Where do Filipinos go when they migrate?

(Gerald Pereira/

If you had the chance to leave the country, where would you go?

An interactive chart shows a record of each country’s moving population, and it gives a good insight into the migrating characteristics of countries across the globe. Three researchers conducted the study for Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital in Vienna. The research showed where people from 150 countries moved in a span of 20 years, with migration data collected from gathering “stock and flow” in 5 year estimates.

According to Nikola Slander, one of the researchers who worked on the study, “stocks are the number of migrants living in the country,” while flow is the number of citizens moving elsewhere. Doing their research wasn’t easy, especially with the huge numbers they’re dealing with. Fortunately for the researchers, the UN brought in stock data from 200 countries, which they then turned to five-year flow estimates using statistical interpolations. Population registers and many other national surveys also supplemented their research.

The Global Flow of People (Courtesy Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital/


The results of the research, translated in a circular graph with thread-like connections, shows the five most popular destinations for Filipino migrants: United States, Canada, Saudi, UAE, and Italy. The research also cited that the largest regional migration comes from Southeast Asia to the Middle East, mainly due to the area’s oil industry and construction booms that provide high-paying jobs to overseas workers.

In a report released by Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) through their Economic Newsletter, most overseas remittances come from the countries mentioned above during the years of 2000 to 2009, matching the results gathered by the reseach group in Vienna. There is a staggering increase of US$16.4 billion worth of remittances recorded in 2008, compared to the US$6.1 billion reported in 2000. The remittances rose 2.6 percent year by year, with monthly remittances remaining above US$1 billion since May 2006.


Chart showing overseas remittances between 2000 and 2009 (Courtesy


Below are the numbers of people moving in and out of the Philippines, in five-year estimates.


1990 – 1995

In: 51, 259

Out:   748, 969


1995 – 2000

In: 50l, 898

Out: 831, 342


2000 – 2005

In: 14, 960

Out: 1, 135, 335


2005 – 2010

In: 14, 933

Out: 1, 207, 144


The drastic increase in migration aligns closely with the start of the new millennium. This goes in lock-step with the rapid growth of the Middle East over the last decade-plus, since the rise of employment opportunities in foreign countries during this time prompted many hopefuls to start their lives as OFWs.