2001 Survey on Overseas Filipinios (SOF)

Reference Number: 


Release Date: 

Thursday, May 2, 2002


OFWs in April to September 2001 reached the 1.03 million

  • The number of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who worked abroad during the period April to September 2001 was estimated at 1.03 million, up by 5.2 percent from 978 thousand a year ago.
  • Ten of the sixteen regions exhibited an increase in the number of OFWs namely National Capital Region, Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Bicol Region, Northern Mindanao, Southern Mindanao, Central Mindanao, Caraga and Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
  • Meanwhile, the number of Overseas Contract Workers (OCWs) who comprised 93.7 percent of the total OFWs, went up by 4.6 percent from 922 thousand in April to September 2000 to 964 thousand in April to September 2001.
  • An increase in the number of OCWs was also registered in 11 regions namely National Capital Region, Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Bicol Region, Western Visayas, Northern Mindanao, Southern Mindanao, Central Mindanao, Caraga and Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.


The National Capital Region had the most number of OFWs

  • Among regions, the National Capital Region reported the biggest number of OFWs at 200 thousand (OCW at 190 thousand). Together with the two adjacent regions, Southern Tagalog and Central Luzon, their OFWs accounted for half of the total OFWs (50.3 percent). Meanwhile, Ilocos Region reached the 100 thousand mark (104 thousand OFWs). Caraga remained to have the least number of OFWs.


Female OFWs increased by 11. 1 percent

  • Out of the 1.03 million OFWs, 528 thousand or 51.3 percent were males and 501 thousand or 48.7 percent were females. Both male and female OFWs increased during the 6 - month period. Female OFWs increased by 11.1 percent while male OFWs slightly rose by a margin of 0.2 percent.
  • The increase in the number of female OFWs was observed in the age group 20 to 34 years old.

Most OFWs worked in Asia

  • About 804 thousand OFWs or 78.1 percent of the 1.03 million worked in Asia. Other areas that were observed to have registered the most number of OFWs were Europe (107 thousand or 10.4 percent) and North and South America (77 thousand or 7.5 percent)

  • Among the 804 thousand OFWs in Asian countries, the largest number were in Saudi Arabia with 33.1 percent, followed by Hongkong with 15.3 percent, then Japan with 11. 7 percent and Taiwan with 10.8 percent.
  • A greater number of male OFWs worked in Saudi Arabia (196 thousand) while more female OFWs worked in Hongkong (116 thousand).

About one-third of the total OFWs worked as laborers and unskilled workers

  • One-third of the total OFWs (346 thousand) was laborers and unskilled workers. About one-sixth (16.8 percent) was working as plant and machine operators and assemblers and another 15.8 percent worked as trades and related workers.


  • Of the 346 thousand laborers and unskilled OFWs, 89.9 percent worked as sales and services elementary occupation workers. About 9.2 percent or 32 thousand were laborers in mining, construction, manufacturing and transport.
  • Among the plant and machine operators and assemblers, 127 thousand OFWs or 73.4 percent worked as drivers and mobile plant operators and 35 thousand or 20.2 percent worked as machine operators and assemblers.
  • More male OFWs (126 thousand or 23.9 percent) worked as drivers and mobile plant operators. On the other hand, more than 50 percent of the female OFWs (288 thousand or 57.5 percent) worked in the sales and services elementary occupations specifically as domestic helpers and cleaners and related workers.

Remittance from April to September 2001 totaled P 55.3 billion

  • The total remittance of OFWs from April to September 2001 amounted to 55.3 billion, up by 0.2 million pesos, from 55.1 billion pesos in the same period last year. These included cash sent amounting to 38.5 billion pesos, cash brought home in the amount of 13.0 billion pesos and remittance in kind of 3.8 billion pesos.
  • The average remittance of an OFW within the six-month period was estimated at P63,608. Male OFWs sent higher average remittance (P75,992 or equivalent to P12,665 per month) compared to their female counterpart (P49,442 or equivalent to P8,240 per month).

Two out of three OFWs sent cash remittances through banks

  • Of the 822 thousand OFWs sending cash remittances, 554 thousand or 67.4 percent used banks while 27.6 percent used door-to-door delivery. Others remitted through agency or local office (2.4 percent), friends/co-workers (1.9 percent ) and other means (0.6 percent).
  • Cash remittances sent through bank amounted to P27.5 billion or 71.4 percent of the total cash remittances. Cash sent through door-to-door delivery amounted to P8.7 billion or 22.7 percent. The remaining P2.2 billion or 5.8 percent were remitted either through agency/local office or friends/co-workers or other means.


Two-thirds of the total cash remittances came from OFWs in Asia

  • Filipinos working in Asia remitted P26.1 billion or an average of P40,815 per OFW. This comprised 67.8% of the total cash remittances. Those working in Europe managed to send around 15.4% (P5.9 billion) of the total cash remittance within the six month specified period.
  • The OFWs contributing billions of pesos to the country’s economy came from Saudi Arabia (P9.5 billion), Japan (P3.7 billion), Hongkong, (P3.3 billion), Taiwan (P2.5 billion), Singapore (P1.8 billion), United Arab Emirates (P1.4 billion), United Kingdom or Great Britain (P1.3 billion), Italy (P1.2 billion) and Greece (P1.0 billion).

Plant and machine operators, assemblers, laborers and unskilled workers shared the biggest cash remittances

  • The plant and machine operators and assemblers as well as the laborers and unskilled workers sent higher cash remittances of P8.5 billion each. Next to them were trades and related workers remitting P6.5 billion. Those working as farmers, forestry workers and fishermen contributed the least cash remittances at P106, 455.


  • In terms of average cash remittances, official of government and special-interest organizations, corporate executives, managers and managing proprietors and supervisors sent the highest average cash remittances of P77,510. Laborers and unskilled workers on the other hand, sent the least average cash remittances of P31,218.


                                                                             (Sgd.)  CARMELITA N. ERICTA




The data presented in this press release were taken from the yearly Survey on Overseas Filipinos (SOF) from 2000 to 2001. The SOF gathers estimates on the number of Overseas Filipinos Workers, their socio-economic characteristics and the amount and mode of remittances, in cash and in kind, received by their families. Only the data for Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are reported in this release.

Unlike the previous results, the 2001 SOF used the new (1994) Philippines Standard Occupational Classification in coding the reported occupation of the OFWs.

The SOF results have the following limitations:

  1. OFWs include overseas contract workers (OCWs) who were presently and temporarily out of the country during the reference period to fulfill an overseas contract for a specific length of time or who were presently at home on vacation during the reference period but still had an existing contract to work abroad and other Filipino workers abroad with valid working visa or work permits. Those who had no working visa or work permits (tourist, visitor, student, medical, and other types of non-immigrant visas) but were presently employed and working full time in other countries were also included.
  2. The OFWs covered in this report were those working abroad during the period April 1, 2001 to September 30, 2001. The workers who were at home on vacation from their jobs abroad who left earlier than April 1 of the reference year were also included in this report as long as they worked during the specified reference period.
  3. The SOF did not ask for the total salary received by the OFWs. Hence, the remittances presented in the results may just be part of the total salary received by the OFWs.

Source: National Statistics Office
            Manila, Philippines