Private Foreign Aid

The LATimes has a superb set of articles on remittances, it focuses not just on remittances from the U.S. to Mexico but also from Japan to the Phillipines, Italy to Kenya and  Florida to Haiti. 

Migrants have been sending money home, in one form or another, for
centuries. But only recently have economists recognized its
significance. Today, remittances are the largest, fastest-growing and
most reliable source of income for developing countries. Poor nations
reported $167 billion in receipts from overseas workers last year,
according to the World Bank, more than all foreign aid. Including
unrecorded transactions, the bank estimates that the total exceeded
$250 billion.

…Mexico’s annual remittance inflow has doubled since 2002 and reached
$20 billion last year, second only to petroleum as a generator of
wealth for the country.

Other developing nations also depend
heavily on their migrants’ money. Brazilian laborers in Japan send home
more than $2 billion a year, out-earning their country’s coffee
exports. Remittances bring in more than tea exports do in Sri Lanka and
tourism does in Morocco. In Jordan, Lesotho, Nicaragua, Tonga and
Tajikistan, they provide more than a quarter of the gross national


Thanks to Carl Close for the pointer.