Are remittances a major part of Bosnian’s economy?

Half of Bosnian s live outside Bosnia.  There are at least two million people living abroad who originate from Bosnia and Herzegovina according to some studies. Emigrants often send home money to help families and friends in the country.  We examine where they are going and how much they are contributing to the Bosnian economy.

How much are Remittances worth?

Source: World Bank Group

The World Bank keeps track of annual remittances or money sent back from emigrants by country on a yearly scale.  Every country even EU countries have emigrants putting money back in the local economy.

Source: World Bank Group

A better indicator of how much money remittances are vital to individual countries is by comparing the percentage of the GDP accounted for by remittances.  Bosnia as the thick black line has been getting better economically and so the percentage remittances play in the GDP has radically shrunk in the last 20 years to match those of other Balkan countries.

Where are Bosnian’s going and sending money from?

Every Bosnian dreams of going to rich Western European country.  There musicians even sing about it “I am from Bosnia take me to America” is the lines repeated again and again by alternative rock group Dubioza kolektiv.

Using World Bank Data on where migrants actually end up however we see most end up in other Balkan countries instead of going further abroad to countries where the language and culture is different.

Source: World Bank Group

The remittances sent home however shows that while small in the number of migrants Western European countries such as the United States, Germany, and Austria send more money back per emigrant than other countries.

Source: World Bank Group

Immigrants to Bosnia

Surprisingly there is some immigration happening into Bosnia mainly to bordering Balkan countries.

Source: World Bank Group


Remittances still play an oversize role in many Balkan countries including Bosnia.  While less Bosnians get to live in work in Western European countries those immigrants send more money back per emigrant than others.  According to the Balkan barometer of the Regional Cooperation Council, the majority of the population is dissatisfied with the life in the country and 50 per cent are prepared to leave and work abroad.

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