U.S. remittances to countries heavily influenced by income of immigrants in U.S.

When you look at which countries are receiving the largest sums of remittances from the U.S., it becomes clear that the flows are heavily influenced by not only the size of the immigrant population in the U.S. but also by their income level. Let’s examine this by using the number of first generation immigrants.

For example, in 2017 U.S. remittances to Mexico were about $30B. there are about 18 million first generation Hispanics in the U.S, roughly two thirds of whom are Mexican, or 12 million. This comes to the equivalent of about $2,500 per immigrant. Virtually all of remittances to Mexico come from the U.S. ($30B is equivalent to 3% of the country’s GDP.)

In 2017 about $6.1B was remitted to Nigeria, about 28% of all remittance income in that country. There are not more than 250,000 first generation Nigerians in the U.S. That comes to an equivalent of $24,000 per first generation immigrant – ten times that of Mexicans. ($6.1B is equivalent to 1.5% of the country’s GDP.)

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