Migration and Development Brief

Dilip Ratha, Supriyo De, Ervin Dervisevic, Christian Eigen-Zucchi, Sonia Plaza, Kirsten Schuettler, Hanspeter Wyss, Soonhwa Yi, Seyed Reza Yousefi

Thematic Working Groups
Data and Demographics
Remittances and Diaspora Resources
East Asia and Pacific
Europe and Central Asia
Latin America and the Caribbean
Middle East and North Africa
North America
South Asia
The World Region
  • Remittances to developing countries are projected to grow by 5.0 percent to reach US$435 billion in 2014 (accelerating from the 3.4 percent expansion of 2013), and rise further by 4.4 percent to US$454 billion in 2015. In 2013, remittances were more than three times larger than ODA and, excluding China, significantly exceeded foreign direct investment flows to developing countries. Growth of remittances in 2014 is being led by three regions: East Asia and the Pacific, South Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • The global average cost of sending remittances continued its downward trend in the third quarter of 2014, falling to 7.9 percent of the value sent, compared to 8.9 percent a year earlier. Competition and the expansion of mobile-phone and internet-based technologies hold much potential to continue driving down fees. Risk-based approaches to the application of anti-money laundering regulations to remittance operators and international banks hosting their bank accounts will be important to ensuring that compliance does not result in undue costs, which could slow the fall in remittance costs and leave substantial flows underground.
  • Forced migration due to conflict is at its highest level since World War II, affecting more than 51 million people. In addition, forced migration driven by natural disasters affects another 22 million people, bringing the total to at least 73 million. Forced displacement is typically viewed as a humanitarian issue, but given that it has impacts on growth, employment, and public spending for countries of both origin and destination, it is also a major development issue.
  • Nine out of ten refugees were being hosted in developing countries at the end of 2013, with Pakistan and Iran the largest of these hosts. Many refugees and internally displaced people are living in protracted situations of displacement; in 2013, an estimated two-thirds of the world’s refugees had been in exile for more than five years, and half of them were children.