Close to Half of OFWs are Females (Results from the 2009 Survey on Overseas Filipinos)

Reference Number: 582
Release Date: April 1, 2011


OFWs in 2009 numbered approximately 1.9 million

The Survey on Overseas Filipinos (SOF) conducted in October 2009 recorded a total of 1.9 million Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in the country during the period April to September 2009. Of this total, 47.2 percent or approximately 900 thousand were women.

Female OFWs were generally younger than male OFWs

Compared to male OFWs, female OFWs in 2009 were younger, in general. More than half (50.7%) of the female OFWs were in age group 25 to 34 years. The age group 25 to 29 years made up 27.2 percent of all female OFWs while the age group 30 to 34 years, 23.5 percent. In comparison, male OFWs aged 25 to 34 years comprised 42.8 percent . Male OFWs in the age group 45 years and over comprised 20.9 percent compared to 10.9 percent for female OFWs.

One in every two female OFWs came from Luzon

In 2009, more than half of all female OFWs came from Luzon. The major sending regions of the female OFWs were Central Luzon (11.7%), Ilocos Region (11.3%), National Capital Region (11.2%) and CALABARZON (10.9%). For male OFWs, CALABARZON (21.3%), Central Luzon (17.4%) and National Capital Region (16.3%) were the most important sending regions. ARMM ranked ninth as region of origin for female OFWs (3.8%), while it was the least important origin for the male OFWs (1.1%).

Majority of the female OFWs were unskilled workers

More than half of the female OFWs (56.1%) in April to September 2009 were unskilled workers, mostly domestic helpers and cleaners. Those who worked as service workers and shop and market sales workers made up 18.1 percent; and professionals, 10.5 percent. On the other hand, slightly more than half of male OFWs worked either as trade and related workers (26.7%) or as plant and machine operators and assemblers (24.9%).

United Arab Emirates was the top destination of female OFWs

United Arab Emirates (UAE) was the top destination of female OFWs, with those who worked in this country at anytime from April to September 2009 comprising 17.9 percent of the total female OFWs in that reference period. Saudi Arabia (13.7%) was the second popular destination of female OFWs, while Hong Kong (11.8%) was the third. Female OFWs who worked in North and South America accounted for 7.0 percent while those in Europe, 6.7 percent. Other popular destinations included Singapore (7.8%) and Kuwait (6.2%). On the other hand, Saudi Arabia and UAE remained to be the most popular destinations of male OFWs with 28.5 percent and 13.1 percent, respectively, of all male OFWs working in these countries in April to September 2009.

The male OFWs who worked in Europe comprised 9.7 percent while those who worked in North and South America accounted for 8.6 percent.

Female OFWs contributed 31 percent of total remittances

The total remittance sent by OFWs from April to September 2009 amounted to 138.5 billion pesos. Of this amount, the total remittance sent by female OFWs comprised 30.8 percent or approximately 42.7 billion pesos which placed the average remittance per female OFW at 56 thousand pesos. In the same months of 2008, the total remittance sent by female OFWs amounted to 49.7 billion pesos or an average of 62 thousand pesos per female OFW.



The data presented in this factsheet were taken from the 2009 Survey on Overseas Filipinos (SOF). The SOF aims to derive national 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.

The OFWs covered in this report were those aged 15 years old and over and working abroad during the period April 1, 2009 to September 30, 2009.

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.

Starting July 2003 round of the Labor Force Survey (LFS), the 2003 Master Sample (MS) Design 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. Careful evaluation must be made in comparing the results of the 2009 SOF with other SOF results prior to the implementation of the new MS design.



Source:   National Statistics Office
                 Manila, Philippines

SOF Reports by Year Published


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Mechelle M. Viernes
Income and Employment Statistics Division 
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