Facts You Should Know About Family Remittances

The United Nations is urging reforms that make it easier for migrants to send money back to their home countries, as it observes its annual International Day of Family Remittances.
The United Nations is urging reforms that make it easier for migrants to send money back to their home countries, as it observes its annual International Day of Family Remittances.

Observed on June 16 every year, the International Day of Family Remittances (IDFR) was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in recognition of over 200 million migrant workers, women and men, who send money home to over 800 million family members.

This day also highlights the great resilience of migrant workers in the face of economic turmoil, socio-cultural insecurities, natural and climate related disasters and a global pandemic.

Most remittances sent in 2020 went to rural communities

The IDFR is now globally recognised and is a key initiative pushing for the reduction of transfer costs and greater financial inclusion through remittances.

Facts and figures

  • Remittances play an important role in the countries of origin, with many families relying on them for covering living expenses.
  • Each year, over 200 million migrant workers in over 40 high-income countries send remittances to over 800 million relatives in more than 125 low- and middle-income countries.
  • Remittances account for more than four percent of GDP in 70 countries.
  • In 2019, remittance flows amounted to $551 billion. This represents thrice as much as development assistance within the same period.
  • Family remittances directly impact the lives of more than one billion people or one out of every seven persons on Earth.
  • Global remittances are three times greater than Official Development Assistance and surpass Foreign Direct Investment.
  • Migrant remittances also exceed foreign direct investment.
  • The full impact of COVID-19 on remittances flows remains to be seen. However, in 2020 officially recorded remittance flows to LMICs reached US$540 billion, or only 1.6 percent below the US$548 billion seen in 2019.
  • More than half of remittances sent in 2020 went to rural areas where remittances ‘count the most’.
  • More than two-thirds of migrant remittances come from countries where most cases of covid-19 were recorded.
  • While remittances in 2020 were projected to drop, mobile remittances increased by 65 percent.
  • Remittances reflect the financial ledger in the social contract that binds migrant workers with families back home. These flows contribute an average of 60 percent of household income, enabling tens of millions of families to reach for their own individual SDGs.

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