US remittance statistics

Americans sent over $148 billion overseas in 2017.

Woman doing an international money transfer

The US received US$6.6 billion in remittances in 2017 and sent US$148 billion overseas. We’ve unpacked the most recently available data from the World Bank to get an idea of where this money is coming from.

What does remittance mean?

Remittance refers to the transfer of money. In this case, it’s about transferring funds from someone in one country to a person in another country. It’s particularly important in many developing nations, where international remittances make up a significant portion of the country’s GDP. The total value of remittances received in the United States has increased significantly over the past two decades.

Where is the money coming from?

Of all the countries that send remittances to the USA, Mexico sends the most, with $1.7 billion being sent in 2017. Canada sends the second most at $662 million followed by the UK at $465 million.

Top 22 countries that send remittances to the US:

Rank Sending country US$ millions
1 Mexico 1,774
2 Canada 662
3 United Kingdom 465
4 Puerto Rico 395
5 Germany 307
6 Australia 188
7 Israel 168
8 Korea, Rep. 150
9 China 149
10 Italy 126
11 Japan 125
12 France 113
13 Bangladesh 94
14 Thailand 84
15 Ecuador 82
16 Switzerland 80
17 Spain 77
18 Philippines 75
19 Saudi Arabia 74
20 Argentina 57

Sources: World Bank, finder.com

Where are remittances sent to?

Money flows both ways, with remittances also being sent out of the US. Overall, the United States sends way more money overseas than it receives, with $148 billion being sent in 2017. The most money was sent to Mexico, followed by China, India and the Philippines.

Top 20 countries that the USA sends money to:

Sources: World Bank, finder.com

Rank Sending country US$ millions
1 Mexico 30,019
2 China 16,141
3 India 11,715
4 Philippines 11,099
5 Vietnam 7,735
6 Guatemala 7,725
7 Nigeria 6,191
8 El Salvador 4,611
9 Dominican Republic 4,594
10 Honduras 3,769
11 Korea, Rep. 2,834
12 Germany 2,801
13 France 2,373
14 Thailand 1,859
15 Jamaica 1,800
16 Colombia 1,767
17 Japan 1,593
18 Haiti 1,494
19 Pakistan 1,323
20 Italy 1,314

What are the remittance fees around the world?

With such an enormous amount of money being moved across borders, what is the cost of sending money overseas? The fees that most providers charge include exchange-rate margins as well as a transfer fee.

The global average rate for remittances is 7.14%*, but this varies by country and method of payment. Banks are by far the most expensive method to remit money, with fees averaging 10.8%. Money transfer operators charge an average fee of 6.2%, while post offices charge the least at 5.5%. However, this is just an average, and the number can vary. Make sure to compare what options are available to you before diving in.

The map below shows the average rate of remittance fees globally and is sortable by the year. In 2017, the most expensive countries included Angola at 24% and Nigeria at 25%.

Net remittances

The world map below illustrates which countries receive the most remittances and which countries send out the most. To show this, we’ve used the data on what each country receives in remittances minus what it sends out. If a country has a negative value, this means that it’s sending out more than what it’s receiving.

The United States, for example, is the country that sends out the most money in remittances compared to what it receives. India, on the other hand, receives more remittance payments than it sends out.


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