Domestic Remittances are Just as Important as International Remittances (Results from the 2018 National Migration Survey)

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Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Remittances are often associated with foreign currency inflows, or the money that Filipinos abroad send to their families in the Philippines. However, remittances are money transfers that can come from both domestic and foreign sources. The 2018 National Migration Survey (NMS 2018), the first national survey on the mobility of the Philippine population asked about remittances, or money transfers sent or received by Filipinos.

The survey found that 16 percent of the population aged 15 and over received remittances and 10 percent sent remittances to other family members in the past 12 months (July 2017-June 2018). Among those who reported that they received remittances, about the same percentage got it from either a domestic source or a foreign source (both at 48%), while four percent received from both sources. On the other hand, among those who reported having sent remittances, almost all (98%) sent it to a domestic recipient, i.e. within the Philippines. More females than males received remittances (20% vs. 12%, respectively).  Also, slightly higher percentage of females than males sent remittances (11% vs. 9%, respectively) (Table 1).

Figure 1. Percentage of population age 15 and over who received or sent remittances in the past 12 months, by age Philippines, 2018

Figure 1

The percentage receiving remittances increases with age, thus, the age group with the highest percentage receiving remittances were the senior citizens (age 60 and over) at 21 percent. Those in the age groups 30-39 and 40-49 registered the highest percentage who sent remittances (Figure 1 and Table 2).

Money transfer operators (MTO) was the predominant mode for transferring remittances both domestically (90%) and internationally (72%), followed by remittances through banks. Transfers through families and friends were not so common (Table 3).