, is one the largest diasporas in the world with 10.7 million Chinese living overseas, 60 million if their descendants are included.
  • Although still substantial, the growth rate of remittances to China has slowed compared to other countries like India and Mexico. This is partly due to China’s rapid economic development. Since 1978, GDP growth has averaged over 9 percent yearly, and almost 800 million people have lifted themselves out of poverty.
  • The Chinese government has implemented policies to facilitate the transfer of remittances, such as easing banking regulations and improving financial services in rural areas. There is also an emphasis on encouraging investment from overseas Chinese through various incentive programs.
  • Most remittances to China –nearly half of all inflow– come from the United States and Hong Kong.
  • Internal remittances from China, much larger than those from of Chinese migrants abroad or that of migrants foreigners from any other country, have contributed between the 20% and 50% to the total income of rural families.
  • According to the Beijing-based think tank, the Center for China and Globalization, the collective wealth of the Chinese diaspora is estimated at $5 trillion, positioning it as the “third largest economic power in the world.”

 Send money to China using Ria, click here.

Philippines – 38 USD billion

  • Almost 10% of the Philippine population lives outside the country, estimates the Commission on Filipinos Overseas. As of 2019, there were over 12 million Filipinos overseas.
  • The United States is the leading source of overall remittances to the Philippines (41.2%), followed by Singapore (7.2%) and Saudi Arabia (5.9%).
  • The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) states that the 2023 remittances accounted for about 8.5% of the country’s gross domestic product and 7.7 % gross national income, respectively.
  • Of the 2.33 million Filipino labor migrants employed worldwide in 2023, 58% of them were females who worked as domestic cleaners or helpers in countries such as Hong Kong and Saudi Arabia.
  • Regarding age, the largest age group among migrant workers was those between 30 and 34 years old, followed by individuals aged 45 and older.
  • In 2022, approximately 81 percent of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) were employed in Asia, while Africa had the smallest share of Filipino workers.
  • According to Statista, nearly half of OFWs were employed in elementary occupations such as cleaning, food preparation, and goods delivery, while less than two percent held managerial positions.
    • Around 158,000 were domestic cleaners and helpers.
    • About 115,000 worked as domestic housekeepers
    • Approximately 13,200 were employed as nurses abroad.
  • Remittances in the Philippines have helped support domestic production and consumption and pushed foreign exchange reserves to an all-time high.
  • For 2024, the World Bank estimates that remittance flows to the Philippines will grow by about 5 percent to 42 USD billion.

Send money to the Philippines using Ria, click here.

France – 30 USD billion

  • France is both a sender and receiver of remittances. While it is more known for being a significant sender due to its large immigrant population, remittances received in France are also notable, primarily from French citizens working abroad and immigrants sending money back to their families in France.
  • Remittances in France, while not as significant in absolute terms as in some developing countries, still play a key role in the economy, particularly in terms of supporting immigrant families and contributing to financial flows.
  • France’s five main remittance sources are Spain, Belgium, the United States, Switzerland, and the UK.
  • Since the 2015 G20 Summit, France has implemented a National Plan on Remittances with several key objectives:
    • Reducing the costs associated with remittance transfers
    • Enhancing the value of remittances by channeling them into sustainable and growth-oriented projects
    • Gaining a better understanding of remittance flows to address migrants’ needs more effectively.
    • Additionally, improving migrants’ access to financial products and services has been a focus since the adoption of a 2014 law, which permitted banks in partner countries to market their financial products and services in France.

Send money to France using Ria, click here.

Pakistan – 29 USD billion

  • Pakistan has a diaspora of over 11 million individuals living abroad. Remittances contribute an average of 7.7% to the GDP.
  • Most remittances come from Pakistani workers in Gulf countries (such as Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Qatar), the United States, the United Kingdom, and Ireland.
    • On a national scale, Saudi Arabia has consistently been the leading contributor to remittance inflows, sending approximately USD 4.4 billion, which accounts for nearly a quarter (24%) of the total remittance volume.
    • Following Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the UK ranked second and third, respectively, remitting USD 3.1 billion (17%) and 2.7 billion (15%) to Pakistan.
  • These funds are sent by Pakistani expatriates working in various sectors including construction, healthcare, IT, and services.
  • The Pakistani government has implemented policies to facilitate remittance flows, such as reducing transaction costs and improving the efficiency of transfer processes.
  • Additionally, initiatives like the Pakistan Remittance Initiative (PRI) aim to encourage the use of formal channels for remittance transfers.
  • Pakistan recently signed a new agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The new agreement with the IMF is anticipated to stabilize economic conditions, potentially leading to an increase in remittance flows as migrant confidence improves.

Send money to Pakistan using Ria, click here.

