WorldRemit has released the results of a survey it conducted in July to understand the impact of the global rise in the cost of living on remittances sent back home by migrants living and working in the US, the UK, and Australia.
WorldRemit, which serves more than 5 million customers across 130 countries worldwide, including Kenya, received responses from 1,000 migrants in each of the countries surveyed, bringing the total number of respondents to 3,000.
The surveys’ key findings are as highlighted below:
- Globally, 78% of remittance senders agree that the cost of living has increased for themselves
- 75% of respondents said that the costs of living for those they send money to has increased since the start of the year
- Daily expenses, healthcare and educational support continue to be major reasons for sending
- The survey also shows that migrants around the world have changed their spending habits during this period of inflation to maintain their financial obligation to family and loved ones back home.
- 49% reported that they eat out less, 46% save on day-to-day expenses, 28% limit social gatherings to save money, and 25% opt for public transportation rather than driving themselves
“Migrants’ resilience and commitment to their loved ones back home has proven to be vital, especially in a period where household expenses are increasing around the world,” said Jorge Godinez Reyes, Head of the Americas, WorldRemit. “This latest study proves that even during times of financial instability, many migrants are making conscious adjustments to their daily lives to maintain the regular flow of remittances to families and loved ones back home.”
The resilience of remittances is welcome news for Kenya considering money sent back home by Kenyans in the diaspora represents one of the top sources of forex for the country, surpassing tourism, tea, and horticultural exports in recent years.
Data from the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) shows that remittances reached $3.71 billion (Kshs 421.98 billion) in 2021, up 20.2 percent from $3.09 billion (Kshs 351.46 billion) a year earlier. Remittances in Kenya have hit a record high every year since 2016.
WorldRemit notes that the continued shift to digital remittance technologies has made it more convenient and affordable for those in the diaspora to send money back home.
The London based digital remittances firm also noted that Kenya is among the top 3 countries in Africa where WorldRemit users globally send money to. The company processed transactions to Kenya worth 170 million GBP (approximately Kshs 24.47 billion) as of June 1, 2022. This figure puts Kenya at par with Zimbabwe and second only to Nigeria, where WorldRemit users globally sent 270 million GBP (approximately Kshs 38.86 billion).
International money senders living in the USA, Australia, and the UK, aged above 18 voluntarily responded to a 13-question survey about how cost of living and inflation has changed behaviours when it comes to sending remittances between June 15 and 29, 2022.
The survey took place on the Attest platform and resulted in 3,000 responses from people who have sent remittances in the past year (those who responded that they have not sent remittance in the past year were exited from the survey to create a viable participant base).
No quotas (based on either gender or age) were set for the survey, meaning that the results are not intended to be nationally representative.