More than 26% of Nepali households have someone working outside the country. This includes 43.4% of families in Far-Western Province, where most migrate to India. Gandaki Province is next with 38.3%, while the number is 18.3% in Province 3, which includes Kathmandu.
A nationwide survey by Sharecast Initiative shows that most of the $6.6million that the 4 million Nepalis working abroad sent home is used for basics like food (60%), clothing (42%), medical treatment (36%) and children’s education (35%). Only a small amount (10%) is invested in land and just 6.5% is saved in a bank.
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The proportion of households with at least one person working abroad is highest among Muslims (36%) and Hill Dalit (34%) families, while ‘High Caste’ Tarai and Tharu households have the fewest members abroad.
The survey found that most workers (48%) used bank transfers to send their earnings home, while a third still use the informal hundi channel. Only 1% say they send money home with friends. Hundi transfers are lowest in Province 3 (24%), while bank transfers were lowest in Far-Western Province (21%).
Thanks in part to these foreign earnings, the survey reports a number of positive developments: 94% of respondents had electricity, 95% had latrines, 74% (which is still low) had a drinking water supply, 75% now live near some kind of road, and 70% of households use LPG for cooking.
Nepal’s poverty rate has fallen dramatically due to remittances, which could be why survey results show that 41% of Nepalis feel the country is headed in the right direction. What should shock Nepal’s politicians is just how low an opinion the people have of them. More than 54% of respondents said they did not believe what political leaders said, and half did not trust the parties. More than a quarter did not trust the Federal Parliament, and 26% were not satisfied with local governments.