2014 Survey on Overseas Filipinos

Reference Number: 2015-034
Release Date: May 27, 2015

Overseas Filipino Workers estimated at 2.3 million

The number of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who worked abroad at anytime during the period April to September 2014 was estimated at 2.3 million.  Overseas Contract Workers (OCWs) or those with existing work contract comprised 96.0 percent (2.2 million) of the total OFWs.  The rest (4.0% or 92 thousand) worked overseas without contract.  Slightly the same number of OFWs and OCWs was reported in 2013 (Table 1 and Figure 1). 

CALABARZON had the largest proportion of OFWs

By region, the largest proportion of OFWs came from CALABARZON (17.9%), followed by Central Luzon (15.5%) and the National Capital Region (10.5%). These three regions together comprised more than two-fifth (43.9%) of the total number of OFWs.  The smallest number of OFWs came from Eastern Visayas with 1.1 percent (Table 2 and Figure 2).
There were slightly more female OFWs than male OFWs
There were slightly more female OFWs (50.5%) than male (49.5%) OFWs.  The OFWs in age group 25 to 29 years comprised the largest single group (24.8%) followed by those aged 30 to 34 years (23.7%).  Female OFWs were comparatively younger than male OFWs.  Half (50.1%) of the male OFWs were aged 35 years and over.  By comparison, a smaller percentage (36.6%) of total female OFWs were in this age group.  Almost three in every ten female OFWs (29.8%) were aged 25 to 29 years while about one in every five (19.8%) male OFWs were in the same age group (Table 3 and Figure 3).

Saudi Arabia was the preferred destination of OFWs

Saudi Arabia was the most preferred country of destination among OFWs (24.8%). The other countries of destination were: United Arab Emirates (15.6%), Singapore (6.4%), Kuwait and Qatar (5.3%), and Hong Kong (5.0%).  Those who worked in Europe accounted for 7.1 percent, while those in North and South America accounted for 6.5 percent (Table 4 and Figure 4).

One in every three OFWs was a laborer or unskilled worker

Among occupation groups, laborers and unskilled workers (32.8%) was the biggest group of OFWs.  One in every three OFWs was a laborer or unskilled worker. Other large occupation groups were the service workers and shop and market sales workers (16.5%); trades and related workers (12.8%); plant and machine operators and assemblers (12.5%); and professionals (11.4%). More than half of the female OFWs were laborers and unskilled workers (54.0%).  Among the male OFWs, the largest group was trades and related workers (25.1%) (Table 5 and Figure 5).

Total remittances reached 173.2 billion pesos

The total remittance sent by OFWs during the period April to September 2014 was estimated at 173.2 billion pesos.  This amount is higher to last year’s reported remittances of 162.4 billion pesos.  This reported total remittances of the OFWs in April to September 2014 included cash sent home (126.8 billion pesos or 73.2%), cash brought home (37.7 billion pesos or 21.8%) and remittances in kind (8.7 billion pesos or 5.0%).  For both reference periods, that is, April to September of 2013 and 2014, remittances in cash sent home comprised more than 70 percent of the total remittances.  The amount of remittances sent by male OFWs (111.5 billion pesos) was nearly twice that of female OFWs (61.7 billion pesos) (Table 6 and Figure 6). OFWs working in Asia sent the biggest cash remittances in 2014, totaling to 92.6 billion pesos (73.0%) or an average of 57 thousand pesos per OFW.  The percentage shares from other countries were as follows: Europe (11.6%), North and South America (9.7%), Australia (2.9%) and Africa (2.8%) (Table 7).
By occupation groups, the remittances sent by the laborers and unskilled workers comprised the largest remittance amounting to 24.3 billion pesos or an average of 38 thousand pesos per OFW (Table 8).
The majority of OFWs sent their remittances through banks (64.8%) while the rest through agencies or local offices (4.7%), door-to-door delivery (1.6%), friends or co-workers (0.2%) or through other means (28.7%) (Table 9).  

Two in every five OFWs were able to save from their cash remittances

The total number of OFWs who sent cash remittances to their families from April to September 2014 was about 2.0 million OFWs.  Of this number, 35.2 percent were able to save from their cash remittances.  In the previous year, 40.8 percent OFWs had savings from cash remittances sent to their families (Table 10 and Figure 7).

Regardless of the amount of the cash remittances sent, about six in every ten (62.5%) OFWs were able to set aside less than 25 percent of the total amount received (Table 10).

1 In this report, the 2014 SOF data excludes the province of Leyte.  



The data presented in this special release were taken from the 2014 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 and mode of remittances, 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, 2014 to September 30, 2014.  
OFWs include overseas contract workers (OCWs) who were presently 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.
In this report, the remittances sent by OFWs to their respective families may just be a part of the total salary received by the OFWs.  Data on remittances in this report were based on the answers given by the survey respondents to the questions on how much cash remittance was received by the family during the period April to September 2014 from a family member who is an OFW and how much cash did this member bring home during the reference period, if any.  Further, if the family received during the reference period goods and products sent by this OFW, the imputed value of such goods was included in his/her total remittance.  
Starting July 2003 round of the Labor Force Survey (LFS), the 2003 Master Sample (MS) Design has been adopted.  The number of sample households is around 50,000.  The SOF, being a rider of the LFS, has adopted the 2003 MS starting October 2003.  Careful evaluation must be made in comparing the results of the 2014 SOF with the SOF data prior to the implementation of the 2003 MS.
The province of Leyte was not covered in the 2014 SOF.  A new sampling frame for the province of Leyte has to be created.  This is because of the large number of households displaced by typhoon Yolanda.  The old listing of households for Leyte used as sampling frame for the 2003 Master Sample is no longer usable.  

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Mechelle M. Viernes
Income and Employment Statistics Division 
Social Sector Statistics Service
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