DESK REVIEWS | 02.02.08. Remittances

DESK REVIEW | 02.02.08. Remittances

According to the World Bank, remittances play an important role in Indonesia. The World Bank states that almost seven per cent of Indonesia’s labour force (9 million people) worked overseas in 2016. They sent more than IDR 118 trillion ($8.9 billion), which amounts to about one per cent of GDP, in remittances. It remains unclear what proportion is spent on health care (World Bank, 2017).

Research has found that remittances positively contribute to the health status of adult recipients in rural areas. It was reported that adults in household with family members who were labour migrants were ‘40% less likely to be underweight than those in non-migrant households’. This suggests that remittances may improve the overall health of families (Lu, 2013; UNESCO, 2017, p.6).


Lu, Y. (2013). Household Migration, Remittances and Their Impact on Health in Indonesia 1. International Migration, 51, e202–e215.

UNESCO. (2017). Overview of Internal Migration in Indonesia. Unesco.

World Bank. (2017). Indonesia Can Improve Opportunities for and Protection of Its Migrants Working Abroad. Press Release.

A large part of payments for healthcare come from remittances, where richer family members living in the cities or diaspora send money to less affluent family members often living in the slums or rural areas. Research based on household surveys, suggested that about one third of hospital bills in Kenya are paid through remittances (Stuart & Ph, 2011).


Stuart, G. U. Y., & Ph, D. (2011). Cash In , Cash Out. (January).

While remittances played an important role in supporting families in many localities throughout the country given the large migration to the U.S. through decades, their use has been primarily spent in basic subsistence items such as food and clothing.

Mexico is the fourth largest remittance recipient in the world, and the rise in technology based financial services that make sending money much easier, using banks, mobile devices, stores, etc., have facilitated this. In 2015 it received nearly $25 billion in remittances, just behind India ($72 billion), China ($62 billion), and the Philippines ($30 billion). Most of these resources come from Mexican migrants living in the U.S. which represent 95.6% of Mexico’s remittances (Consejo Nacional de Población et al, 2018).

According to the study, based on different data sources, the main uses of remittances sent by Mexicans are buying clothes and groceries, followed in much less percentages by education, settling debts, health services, and buying, renovating, or building homes (CONAPO & Fundación BBVA Bancomer, 2018).


CONAPO, & Fundación BBVA Bancomer. (2018). Anuario de Migración y Remesas México 2018.

Consejo Nacional de Población, Fundación BBVA Bancomer y BBVA Research (2018). Anuario de Migración y Remesas. México 2018. CONAPO-Fundación BBVA Bancomer-BBVA Research. 1ra edición, México, pp.184.

No, people sending money back to SA towards family sustaining themselves does not play an important role in financing health care.