Much of the information available on the internet paints a confusing picture of where Filipinos reside outside the Philippines.
One major reason is because some 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 the most recent available statistics by type of foreign residency, and present below that information on permanent residents.
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 current unemployment statistics for the top 10 countries targeted by immigrants from the Philippines.
- United States: 3.9% unemployment rate (December 2018)
- Canada: 5.6% (December 2018)
- Australia: 5% (December 2018)
- Japan: 2.5% (November 2018)
- United Kingdom: 4% (November 2018)
- Italy: 10.5% (November 2018)
- Singapore: 2.1% (September 2018)
- Germany: 3.3% (November 2018)
- Spain: 14.55% (September 2018)
- New Zealand: 3.9% (September 2018)
Current employment statistics show that some of the most targeted permanent residency nations (including Spain, Italy and Canada) have lower job prospects than in the Philippines where the unemployment rate was a respectable 5.1% at December 2018.
Unemployment rate, or more positively employment rates, would appear to be more factors when Filipinos first choose to which country they wish to initially immigrate. In additional, this initial step often involves temporary residency rather than permanent relocation.
Another factor is that employment/unemployment rates fluctuate reflecting domestic and global business cycles, external forces that occur independent of an individual’s control or his/her immigration decision.
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 January 28, 2019
Commission on Filipinos Overseas, Stock Estimate of Overseas Filipinos (see link for December 2013 near bottom of article). Accessed on January 28, 2019
Trading Economics, Unemployment rates by country. Accessed on January 28, 2019