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Countries Which Receive the Most Remittances

A remittance is a transfer of money from a foreign worker back to people in their home country. Name the 20 countries which received the most remittances in 2021.
Not all these countries are poor. Some are just countries where a large number of workers work in a different country.
Quiz by relessness
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Last updated: May 21, 2023
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First submittedJanuary 15, 2018
Times taken26,031
Average score66.7%
Rating4.38
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Billion $
% of GDP
Country
87.0
3.0
India
53.0
0.3
China
52.7
4.1
Mexico
36.2
9.4
Philippines
33.3
8.4
Egypt
33.0
12.6
Pakistan
27.2
0.9
France
23.0
6.5
Bangladesh
19.6
0.5
Germany
18.1
4.9
Vietnam
17.6
3.7
Nigeria
Billion $
% of GDP
Country
16.3
9.0
Ukraine
15.0
18.0
Guatemala
15.0
2.6
Belgium
10.5
11.7
Dominican Republic
10.4
0.6
Russia
9.5
0.4
Italy
9.3
7.4
Morocco
9.2
0.8
Indonesia
9.0
0.6
Spain
8.5
24.8
Nepal
32 Comments
+35
Level 75
Jan 15, 2018
There has to be a joke about a Nigerian prince in here somewhere...
+44
Level 85
Jan 15, 2018
The appearance of the western European countries is a bit surprising.
+4
Level 72
Jan 16, 2018
Yeah, they surprised me too.
+23
Level 14
Jan 16, 2018
Free movement in the EU, means that a lot of people choose to find higher paying jobs in places such as the UK. They often have English as a 2nd language taught from early on, so can earn much more than they potentially could in the same role in Ukraine for example.
+28
Level 70
Jun 22, 2018
Ukraine isn't in the EU. I expected countries like Poland, Romania and Bulgaria for the reason you mentioned - but they didn't show up. France and Spain did. That surprised me too.
+2
Level 28
May 26, 2021
yup, was surprised to see France there too! but indeed a lot of French people work in other European countries; and some work in the US, too.
+5
Level 54
Feb 27, 2023
a reason why france makes the list is because a lot of their neighbouring countries have great work locations, such as. Monaco, Geneve, Basel, Luxembourg, Vlaanders, Frankfurt etc. All these cities and regions offer many jobs for the french workers, especially Monaco where hundreds of thousands travel to the country everyday to work
+15
Level 82
Jan 16, 2018
Surprised France and Belgium make the list while some other European countries do not, and some other places like the USA, Malaysia, Sudan, Vietnam, Russia, Yemen... and I wonder how much money is made by expats and sent back that is off the books. Probably a ton in certain economies.
+6
Level 66
Jan 16, 2018
Is it possible the European countries might be cases of someone whose job is just across the border into the next country from where they live? I know that happens with people who work in different states here in the US, but I have no idea if that would happen in Europe or not.
+3
Level 14
Jan 16, 2018
Yes this is probably the case. Here in the UK there are a variety of people from all over Europe working in all kinds of jobs. Likely accounts for France, Ukraine etc.
+7
Level 51
Jan 16, 2018
Yes. this happens with Albanian workers in Greece and Czech workers in Germany. Czech ones may actually cross the border daily, while Albanians can only do so weekly.
+3
Level 62
Jun 22, 2018
Yes. For instance the Swiss cities Geneva and Basle have entire suburbs across the border inside France, and most people there commute to Switzerland every day. I guess their earnings count as "remittances"? Also virtually all employees in stone-rich Monaco are French.
+1
Level 50
Jun 24, 2018
This is a good point, as both France and Belgium are French speaking and border each other.
+5
Level 82
Mar 26, 2018
One of the more difficult quizzes to find the pattern of the answers. Got everything but Jordan, but towards the end I was just randomly typing in countries. Surprised Vietnam didn't make the list.
+1
Level 82
Jun 22, 2018
The pattern is countries that have a large diaspora working as expats in other countries, but at the same time don't have too many expats from other countries working in them.

Probably helps to have lived and worked in countries that are full of expats earning and remitting money home like the United States and Saudi Arabia. Then you would have run into people from almost all of these places.

