It’s International Day of Family Remittances on Friday, June 16, 2017. It’s a day to celebrate the hard work and contribution of immigrants who financially support their families in other countries. It’s not easy living away from loved ones. And based on the average incomes of immigrants, it also can be financially tough. In fact, we’ve crunched the numbers to find out just how tough it is.
As more money is sent from US to Mexico than any other country, and Hispanics have a significantly lower average income than other immigrant demographics, many are faced with financial challenges to support themselves and families abroad. With President Trump proposing a 2 percent tax on all remittances sent to Mexico, this will add further pressure on Mexican immigrants.
Just how much is left to spare?
Our research revealed that a Mexican immigrant is left with just $24,496 per year to live on, after sending an average of $4,178 per year to Mexico. That comes to just $471 per week, or $2,041 per month.
This figure was calculated after tax, based on the average Hispanic annual gross income of $33,569, and a finder.com survey which found that 51 percent of Hispanics send money overseas. That’s an estimated 6.15 million Mexican immigrants who send money overseas each year.
Countries that receive the most remittances from the U.S.
Mexico tops the list of more money sent south of the border than any other country, with $25.68 billion recorded by the World Bank in 2015. Mexico is followed by China ($16.23 billion), India ($11.74 billion), the Philippines ($9.65 billion), and Vietnam ($7.32 billion).
Despite this, Mexican immigrants send on average $4,178 per person each year to Mexico. This is less than the average amount sent to any of the other top remittance recipient countries, with the second highest, China, sitting at $11,025 per person per year.
Remittances from the U.S. to the top 5 countries
Source: finder.com, World Bank, U.S. Census Bureau, United Nations, Migration Policy Institute, Expatistan
*Balance of net income is based on average gross salary, minus average remittance fees of 7.68% (sourced from World Bank), average money sent overseas per person per year, and minus income tax
Times are a-changin’
The remittance industry has continued to grow. On average, people who send money to Mexico from the U.S. sent $501 more in 2015 compared to what they sent in 2010, with the average total remittance per year person sitting at $4,178 in 2015 compared to $3,677 five years prior.
Out of the top five remittance countries from the U.S., Vietnam experienced the most growth. $2,313 more was sent to Vietnam on average per person in 2015 ($8,029), compared to $5,717 in 2010. Interestingly, the average amount of money that Filipinos send to the Philippines has fallen by $336 per person per year, from $7,610 in 2010 to $7,274 in 2015.
Average annual remittances per person from
2010 – 2015
Source: finder.com, World Bank, U.S. Census Bureau, United Nations, Migration Policy Institute, Expatistan.
- The average income is based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau (total work experience, both sexes – Asian alone and Hispanic (any race), with the average Mexican income based on Hispanic figures, and figures for China, India, the Philippines, and Vietnam based on Asian average incomes
- The total money sent from America to each country in 2015 was taken directly out of the World Bank remittance matrix for 2015
- The number of immigrants from each country was taken out of United Nations Trends in International Migrant Stock: Migrants by Destination and Origin for 2010 and 2015
- The number of immigrants who send money overseas was calculated by:
(number of immigrants from each country)x(percent of each race that sends money overseas)
- The percentage of each race that sends money overseas was calculated from a finder.com survey about money transfers and it is assumed that the people (Hispanics and Asians) who reported having sent money overseas in the finder.com survey actually do send the money back to their country of origin
- Another assumption is that the money Mexico receives in remittance from the U.S is sent by Mexican immigrants
- The average total amount sent overseas per immigrant per year was calculated by dividing the total money sent from America to each country in 2015 by the number of immigrants who send money overseas
- The balance of average net income per person after remittances and fees was calculated by the average salary for relevant race minused by the average total amount sent overseas per immigrant per year, average remittance fees, and tax
- Remittance fees were calculated using the figure of 7.68% of the total transferred amount (figure taken from World Bank data)
- The difference between the remittance sent annually per person between the years of 2010 and 2015 was calculated by finding the difference between these years’ figures for average remittance sent overseas per immigrant per year