Total Number of OFWs is Estimated at 2.2 Million (Results from the 2011 Survey on Overseas Filipinos)

Reference Number: 2012-047
Release Date: June 26, 2012


The total number of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who worked abroad at anytime during the period April to September 2011 was estimated at 2.2 million. The estimate for the same period of 2010 was 2.0 million. The overseas contract workers (OCWs) or those with existing work contract abroad comprised 95.3 percent of the total OFWs in 2011.

There were more male OFWs (52.2%) than female OFWs (47.8%). The largest number of OFWs were in the age groups 25 to 29 years old (23.6%) and 30 to 34 years old (22.6%). Female OFWs were generally younger compared to male OFWs. Among female OFWs, those who were 25 to 34 years of age comprised 51.4 percent. In comparison, male OFWs in the same age group (25 to 34) comprised a lower proportion at 41.4 percent. (Table 1)

About one in every three (32.7%) OFWs were laborers and unskilled workers. Around 15.5 percent worked as service workers and shop and market sales workers. OFWs who worked as plant and machine operators and assemblers comprised 13.6 percent, trade and related workers, 12.8 percent, and professionals, 10.6 percent. (Table 1)

The biggest number of OFWs came from CALABARZON, Central Luzon and NCR with 16.5 percent, 14.3 percent and 12.5 percent, respectively of the total OFW originating from these regions. Altogether, OFWs from these three regions comprised almost 43.3 percent of the total OFWs. Meanwhile, Caraga registered the smallest percent share of total OFWs at 1.6 percent. (Table 2)

Saudi Arabia continued to be the leading destination of OFWs with 22.6 percent of the total OFWs working in this country during the period April to September 2011. The other countries in Asia which were popular destinations of OFWs were United Arab Emirates (14.6%), Qatar (6.9%), Singapore (6.3%) and Hong Kong (5.3%). (Table 2)

The total remittance by OFWs during the period April to September 2011 was estimated at 156.3 billion pesos. This amount is higher compared to the previous year's reported remittances (141.2 billion pesos). The amount of the total remittances covered cash sent home (73.0%), cash brought home (22.3%) and remittance in kind (4.8%). The majority of OFWs sent their remittance through banks (71.9%). Other cash remittances were sent through door to door (6.2%), agencies or local offices (4.7%), friends or co-workers (0.5%) or through other means (16.8%). The largest total cash remittances amounting to 82.6 billion pesos was from OFWs working in Asia. By occupation group, laborers and unskilled workers, comprising the largest proportion of OFWs, sent the largest aggregate remittance amounting to 22.1 billion pesos or 19.4 percent of the total OFW remittance. However, the average remittance per OFW for this occupation group was the lowest at 37 thousand pesos per OFW. The plant and machine operators and assemblers sent 20.0 billion pesos. OFWs who were categorized as professionals remitted 19.8 billion pesos. Their average remittance was the highest at 99 thousand pesos per OFW, closely followed by OFWs working as technicians and those categorized as associate professionals with 97 thousand pesos per OFW.


                                                                                                                                                 (Sgd.) CARMELITA N. ERICTA



The data presented in this press release were taken from the 2011 Survey on Overseas Filipinos (SOF). The SOF aims to derive national estimates on the number of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs); and the amount and mode of remittances, in cash and in kind, received by their families. This survey also provides information about the socio-economic characteristics of the OFWs.

The OFWs covered in this report were those aged 15 years old and over and working abroad during the period April 1, 2011 to September 30, 2011.

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 such as tourists, visitors, students and those with medical and other type of non-immigrant visas but were presently employed and working full time in other countries were also included.

The SOF did not ask for the total salary received by the OFWs. Hence, the remittances presented in this report may just be a part of the total salary received by the OFWs.

Starting July 2003 round of the Labor Force Survey (LFS), the 2003 Master Sample (MS) Design has been adopted. Using this master sample, the number of sample households increased from 41,000 to around 51,000. The SOF, being a rider of the LFS, has also adopted the new master sample design starting October 2003. Careful evaluation must be made in comparing the results of the 2011 SOF with other SOF results prior to the implementation of the new MS design.

Labor Force by Year

Featured Video

Press Conference on the September 2022 Labor Force Survey Preliminary Results
Press Conference on the September 2022 Labor Force Survey Preliminary Results


Contact Us

Mechelle M. Viernes
Income and Employment Statistics Division 
Social Sector Statistics Service
    +632 8376 2092