Much of the information available on the internet paints a confusing picture of where Filipinos reside outside the Philippines.
One major reason is because many pundits lump together geographic statistics for permanent and temporary residents. Even though the underlying statistics are well researched, this methodology distorts the final tally of where Filipino expatriates decide to settle on a long-term basis.
We carefully extracted statistics by type of foreign residency, and clearly communicate the information on permanent residents below.
There were 4.9 million Filipinos living around the globe as permanent residents outside the Philippines at the end of 2013, the last year for which official statistics are available.
Below are the top 10 countries where migrated Filipinos and their families have established their new homelands.
- United States: 3,135,293 permanent Filipino residents (64.4% of global total)
- Canada: 626,668 (12.9%)
- Australia: 334,096 (6.9%)
- Japan: 163,532 (3.4%)
- United Kingdom: 161,710 (3.3%)
- Italy: 89,742 (1.8%)
- Singapore: 44,102 (0.9%)
- Germany: 36,020 (0.7%)
- Spain: 32,226 (0.7%)
- New Zealand: 29,008 (0.6%)
All told, the above 10 countries represent 95.5% of where all Filipinos settle outside the Philippines. North America represents the preferred destination for roughly three-quarters of Filipinos who call their home country other than the Philippines.
So are jobs the major enticement for the top 10 countries where Filipinos migrate permanently? Let’s take a look at the recent unemployment statistics for the top 10 countries.
- United States: 4.9% unemployment rate (January 2016)
- Canada: 7.2% (January 2016)
- Australia: 5.8% (December 2015)
- Japan: 3.3% (December 2015)
- United Kingdom: 5.1% (November 2015)
- Italy: 11.4% (December 2015)
- Singapore: 1.9% (December 2015)
- Germany: 4.5% (December 2015)
- Spain: 20.9% (December 2015)
- New Zealand: 5.9% (December 2015)
Current employment statistics show that some of the major permanent residency nations like Canada, Italy and Spain have lower job prospects than the Philippines where the unemployment rate was a respectable 5.7% at December 2015.
The unemployment rate would appear to be more of a factor for Filipinos when they first choose to which country they want to initially immigrate. Typically, this initial step involves temporary residency rather than permanent relocation.
Another factor is that the unemployment rate fluctuates reflecting domestic and global business cycles, which occur independent of an individual’s decision to immigrate to a specific location.
The following resources were used to research statistics used in this article, and for the accompanying infographic.
Central Intelligence Agency, World Factbook: Country Profiles. Accessed on February 12, 2016
Commission on Filipinos Overseas, Stock Estimate of Overseas Filipinos (as of December 2013). Accessed on February 12, 2016
Trading Economics, Unemployment rates by country. Accessed on February 12, 2016