A significant share of immigrants all over the world send part of their paycheck back to help their families in their home countries. When all of those payments are added together, the amount of money on the move every year is enormous and it competes with international aid as one of the biggest financial inflows to developing countries. According to recently published Pew Research Center data based on figures from the World Bank, it is estimated that the collective sum of remittance payments in 2017 came to $625 billion, a 7% increase from 2016 when the total was estimated at $586 billion.
In the United States alone, it is estimated that more than $148 billion was sent to individuals in other countries in 2017. Back in 2004, a study found that over 60% of the 16.5 million Latin American-born adults living in the country at that time sent money home on a regular basis. Pew’s analysis of the latest World Bank figures found that Mexico was the top destination country for U.S. remittance payments by far with over $30 billion sent home. China was a very distant second with $16.14 billion while India had the third-highest volume at $11.7 billion. The cashflow wasn’t just limited to developing countries, however, with South Korea and Germany coming in at number 11 and 12 on the list with $2.83 and $2.80 billion respectively in 2017.
This article originally appeared on Forbes