Remittances represent household income from foreign economies arising mainly from the temporary or permanent movement of people to those economies. Remittances include cash and non-cash items that flow through formal channels, such as electronic wire, or through informal channels, such as money or goods carried across borders. They largely consist of funds and non-cash items sent or given by individuals who have migrated to a new economy and become resident there, and the net compensation of border, seasonal, or other short-term workers who are temporarily employed in an economy in which they are not resident. (IMF, 2008). The World Bank publishes data (staff estimates based on IMF balance of payments data) annually on remittance inflows and outflows by country.

Remittance data is usually compiled by the Central Bank and is not easy to collect. The IMF’s Balance of Payments Manual 6 provides guidance on data collection, but data collection frameworks and the quality of data vary considerably across countries. There is currently a drive to improve the quality and availability of remittance data globally as part of the International Working Group to Improve Data on Remittance Flows under the auspices of KNOMAD. In the future RemitSCOPE will aim to provide further insight into the data collection methodology and which components are included in the data (e.g., cash / in-kind and remittances sent through informal channels).