Egypt – 28 USD billion

  • Egypt is one of the top recipients of remittances in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Remittances are an important part of Egypt’s foreign exchange earnings.
  • Remittances are Egypt’s primary source of foreign currency, even surpassing revenues from the Suez Canal and tourism. In 2023, the Suez Canal generated $4 billion, while tourism contributed $7.3 billion.
  • Most remittances to Egypt come from Egyptians working abroad, particularly in countries across the Middle East, including oil-producing nations such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, and Oman.
  • Additionally, significant numbers of Egyptian migrants reside in Libya, Lebanon, and Jordan within the Middle East region.
  • Outside the Middle East, Egyptians also contribute to remittance flows from countries such as the United States, European nations, Canada, Australia, and Japan.
  • In 2022, Egypt experienced a 10% decline in remittance inflows, dropping from a record high of $31.5 billion in 2021 to $28.3 billion.
  • Analysts attribute this notable reduction to a growing trend among Egyptians either to participate in foreign exchange transactions on the informal market due to an increasing gap between the unofficial and official exchange rates or to retain their foreign currency amidst concerns about a potential devaluation of the Egyptian pound.
  • Egypt’s central bank is involved in the “Buna” platform project, which is the first unified Arab platform for multi-caged in higher-income occupations, whereas Bangladeshi migrants in GCC countries are often employed in unskilled sectors.

Send money to Egypt using Ria, click here.

Bangladesh – 21 USD billion

  • More than 7.4 million Bangladesh-born individuals lived abroad as of 2020, according to United Nations estimates. The money these migrants and others send back is a major source of development for Bangladesh.
  • The Bangladeshi diaspora can be divided into two primary categories:
    • Emigrants, permanent residents, and students primarily located in Europe and North America, particularly in the United Kingdom and the United States.
    • Short-term migrant workers primarily headed to the Middle East, particularly the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, a trend that began following the 1973 oil price surge and the subsequent rise of GCC nations as prosperous economies.
    • A significant portion of South Asian migrants in the United States are intra-Arab payments. This initiative aims to streamline Arab payments, making them quicker and more cost-effective, thereby attracting more official remittances.
  • According to the Statistics Department of the Bangladesh Bank, over half of the remittance inflows (51%) originated from GCC countries in 2022, with Saudi Arabia being the largest contributor, accounting for nearly one-fifth (19%) of total remittances.
  • The United States and the United Arab Emirates ranked second and third, respectively, contributing 18% and 12% of remittance inflows to Bangladesh.
  • Bangladeshi emigrants play a pivotal role in Bangladesh’s economic advancement, given that remittances constitute the second largest source of foreign income.
  • While the difficult circumstances prevailing in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations, where a substantial number of Bangladeshi migrants are employed, may hinder their capacity to remit funds back home, there is a contrasting sense of optimism regarding Bangladesh’s economic prospects.
  • This optimism has been bolstered by the recent successful negotiation of an agreement with the IMF, laying the groundwork for potential growth in remittances.
  • Analysts anticipate a rise of approximately 3% in Bangladesh’s remittance receipts, reaching $23.6 billion by 2024.

Send money to Bangladesh using Ria, click here.

Nigeria – 20 USD billion

  • There are approximately 15 million Nigerians in the diaspora.
  • The top 5 remittance-sending countries to Nigeria are the United States, the United Kingdom, Cameroon, Italy, and Ghana.
  • About 60% of remittances to Nigeria come from the US and the UK. These two countries host the largest Nigerian diaspora communities: over 5 million people.
  • According to PwC, Nigeria’s migrant remittances translate to 83% of the Federal Government budget. Additionally, remittance inflows were also 7.4 times larger than the net official development assistance (foreign aid) received in 2017 of 3.4 USD billion.
  • In 2022, Sub-Saharan Africa remittances reached $53 billion, marking a 6.1% increase from the previous year.
  • Nigeria leads as the top recipient of international remittances in Sub-Saharan Africa, capturing approximately 38% of the total remittances directed to the region.
  • To to attract investment-focused remittances, the Central Bank of Nigeria introduced the Nigerian Diaspora Bond.
  • However, the persistent premium on foreign exchange in Nigeria’s black market remains a significant concern. For instance, in May 2023, the Lagos black market traded the dollar at 759 naira for buying and 760 naira for selling, sharply contrasting with the official exchange rate of around 460 naira, as reported by the World Bank.

Send money to Nigeria using Ria, click here.

Germany – 19 USD billion

  • Germany is a significant recipient of remittances, although it is more commonly known as a source country for remittances due to its large immigrant population sending money abroad.
  • In 2021, the value of remittances sent out from Germany was double that of the remittances received by the country.
  • The five main sources for remittances to Germany are the United States, Switzerland, the UK, Türkiye, and Austria.
  • Germany, along with Italy, Serbia, Portugal, and Bosnia-Herzegovina, is one of the main countries that receives remittances from Switzerland.
  • According to the World Bank, remittance flows into Germany amounted to around 17.9 USD billion in 2020, approximately 0.5 percent of Germany’s GDP.
  • Approximately 18% of the German population is made up of migrants. 15.3 million people in Germany, or nearly one in five, have immigrated to the country at some point in their lives. Additionally, almost 5 million people were born to migrant parents.

Send money to Germany using Ria, click here.

About the author

Gabriela Solis

Gabriela Solis is Ria's Senior Content Writer. Located in Querétaro, México, she focuses on telling stories that show the myriad human faces of remittances.

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