Migration and Development Brief

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Migration and Development Briefs are prepared by the Migration and Remittances Unit, Development Economics (DEC). The brief aims to provide an update on key developments in the area of migration and remittance flows and related policies over the past six months. It also provides medium-term projections of remittance flows to developing countries. A special topic is included in each brief. The brief is produced twice a year.

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  • Publication
    Migration and Development Brief, No. 20
    (2013-04-19) Aga, Gemechu Ayana; Eigen-Zucchi, Christian; Plaza, Sonia; Silwal, Ani Rudra
    Officially recorded remittance flows to developing countries reached an estimated $401 billion in 2012, growing by 5.3 percent compared with 2011. Remittance flows are expected to grow at an average of 8.8 percent annual rate during 2013-2015 to about $515 billion in 2015. Employment conditions in the United States (U.S.), including for migrants are improving, as also reflected in the quota for H-1B visas being rapidly filled for fiscal year 2014. Political momentum behind immigration reform in the US is growing. Average remittance prices were broadly unchanged at just above 9 percent over the last year, while the weighted average dropped in the first quarter of 2013 to an all-time low of 6.9 percent. While this suggests progress in reducing prices in high volume remittance corridors, prices continue to remain high in smaller corridors, affecting countries that have greater dependence on remittances. Migration and remittances are being featured in ongoing discussions on the millennium development goals and the post-2015 agenda.
  • Publication
    Remittances to Developing Countries Will Surpass $400 Billion in 2012
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2012-11-20) Ratha, Dilip; Silwal, Ani
    The officially recorded remittances to developing countries are expected to reach 406 billion dollar in 2012, up by 6.5 percentage from 381 billion dollar in 2011. The true size of remittance flows, including unrecorded flows through formal and informal channels, is believed to be significantly larger. Compared to private capital flows, remittance flows have shown remarkable resilience since the global financial crisis, registering only a modest fall in 2009, followed by a rapid recovery. The size of remittance flows to developing countries is now more than three times that of official development assistance.
  • Publication
    Remittance Flows in 2011 : An Update
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2012-04-23) Ratha, Dilip
    Officially recorded remittance flows to developing countries are estimated to have reached $372 billion in 2011, an increase of 12.1 percent over 2010. The growth rate of remittances was higher in 2011 than in 2010 for all regions except Middle East and North Africa, where flows were moderated by the Arab Spring. Remittance flows to developing countries are expected to grow at 7-8 percent annually to reach $467 billion by 2014. Worldwide remittance flows, including those to high-income countries, are expected to reach $615 billion by 2014. Major revisions to our December 2011 estimates include remittance flows to Egypt, India, China, and Thailand.
  • Publication
    Outlook for Remittance Flows 2012-14 : Remittance Flows to Developing Countries Exceed $350 Billion in 2011
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2011-12-01) Mohapatra, Sanket; Ratha, Dilip; Silwal, Ani
    Officially recorded remittance flows to developing countries are estimated to have reached $351 billion in 2011, up 8 percent over 2010. For the first time since the global financial crisis, remittance flows to all six developing regions rose in 2011. Growth of remittances in 2011 exceeded our earlier expectations in four regions, especially in Europe and Central Asia (due to higher outward flows from Russia that benefited from high oil prices) and Sub-Saharan Africa (due to strong south-south flows and weaker currencies in some countries that attracted larger remittances). By contrast, growth in remittance flows to Latin America and Caribbean was lower than previously expected, due to continuing weakness in the U.S. economy and Spain. Remittance costs have fallen steadily from 8.8 percent in 2008 to 7.3 percent in the third quarter of 2011. However, remittance costs continue to remain high, especially in Africa and in small nations where remittances provide a life line to the poor.
  • Publication
    Remittance Trends 2007
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2007-11) Ratha, Dilip; Vijayalakshmi, K. M.; Xu, Zhimei
    This note describes broad regional and country specific trends in remittance flows worldwide, and highlights some structural changes that will affect remittance flows in the future. The main messages are: remittance flows to Latin America and the Caribbean slowed on the back of a weakening U.S. economy and tighter enforcement of immigration laws. Nevertheless, the growth of remittances to developing countries remains robust because of strong growth in Europe and Asia. The remittance industry is experiencing some positive structural changes with the advent of cell phone and internet-based remittance instruments. These changes may have profound effects on remittance flows to previously underserved areas. The diffusion of these structural changes, however, is slowed by a lack of clarity on key regulations (including those relating to money laundering and other financial crimes). Remittance costs have fallen, but not far enough, especially in the South-South corridors.