How many — and where do — Filipinos live and work overseas?

Most Filipino-Americans have relatives, or at least know someone personally, who work abroad.  We know about the Filipino professionals — nurses, doctors, architects, engineers, accountants (and most recently, teachers) — the seafarers and those in the merchant marine trade, as well as construction laborers.  However, the majority of overseas workers are women who apply for domestic jobs.

It is estimated that about 11% (from 9 to 11 million) of the Philippine population work overseas, and send money home to support their families.  Although India, China and Mexico receive more remittance money from overseas workers, remittances sent by overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) represent the largest proportion — almost 14% —  of their country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) — making overseas Filipino workers one of the largest contributors to the Philippine economy.

Here are the numbers:

Flag of the Philippines.svg
11,000,000+ estimates
Regions with significant populations
 United States 2,877,666
 Saudi Arabia 1,159,003
 Malaysia 900,000
 Canada 639,686
 UAE 609,704
 Japan 350,972
 Australia 336,140
 Qatar 263,980
 Spain 241,268
 United Kingdom 200,987
 Mexico 200,000
 Hong Kong 168,550
 Singapore 163,090
 Kuwait 155,744
 Italy 119,508
 Taiwan 94,283
 South Korea 81,395
 Germany 55,309
 Greece 51,656
 Bahrain 50,695
 France 50,013
 Oman 41,000
 Israel 39,002
 Jordan 32,896
 Lebanon 31,348
 Austria 29,824
 New Zealand 27,139
 Libya 23,713
 Guam 23,563
 Switzerland 22,431
 Norway 20,683
 Cyprus 20,284
Information from the Philippine Government and other sources in Wikipedia. Click on this link to the Wikipedia site “Overseas Filipino” for more details.

It was interesting to learn that there are over 1 million OFWs in Saudi Arabia (my cousin J.R. among them).  Also, the high number of Filipino workers in Malaysia and the UAE – United Arab Emirates, and the presence of OFWs in Norway and Switzerland.

Also see Lola Jane’s Filipino population related post: Chameleons: Why Filipinos live and work in just about every country in the world

More Philippine related post from this Lola, are here… including:

And if you are curious about what parts of the United States have established Filipino populations, click here to see the U.S. Census Bureau graphic that show states and percentage of Filipino populations) on my post about the Philippine-based Jollibee restaurant chain.

~ Lola Jane

A Demographic Riddle

There is a great chart in the September 2011 issue of National Geographic Magazine. The chart illustrates the relationship between a country’s fertility rate and per capita income, and this demographic riddle:

Do women bear fewer children because a country is prosperous, or does a country’s economy grow when women have fewer children?

The fertility rate chart illustrates that indeed, there is a link between family size and per capita incomes.  Compare the fertility rate on this chart to the world map – and population living on $2 a day, on my earlier post.

I could not find the chart on-line or on the National Geographic website —- so a scanned version is on this post (created by John Tomanio and Lawson Parker, National Geographic Magazine staff members).

Here is the key:

The full chart below is the world map, with countries in gray, behind the fertility rate babies.  Area details follow below.

Below is the section showing North, Central and South America.  I added the black larger text of some countries (e.g., CANADA 1.7) to give perspective of the map’s regions, as parts of the scanned chart are not clear.

Here is the Europe / Africa region:

Below is the Asia / Australia – Oceania region.  And note, the national fertility rate for the Philippines is 3.2.

The chart is part of an article about Brazil, and National Geographic Magazine‘s year-long series on global population.

Here is a link to Cynthia Gorney’s article, Brazil’s Girl Power – How a mix of female empowerment and steamy soap operas helped bring down Brazil’s fertility rate and stoke its vibrant economy.

Seahorses at the Monterey Aquarium

We took the grandkids to the Monterey Bay Aquarium on Friday — what a treasure for the area.

The boys had a great time going from exhibit to exhibit, and despite the large crowd, no one got separated and lost — well at least not for long, as I stayed put until I was found again!.

This is the second time we saw the fascinating exhibit “The Secret Life of Seahorses”.  I didn’t remember seeing the display of a big frame made of coral, dried seahorses and marine animals at last visit.

The type of frame is ubiquitous (in varying sizes) in beach town tourist shops.  This time, I stopped to read the information.

Seahorses Exhibit at the Monterey Aquarium

Growing up in the Philippines, I was accustomed to seeing these frames or other items decorated with shells and marine animals.

Maybe because they were so common…I thought that these items were picked up by beach combing…as in, the creatures are already dead and washed ashore.

This is not the case, and much of these animals are collected ALIVE and dried to make these souvenirs.

I am saddened at how uninformed I was  about this practice!

Family and friends, please do not buy these souvenirs.

With everything else happening to our oceans, we all have to do our part to stop this. And please spread the word about protecting these fragile and fascinating creatures.  In the process, we also protect and  preserve their homes —and our home.

Please visit the for more information on what we can do to save the declining seahorse population.

Additionally, visit Alex Pronove’s blog for an informative article on the seahorse and sea dragon market & supply chain (starting in the Philippines) –

~Lola Jane