Richer households in Jamaica receive significantly more remittances than poorer ones.

That’s according to the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) which has been analysing data collected from the Jamaica Survey of Living Conditions.

The Director of the PIOJ’s Economic Planning and Research Division, James Stewart, says more than half of all Jamaicans receive remittances. But even more interesting, is who’s getting it.

According to the survey, utility bills and food are the top two things remittance money is used for. That’s followed by savings and investment, then education.

Mr. Stewart says remittances can help to bring people out of poverty.

Last year, Jamaicans abroad sent home some US$2.3-billion to loved ones on the island. That’s over JMD$304-billion or 15.8% of GDP. According to Mr. Stewart, remittances have grown 30% over the last ten years.

Recently on the PIOJ’s programme, Spotlight on Migration, he says its contribution to the economy is now larger than any industry, including manufacturing and tourism.