International Day of Family Remittances is observed on June 16 every year to mark the contributions made by over 200 million migrants to improve the lives of their family members back home. The day has been adopted by the United Nations General Assembly and is globally recognized. Half of these remittances go to rural areas where they have the power to create a huge impact. This day seeks to spread more awareness about the impact these contributions have on households, communities, and nations.
History of International Day of Family Remittances
Remittances, or cross-border person-to-person payments of relatively small value, are vital to the developing world. Individual remittances may be of relatively small value, but overall these flows are three times larger than global official development assistance. Many households in the developing world depend entirely on these funds. These remittances run their household, send children to school and pay for healthcare.
International Day of Family Remittances is globally recognized and is a key initiative in the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration (Objective 20), which urges a cut in transfer costs and greater financial inclusion through remittances. Remittance flows have increased five-fold over the past two decades, serving in a counter-cyclical capacity during economic downturns in recipient countries.
International Day of Family Remittances is important as there are around 800 million family members on the receiving end of it. The day highlights the determination and resilience of the many migrant workers in the face of financial insecurities and natural as well as climate-related disasters. Remittances form the financial aspect of the social contract that binds migrants to their families back home. Overall, these inflows total in the billions, but the value of an average remittance is around $200 to $300 a month. The United Nations has repeatedly called on governments, the private sector, development organizations, and civil society to promote digital and financial solutions for these flows that foster greater social and economic inclusion.
International Day of Family Remittances timeline
Several European countries like Spain, Italy, and Ireland depend heavily on remittances from their emigrants.
Italy is the first country in the world to enact a law to protect remittances.
Spain is the first country to sign an international treaty with Argentina to lower the cost of remittances received.
In September, the World Bank establishes the first international database of remittance prices.
International Day of Family Remittances FAQs
What does it mean when someone asks for a remittance?
The term is used to describe a sum of money sent by someone working abroad to his or her family back home.
How do remittances help a country?
Remittances can improve the well-being of family members left behind and boost the receiving country’s economy.
What are family remittances?
Family remittances are money transfers made by people living abroad to family members in their home country.
How to Observe International Day of Family Remittances
Tell your family and friends about International Day of Family Remittances and its purpose so they too can be aware of this important phenomenon. If you know of migrant workers, give them a meal to honor their hard work and separation from their families.
Post on your social media accounts
Posting about the issue and the problems faced by migrants in remitting funds home on your social media accounts is an easy and impactful way to help the cause. You could create new hashtags and awareness campaigns.
Share your ideas
Share your achievements, current initiatives, and ideas with the authorities to see how you can have a direct impact on the world. As a migrant worker sending home money, you deserve recognition for your sacrifice.
5 Facts About Remittances That Will Surprise You
India tops the list
India has been the largest recipient of remittances since 2008.
Tonga tops the other list
In terms of remittances as a share of gross domestic product, Tonga is first on the list with a 38% share.
It’s extremely common
Around one in nine people around the world are supported by funds sent home by migrant workers.
The funds go to rural areas
About half of all remittances go to rural areas where 75% of the world's poor and food insecure live.
They can be costly to send
Remittances can be expensive — on average, conversions and fees cost 7% of the amount sent.
Why International Day of Family Remittances is Important
People depend on it for necessities
Around 75% of remittances are used to purchase food, cover medical expenses and pay for school fees or housing. In times of crisis, migrant workers may send more money home due to the loss of crops or family emergencies.
It appreciates migrant work
Migrants make an invaluable contribution to the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals through remittances. They contribute to ending poverty and hunger, health, education, clean water and sanitation, decent work and economic growth, and decreased inequalities.
It supports foreign nationals
The day supports the goal of one billion people reaching their own Sustainable Development Goals. This is one-seventh of the world population.
International Day of Family Remittances dates