WorldRemit Study Finds Multiple Countries Pay More Than 50% of Monthly Income on School Supplies

15% of the Malaysian workforce consists of immigrant workers, sending money home to their families worldwide

Planning for a child’s return to school can take months of financial planning for those working overseas to support family in their home country (image for illustration purpose)

Back-to-School season is here for many countries worldwide! Around the world, families are readying their children with the proper gear for a successful school year.

In keeping with the spirit of this exciting time, WorldRemit conducted a 10-country study[1] to determine the true cost of education across a number of markets, mining data to compare average costs of basic educational needs with average annual incomes and fertility rates.

WorldRemit compared four developed economies in the study – the USA, UK, Australia and Canada – and found educational costs per household are the highest in the UK, averaging USD 339.30 / GBP 244.65, or 8% of the total monthly income for nearly half of all residents.

Across these four countries, those with Nigerian ancestry make up more than half a million of the countries’ populations in total, where costs of basic school supplies are more than 100% of the average monthly salary for a native Nigerian household. Alternatively, for Filipinos, of whom 12 million live in countries other than the Philippines, those back home can expect to pay 64% of their monthly salary to cover school expenses this season.

All figures are USD
CountryAverage Annual IncomeAverage Monthly IncomeAverage Children per householdAverage Cost of School Supplies per childAverage Total Cost of School Supplies per householdPercentage of Monthly Income
United Kingdom46% make $36-68k4,3331.86182.42339.308%
United States49% make $39-87k52501.84168.02309.166%
Canada52% make $38-105k5,9581.57204.88321.665%
Australia48% make $53-119k7,1661.74171.92299.144%


More than 244 million people are classified as immigrants around the world and account for large percentages of populations in countries like the United States (14.4% of the total population)[2], the UK (9%)[3] Australia (30%)[4] and Canada (21.5%)[5].

In these countries, where average household incomes are amongst the highest in the world, immigrants and overseas foreign workers are often working to support themselves whilst also supporting their families and communities back home including here in Malaysia.

According to a recent Consumer Expectations Survey (CES),[6] education is one of the primary reasons immigrants and overseas foreign workers (OFWs) send money back to their home countries. Due to the high cost of education in many parts of the world and the opportunities an education provides to a young person, it is vital for senders to be able to support those dearest to them with the gift of an education.

For the nearly 250 million people who live in different countries than their families, understanding the true cost of education is often top of mind.

As such, planning for a child’s return to school can take months of financial planning for those working overseas to support their families in their home country.

To learn more about the study and see full results, visit  


*In the study, WorldRemit researched basic school supplies in the USA, UK, Canada, Australia, the Philippines, Mexico, Uganda, Tanzania, India and Nigeria.

The primary school items were selected based on the most common back to school items. The price of each item was searched for online and the lowest price item was selected from one of the most popular online retailers in that country. The prices were researched in July 2021. The exchange rate from the local currency was calculated on 26/07/2021 at 10:00 BST. The fertility rate and income were gathered from the CIA world factbook.


[1]WorldRemit back to school cost overview. (2021).
[2] United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2015). Trends in International Migrant Stock: The 2015 Revision. (United Nations database, POP/DB/MIG/Stock/Rev.2015).
[3] UK Parliament, House of Commons Library: Migration Statistics (2021, Quarter 2).
[4] Australian Bureau of Statistics: Migration, Australia  (2021, Quarter 2).
[5] Statista: Immigration in Canada: Statistics & facts (2021, Quarter 3).
[6] Consumer Expectations Survey (CES). Media and Research – Consumer Expectations Survey (2021, Quarter 2).