International immigrants all over the world sent a total of $529 billion in remittances back to their home countries in 2012, according to the World Bank.
More than 20 percent of all the money sent home by immigrants globally originated in the United States, more than any other country in the world. People living in the U.S. sent a total $123 billion to friends and family living in other countries in 2012. That's 0.75 percent of the United States' GDP in 2012.
In recent decades, as the number of people from low- and middle-income nations migrating to high-income countries for better-paid work has risen, so has the total volume of remittances. The amount of money flowing out of the U.S. in the form of remittances has almost tripled in the last 20 years.
A huge portion of the money that goes out of the U.S. in the form of remittances is not reported. Which is why this number -- the $123 billion -- is much higher than the officially reported $51 billion number. The World Bank came up with the higher, more accurate number using a statistical model to estimate the amount of money leaving the U.S. in the form of remittances.
Here’s a chart that looks at officially recorded remittances since 1970, or the official amount of money that international immigrants living in the U.S. sent home. The dramatic increase in the amount of money flowing out of the country is quite apparent.
Mexico, China and India combined receive almost 40 percent of all the money that flows out of the United States in the form of remittances.
Middle- and low-income countries aren’t the only ones that benefit from remittances from the U.S. Germany received $2.5 billion in remittances from the U.S. in 2012, and France received $1.8 billion.
Here’s a map that looks at all the countries that receive more than $1 million in remittances from immigrant workers in the U.S. Click on any country for more info:
U.S. residents also received money in remittances, though far less than they sent out. In 2012, people living in the U.S. received $4 billion in remittances from friends and family in other countries.
Mexico not only tops the list of countries to which U.S. residents give money in the form of remittances, but it is also the country that sends U.S. residents a lot of money.
U.S. residents received just a little under $1 billion from Mexican residents. Canada, Puerto Rico and the United Kingdom were other countries that sent a lot of money to the U.S. in the form of remittances.
Here’s a map that looks at all the countries that sent U.S. residents more than $1 million in remittances. Click on any country for more info: