Only 25 percent of the remittance-receiving households invest in productive sectors after paying for livelihood necessities, while others do not, the statistical agency said in a survey yesterday.
Remittance receivers spend 39 percent of funds on food and non-food items, according to the survey by Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics.
BBS surveyed 9,961 households between January 2013 and June 2014.
The main purpose of the survey is to identify the different uses of inward remittance, said Dilder Hossain, programme director of the survey, Use of Remittance 2013.
Almost 8.6 million Bangladeshis are currently working abroad.
Nearly two million additional young people join the labour force every year and the outflow of workers will continue in the future due to the country's lack of ability to create jobs at home, Hossain said.
People from Rangpur invest the highest—36.63 percent of remittance, while those of Sylhet invest only 16.33 percent. In the last year, homebuilding takes the largest share of remittance—72.05 percent, followed by flat purchase standing at 15.89 percent, Hossain added.
Barisal as a division spends 81.84 percent of remittance on home construction, followed by Khulna at 80.47 percent, Rangpur at 79.96 percent and Rajshahi at 78.92 percent.
Dhaka spends the lowest in home construction, while topping the list of flat buyers with 68.30 percent.
Nationally, 56.96 percent of households receiving remittance save from the income. Banks are the biggest custodians of savings from remittance income, Hossain said.
About 84.01 percent of total savers kept their savings in banks in different forms: savings accounts, savings bonds and timed deposits.
Banks are the main saving destinations in all divisions, he added.
Among the major expenditures from remittance: 77.99 percent is spent on land purchase, especially on the divisional level.
Remittance receiving households of Barisal, Dhaka, Khulna, Rajshahi and Rangpur spend the majority of their income to purchase land.
Remittance receivers in Chittagong scored lowest with 56.06 percent of funds spent on land purchases, followed by 62.70 percent in Sylhet, the survey showed. Most migrant workers lack higher education, with very few professionals, like doctors and engineers, in the mix, Hossain said.
The majority, 62 percent, are below secondary school certificate level, while only 2.41 percent have professional education, the survey revealed.
Banking is the most popular and widely used system for sending remittance, Hossain said.
Two-thirds of remitters use proper banking channels to send money home, and 6.87 percent use Western Union. 'Hundi', an illegal system of sending money, is used by 10.04 percent of remitters, data showed. Around 96 percent of remittance is transferred as cash.
The BBS survey aimed to estimate the share of investment, savings, and consumption as part of total inward remittances and to identify the socio-economic conditions of the remittance receiving households and to provide supplementary information for national income accounting.