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Money floating around the globe.


Money on the move

What are remittances?

Some think of globalization mainly as cross-border flows of goods, services, ideas, and information. But crucial to globalization’s dynamism, and its powers of disruption, is the accelerating global movement of human beings. In fact, this is one of history’s oldest stories. People judge life “over there” to be safer and maybe more prosperous than life “over here,” and they hit the road in search of opportunities for richer lives and livelihoods.

And many of these people hope to help others. In every region of the world, migrants cross borders that separate poorer countries from wealthier ones in hopes of earning money they can share with those they’ve left behind, and the digital age has made it much easier for someone earning a relatively high wage abroad to send money back home in a matter of seconds. These financial flows are known as “remittances,” and they account for an increasingly large part of global economic activity. Small payments by large numbers of people add up: The World Bank estimated earlier this year that global remittances will reach $630 billion in 2022, a 4.2% annual jump.

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