2011 Survey on Overseas Filipinos (SOF)

Reference Number: 2012-757
Release Date: October 9, 2012


Overseas Filipino Workers estimated at 2.2 million

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 (Table 1 and Figure 1). The overseas contract workers (OCWS) or those with existing work contract abroad comprised 95.3 percent of the total OFWs in 2011.




CALABARZON has the largest proportion of OFWs

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 OFWs. Altogether, OFWs from these three regions comprised 43.3 percent of the total OFWs. Meanwhile, Caraga registered the smallest percent share of total OFWs at 1.6 percent (Figure 2). 



More male OFWs than female OFWs

There were more male OFWs (1.1 million or 52.2% of the total OFWs) than female OFWs (47.8%) [Table 2]. The largest proportion of OFWs was in age group 25 to 29 years with 23.6 percent, followed by age group 30 to 34 years with 22.6 percent (Table 3 and Figure 3).

Female OFWs were younger compared to male OFWs. About three in ten (26.6%) female OFWs were in age group 25 to 29 years, and one in every four (24.8%) in age group 30 to 34 years. Among the male OFWs, the largest proportion was in age group 45 years and over (22.9%). 


Most of the male OFWs were employed either as plant and machine operator and assembler (23.8%) or as trade and related worker (23.5%), while more than half (55.5%) of female OFWs were laborers and unskilled workers.





Saudi Arabia is the leading destination of OFWs

Saudi Arabia continued to be the leading destination of OFWs with 22.6 percent of the 2.2 million OFWs in 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 4 and Figure 4].



One in every three OFWs is a laborer or unskilled worker

About one in every three (32.7%) OFWs was a laborer or unskilled worker (Table 5 and Figure 5). The laborers and unskilled workers accounted for 55.5 percent of the total female OFWs, and 11.8 percent of the male counterparts. Laborers or un-skilled workers refers to those working in sales and services elementary occupation such as market stall vendors, street vendors; domestic helpers, and cleaners; and agricultural, forestry, fishery, hunting and trapping laborers; and laborers in mining, construction, manufac-turing, and transport. 



Total remittances reach 156.3 billion pesos

The total remittances sent by OFWs during the period April to September 2011 amounted to 156.3 billion pesos. This amount is higher compared to the previous year’s reported remittances of 141.2 billion pesos. These remittances covered cash sent home (114.1 billion pesos or 73.0%), cash brought home (34.8 billion pesos or 22.3%) and remittances in kind (7.4 billion pesos or 4.8%) [Table 6 and Figure 6].  On the average, the amount of remittances sent by male OFWs was more than twice that of female OFWs (107 thousand pesos per male OFW compared to 53 thousand pesos per female OFW).

Around 82.6 billion pesos or an average cash remittance of 55 thousand pesos per OFW was remitted by the OFWs from Asia for the period April to September 2011. The said average cash remittance per OFW in Asia was the lowest, although the total cash remittance of OFWs in Asia was the highest. The highest average cash remittance per OFW was recorded from Africa with 110 thousand pesos, followed by that from North and South America with 90 thousand pesos, Europe with 87 thousand pesos and Australia with 80 thousand pesos. Male OFWs had a higher cash remittance, each remitting an average of 79 thousand pesos for six months compared  to that of their female counterpart with 42 thousand pesos for six months (Table 7).

Among occupation groups, 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. Next were plant and machine operators and assemblers who sent 20.0 billion pesos or an average of 77 thousand pesos per OFW. 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 associate professionals with an average of 97 thousand peso-remittance per OFW (Table 8).

During the reference period, cash remittances sent thru banks amounted to 82 billion pesos or about 71.9 percent of the total cash remittances. Cash sent thru door-to-door delivery amounted to 7 billion pesos or 6.2 percent while the remaining 25 billion pesos or 21.9 percent were remitted through other means such as agency or local office, friends and co-workers (Table 9).


More than two in every five OFWs are able to save from their cash remittances

A total of 1.8 million OFWs sent cash remittances to their families. Of this number, 855 thousand OFWs or 46.4 percent were able to set aside savings from their cash remittances. In 2010, there were 812 thousand  OFWs who were able to do so, accounting for 47.4 percent of the total OFWs sending remittances during the reference period (Table 10 and Figure 7).

One in every two OFWs who reported to have sent cash remittances amounting to P100,000 or more, and three in every five OFWs who sent less than P100,000, were able to save less than 25 percent of  the total amount sent (Table 10). 






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, their socio-economic characteristics and the amount, in cash and in kind, received by their families.   

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 (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.

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

The respondent is asked how the family usually spent the remittance received during the six-month period.  The choices are four: for consumption, investments, savings and others.  Savings refers to cash on hand or money deposited to banks.

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

 Source:   National Statistics Office
               Manila, Philippines                      



SOF Reports by Year Published


Contact Us

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