Immigration, Household Services, and Women’s Economic Opportunities

Patricia Cortes

Research output: Other contribution

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There are more than 12 million foreign domestic workers in the world today; most of them are women. Female foreign domestic workers represent 17.2% of all female migrants, and account for 15% of domestic workers (migrants represent just 3% of the population). Migrant domestic workers are unevenly distributed across the world. Table 1 shows that the most common destination for migrant domestic workers is East Asia and the Pacific (35.7%), followed by Europe (22.8%), and the Arab states (19%). This distribution is very different from the overall migrant distribution, where only 12.2% and 4% of female workers live in East Asia and the Pacific, and the Arab States, respectively. More than 60% of migrant women in the Arab States are employed as domestic workers, and more than one out of three in East Asia. Even if the number of migrant domestic workers as a share of the labor force – or as a share of the migrant population – is not nearly as high in other parts of the world, there is a significant over-representation of migrants in the household services sector. As shown in Table 1, more than two out of three domestic workers in North America and Western Europe are foreign-born.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages6
Place of PublicationEsch-sur-Alzette
Publication statusPublished - 20 Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NamePolicy Brief
ISSN (Electronic)2716-7437


  • Immigration
  • Gender gap

LISER Collections

  • Policy Brief

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