Global Remittances Remain Resilient, Even During the Pandemic

May 27, 2021

It is common for migrant workers to regularly send money back to their families in their home countries. These payments, known as remittances, are an important part of many emerging economies, paying for essential services like schooling and healthcare. 

The World Bank anticipated a steep decline in remittances, estimating a 20% decline early in the pandemic, then a more optimistic projection of a 14% decline last autumn. 

In 2020, global remittances fell just 2.4% from the previous year to a total of $702 billion. That’s less than half of the decline seen in 2009, following the financial crisis.

The Wall Street Journal notes that some of the resilience stems from increased use of remittances coming through formal channels like wire transfers, which makes data collection easier. The Journal also notes that government stimulus programs, especially in the U.S. and Europe, have allowed migrant workers to retain economic stability and the ability to continue their remittances. 

The Journal also cites a survey from money-transfer company MoneyGram that found 70% of migrant workers said the pandemic caused them to increased the amount they sent home.


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