Working in the UK and sending money back home is common practice among many expats – sometimes to support their family directly, others just to send a gift to a friend that still lives in their country of origin. We tried to quantify this more precisely, and found out that the UK consistently sends over $20 billion abroad every year through international money transfers.
Using the most recently available data from World Bank, along with findings from our own surveys, we’ve thus tried to get an idea of where this money is going and what it’s being sent for.
The latest stats
Which countries receive the most money?
Nigeria receives more money from the UK than any other country, accounting for 14.8% of all transfers abroad. This is followed by India (14.1%), France (6.7%), Pakistan (6.7%) and Germany (4.9%).
Almost half of all transfers abroad go to one of these countries.
The survey also shed light on which people send money abroad the most, according to gender, region and age group.
Men are more likely to have made an international money transfer than women: 41% compared to 29%.
41% of men
have transferred money abroad.
29% of women
have done the same.
The three regions of the UK that are the most likely to have transferred money abroad, in order, are:
1. London: 61.4% 2. North East: 49.0% 3. West Midlands: 36.9%
Age also seems to make a significant difference to this probability, with 58.8% of millennials having transferred money abroad, compared to 37.2% of members of generation X, and 22.6% of baby boomers. In other words, younger adults are more likely to send money abroad.
Remittances from the UK to India reached a high of $4.3 billion in 2012, then dropped in 2013 when it was overtaken by Nigeria. Nigeria received the most money from the UK for two years until India reclaimed that title in 2015. 2016 saw Nigeria reclaim the top spot as remittances from the UK to India fell to $3.6 billion, its lowest since 2010. Two other countries that experienced a significant drop in 2013 were Pakistan and Bangladesh. Pakistan received $1.5 billion in 2012, which dropped to $1.1 billion in 2013. The amount of money sent to Bangladesh dropped from $850 million in 2012 to $470 million in 2013.
Charlie Barton is a publisher at Finder. He specialises in banking and investments products, including banking apps, current accounts, share-dealing platforms and stocks and shares ISAs. Charlie has a first-class degree from the London School of Economics, and in his spare time enjoys long walks on the beach.
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