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Migration & Remittances

Basic Statistics

Migrants: 215 Million (UN 2009)

Remittances to developing countries: $372 Billion (2011e)

More than 215 million people (ca 3% of the world's population) live outside their countries of birth. Remittances, the money sent home by migrants, are three times the size of official development assistance and they provide an important lifeline for millions of poor households. Remittances to developing countries are estimated to reach $372 billion in 2011. The overall economic gains from international migration for sending countries, receiving countries, and the migrants themselves are substantial. Read more...


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Migration at a Glance


Migration affects welfare

Slide 1 Migraton

Migration of people across international borders affects economic growth and social welfare in both sending and receiving countries. More than 200 million people now live outside their country of birth.

What makes people move? Strong pressures such as the differences in demographics and real incomes between countries.

Why do people move?

Slide 2 Move

A study in Eastern Europe showed that economic factors like income differences drive short-term migration between post-Soviet states, while demographics are likely to influence long-term movement.

Money sent home...

Slide 3 transfer

Across the world, the money that migrants send home (remittances) is more than twice as large as foreign aid. For many countries, remittances are the largest source of foreign exchange.

Recorded remittances to developing countries are estimated at $372 billion in 2011, growing from $332 billion in 2009.

...often helps development

Slide 4 education

Research shows that migration brings strong economic gains, especially to developing countries, but also to rich countries.

In developing countries, remittances frequently lead to more investment in education and in greater entrepreneurship.

....and can reduce poverty

Slide 5 family

In Latin America & the Caribbean, data from across 11 countries shows that remittances have a positive effect on learning and health, savings, and macroeconomic stability.

Remittances have also contributed to reducing poverty and social inequality in the region.

The so-called "brain drain"

Slide 6 health

But migration can also have disruptive effects, such as the "brain drain"—the massive migration of highly-skilled professionals-especially from small, low-income countries.

Out of every 10 Haitian or Jamaican college graduates, 8 live abroad.

Temporary migration

Slide 7 Farmers

Issues also arise in rich countries because of illegal immigration, social welfare of migrants, and security concerns.

In two Pacific island nations, Vanuatu and Tonga, a pilot scheme will allow temporary seasonal migration of unskilled workers to New Zealand.

Migration benefits all parties

Slide 8 conclusion

In conclusion, migration is a very important aspect of globalization, but also perhaps the least understood and most controversial. The World Bank approaches migration from a development perspective.


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