US remittance statistics

Americans sent over $148 billion overseas in 2017.

The US received US$6.1 billion in remittances in 2020 and sent $68 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:

RankSending countryUS$ millions
1Mexico1,774
2Canada662
3United Kingdom465
4Puerto Rico395
5Germany307
6Australia188
7Israel168
8Korea, Rep.150
9China149
10Italy126
11Japan125
12France113
13Bangladesh94
14Thailand84
15Ecuador82
16Switzerland80
17Spain77
18Philippines75
19Saudi Arabia74
20Argentina57

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

RankSending countryUS$ millions
1Mexico30,019
2China16,141
3India11,715
4Philippines11,099
5Vietnam7,735
6Guatemala7,725
7Nigeria6,191
8El Salvador4,611
9Dominican Republic4,594
10Honduras3,769
11Korea, Rep.2,834
12Germany2,801
13France2,373
14Thailand1,859
15Jamaica1,800
16Colombia1,767
17Japan1,593
18Haiti1,494
19Pakistan1,323
20Italy1,314

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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