OFW Population: Number of Filipinos Working Overseas

Have you ever wondered about the total OFW population worldwide? The Philippine Statistics Authority has published a report that sheds light on the population of overseas Filipinos in different countries across the globe.

Also Read: Total Population of Filipinos in the Middle East

With this information, you can learn about which countries are the most preferred work destinations among OFWs, and which ones actually have the most number of Filipinos working in the region. You can also find out which countries have the largest percentage of OFWs relative to their total population. To learn more about this important topic, read on as we discuss the latest statistics on the number of overseas Filipino workers (OFW) worldwide.

OFW population

How Many Filipinos are Working Abroad?

First off, the information provided by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) was that from April to September 2020, estimated at 1.77 million. The PSA conducts a yearly survey to determine the number of OFWs in the world and how many there are in each country. The survey is based on data submitted by Philippine Embassies, Consulates, and Labor Offices all over the world.

The data also revealed that by sex, the majority of OFWs are women, accounting for 59.6 percent or 1.06 million in 2020. The same trend was observed in 2019 where 55.4 percent of the total 2.18 million OFWs were women while 44.6 percent were men. This can be attributed to the fact that there are more women than men working as domestic helpers and nurses in other countries.

Top Reasons Filipinos Work Abroad

From this data, we can see that there are still many Filipinos who are working abroad. The top reasons why they work overseas are as follows:

1. To provide for their families and loved ones at home. – It’s a known fact that the Philippines is a third-world country and that it’s one of the reasons why many Filipinos work abroad. They want to provide for their families, especially those who have children. The Filipino government has been doing its best to improve the economy in order to provide better jobs here in the country, but until now, there are still many Filipinos who find it difficult to earn a living.

2. To support their education. – There are many Filipinos who want to go back to school but can’t afford it. They find it much easier to work abroad and earn money so that they can provide for their families and still go back to school.

3. To pay off debt and other financial obligations. – Some people work abroad because of gambling debts or other kinds of loans; they hope working in another country will help them pay off those debts.

4. For better job opportunities. – Many Filipinos work abroad because they think they can find better jobs there. They believe that their skills are not being fully utilized in the Philippines, so they go to other countries where their talents will be appreciated more, commensurate to the pay they will receive.

Additionally, the number of unemployed individuals in the Philippines in April 2020 was at 7.2 million, which resulted in an unemployment rate of 17.6%. This was a record high for the country’s labor market due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

It’s hard to imagine how and where else can the Philippine government find jobs for the unemployed of this amount. It also doesn’t help that the government has yet to find a solution to improve the quality of life in the Philippines by providing better infrastructure and social services, which will make Filipinos more productive at work.

5. For adventure. – Another, though uncommon, reason Filipinos look for work overseas is to seek out adventure. Filipinos are adventurous by nature, and many want to see the world outside their home country. Working abroad is one way for them to do that. For some, it can be a stepping stone towards learning new skills and gaining experience in a different environment than what they’re used to at home.

6. To escape the Philippines’ current economic situation and political climate. – Another reason Filipinos look for opportunities outside the country is their lack of confidence in the Philippines’ current economic situation and political climate. The country has been experiencing an economic boom for a few years now, but many Filipinos still see this as not enough to provide them with a decent living. They also think that their country is becoming increasingly corrupt and that there is little hope of making things better.

Whatever one’s reasons may be for leaving the country for work overseas, the fact remains that this option is becoming increasingly popular, and it is a trend that shows no signs of slowing down.

List of Countries with Most Number of Overseas Filipinos

Given the fact that the trend of Filipinos leaving the country for work overseas is becoming increasingly popular, it is not surprising that there are many countries that have a large number of Filipinos living there. The following list shows the distribution of OFWs by country based on 2015 data from the DFA:

  1. United States of America – 3,353,891
  2. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – 938,490
  3. Canada – 676,775
  4. Malaysia – 620,043
  5. United Arab Emirates – 541,593
  6. Japan – 313,588
  7. Australia – 304,093
  8. Italy – 299,787
  9. China – 229,638
  10. Singapore – 200,000
  11. United Kingdom – 200,000
  12. Qatar – 198,000
  13. Kuwait – 187,067
  14. Bahrain 158,644
  15. Taiwan – 115,055
  16. Puerto Rico – 91,620
  17. Greece – 61,681
  18. Republic of Korea – 52,379
  19. France – 44,967
  20. New Zealand – 41,146
  21. Oman – 39,483
  22. Jordan – 28,676
  23. Lebanon – 27,812
  24. Spain – 26,946
  25. Israel – 25,000

A Closer Look at the Top 10 Countries with the Most Number of OFWs

What do some countries (at least the top 10) on the list have that makes them more appealing for OFWs to work in? The answer is simple: they have a stable economy and are open to accepting foreign workers. These countries also provide better working conditions to their OFWs as well as provide them with protection and security.

First off the list is the USA (#1) – the land of opportunity. It is the first choice for many OFWs because of its stable economy and high-paying jobs.

The second country on our list is Saudi Arabia (#2), which has also been in the news lately because of their recent ban on Filipino workers. However, this shouldn’t discourage you from applying for a job there as there are still many opportunities for Filipinos willing to work hard.

Canada (#3) is another great option for OFWs looking for a stable job. The country is known for its multiculturalism and offers many opportunities in a variety of industries.

Malaysia (#4) also has made the list because of its booming economy. It is one of the most sought-after countries for OFWs because of its low living costs and stable job opportunities.

The UAE (#5) is a country that offers many opportunities for OFWs looking for a stable job. However, the UAE is known to be very selective when it comes to hiring foreign workers and requires them to have certain skills before they can apply for a job there.

Japan (#6), one of Asia’s most well-loved countries, is also on this list. Japan is known for its high quality of life and has many opportunities in different industries such as manufacturing, food and beverage, technology, etc.

Australia (#7) is a country that many OFWs dream of moving to. It is known for its high quality of life and low crime rate. Australia also has many job opportunities in different industries such as engineering, nursing, hospitality, etc.

Italy (#8) is known for its beautiful architecture, delicious cuisine and rich culture. It is also a country where many OFWs want to go because it offers job opportunities in different industries such as engineering, healthcare, construction and more.

China (#9) is a country that is known for its fast-growing economy. It also has many job opportunities in different industries such as manufacturing, technology, hospitality, etc.

Rounding up the list is Singapore (#10) which is a country that has many job opportunities in different industries such as finance, technology, engineering and more. Singapore also has good infrastructure and a low crime rate, making it a perfect place for OFWs.

Video: OFW Top Country of Destination

Watch this video if you’re wondering which countries are easier to go to for aspiring OFWs. You’ll find out the advantages and perks of applying for a job in these countries. You’ll also learn about the job opportunities here and some of their requirements.


There are many OFWs worldwide, but this number is expected to keep growing, especially now that many countries are opening up their economies to accommodate the OFW population. With this, you should expect more opportunities for you to work abroad as well.

The countries that are most in need of workers are looking for skilled professionals and they’re willing to pay well for them. If you have what it takes, then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t consider working abroad as an OFW.

READ NEXT: How to Become an OFW and Work Abroad

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