+4
Level 70
Jun 22, 2018
The difference between what I was expecting in this quiz and what was actually there was interesting. I was thinking of countries that were poor, but not so poor that people wouldn't be able to afford to leave. And with high populations. The top eight were therefore expected. But I thought that in richer countries like France and Belgium there would surely be more workers there sending remittances, not receiving them. Didn't consider many others because I thought they would have too low a population.
+2
Level 64
Jun 22, 2018
A really difficult quiz. I am surprised there was no Vietnam, Turkey or Brazil. In the last seconds I guessed Nepal.
+2
Level 74
Oct 8, 2018
Great quiz, thanks! Challenging and thought-provoking.
+1
Level 72
Jul 6, 2022
I'd imagine a large portion of the Dominican Republic's remittances come from baseball players.
+1
Level 53
Apr 30, 2024
I’d agree. I guessed Cuba, Venezuela, Colombia, etc. for that reason. All with people coming to other countries to play sports.
+2
Level 71
May 21, 2023
It's crazy to think that remittances power about a quarter (!) of Nepal's economy, but it makes sense. Where I live in Pennsylvania, there are Nepali grocery stores and small businesses everywhere, on a scale that few other immigrant groups rival. Most of the "Indian" restaurants here are also Nepali owned. While the Nepali community doesn't seem to necessarily be very rich, I imagine all of the money from these small businesses adds up to a lot.
+3
Level 70
May 21, 2023
When I was in Nepal, I was shocked at how much of the wealth in the countrysides seemed to come from remittances. Unemployment was staggering and it was considered normal for a family to send at least one member to Dubai for a couple years as kitchen staff or construction.

I suspect that most of the Nepali people in Pennsylvania are stateless refugees from Bhutan. I knew of some Nepali people in Harrisburg and they told me that there is a whole street dedicated to Nepali businesses there. In this case, they send less remittances than workers in the Gulf or the large community of Nepali immigrants in Australia, as their communities back home are completely fragmented.

+1
Level 71
May 22, 2023
Yep, right on! Many of the ethnic Nepalis where I live (which is part of the Harrisburg metro area) are from Bhutan and are refugees. Not sure if this is the street you are talking about, but there are tons and tons of Nepali businesses on Derry Street--if you take a look on Google Maps, you'll find the easternmost part of it is dominated by Nepali stores. I find it interesting that this street is evidently so famous among the Nepali community that you know of it without ever having visited Harrisburg!

And in regard to remittances you're also probably right--I just assumed that most of it was being sent to Nepal, but in hindsight, many of the refugees don't actually seem to have strong roots there and they often come as families and not individuals. You probably know more about this situation than I do.

+2
Level 81
May 22, 2023
Both in NYC and here in Korea there are a lot of Nepalis.

In Korea to get a visa, they first must pass a Korean language test, so they work in factories and other businesses that are better paying than farm work.

In NYC more are Tibetan and Sherpa than lowland Nepalis from Kathmandu, so they're settled rather than sojourners. Many have restaurants, but also have a wide range of jobs. Some are nannies who make about $70 per hour, despite having nearly no formal education.

I had some students who told me that. It was quite trendy for rich families to have nannies from Nepal. Many were not literate in any language, especially the women, but they spoke English very well.

+1
Level 71
Jun 13, 2023
A good portion of Nepalis also work in India. They do a lot of jobs here, like in security and service industry.
+3
Level 75
May 21, 2023
Pretty random bunch of countries.
+6
Level 72
May 22, 2023
I did notice a pattern here. Everything seems to be either:

European countries with loose borders, where people commute across the border often for work.

Underdeveloped countries with a large expat population.

+1
Level 76
May 23, 2023
How is Belgium on here?
+1
Level 64
Jun 12, 2023
Free movement of people within the EU leading Belgians to have easy access to work in neighbouring countries. Considerable population who speak French working in France, Dutch speaking population working in the Netherlands, small minority working in Luxembourg as well where the EU institutions are located.
+4
Level 47
Jun 11, 2023
Interestingly but logical how most of these countries are developing ones. Enough money to go abroad but lack of opportunities in home country itself. A bit sad though but not bad since that money is given back to home.
+1
Level 41
Jun 11, 2023
The "help" is a curse that does a lot to destroy culture and community. Sad?

Is this what "developing" is code for?

Why are you "exhausted"?

+1
Level 67
Jun 13, 2023
I was struggling to think of many and then in the last 15 seconds I got several