PopCom: World may have reached 8 billion population but PH fertility rate dropping | Inquirer News

PopCom: World may have reached 8 billion population but PH fertility rate dropping

/ 07:44 PM November 14, 2022
The world may have reached a population of eight billion by mid-November, the country’s Commission on Population and Development (PopCom) has taken solace in the country’s lower fertility rates compared to past years.

AFP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — The world may have reached a population of eight billion by mid-November, the country’s Commission on Population and Development (PopCom) has taken solace in the country’s lower fertility rates compared to past years.

PopCom in a statement on Monday relayed the numbers from the Philippine Statistics Authority’s (PSA) National Health Demographic Survey (NDHS) for this year, where the total fertility rate (TFR) of Filipino women aged 15 to 49 years old is now at 1.9 children, down from the 2.7 children in 2017.

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This means each woman in the age bracket has less than two offspring now.  Compared to the 1970s, NDHS said that the fertility rate of each Filipino woman during that period was at six.

This level, which PopCom says is a birth rate enough just to sustain population levels, was attained even as the country expects higher fertility due to the COVID-19 pandemic affecting reproductive services.

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“Despite expected increase in the fertility of Filipino women because of impeded access to family planning services during lockdowns and quarantine protocols, as well as the world’s total headcount projected to hit 8 billion on November 15, the Philippines was able to register recent population statistics unheard of in years, with fertility numbers plummeting to less than two offspring per woman,” PopCom said.

“With the figure, the NDHS divulged that the country is already within the replacement fertility level of 2.1 children, or the fertility rate at which women give birth to enough babies to sustain population levels,” it added.

The NDHS data also showed that most Filipino women do not want more children, with 17 percent saying that they want to delay their next childbirth.

PopCom officer-in-charge and Executive Director Lolito Tacardon said the decline presents an opportunity to maximize the momentum of slowing down the birth rate, while also being a challenge to sustain the developments.

“On one hand, this can be considered as a ‘breakthrough’ for the country’s programs on population and development (POPDEV) as well as family planning, which were instituted more than five decades ago,” he said.

“The Philippines’ latest TFR is now comparable to those of upper middle-income countries’ 1.8 children and Thailand at 1.5 children. In the ASEAN region, the Philippines has now the third lowest after Singapore’s 1.1 children. It is lower than the Asian average of 2.2, and is comparable to Latin America’s and the Caribbean’s, which is at 2.0 children. The Philippines, however, has lower fertility levels than Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia,” he added.

Early November, the United Nations estimated that the world population would reach a milestone of eight billion people — a number that is still expected to grow.

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While the global population may be growing, the Philippines is not alone in terms of slower growth rates, which many say would benefit the economy.  China’s population, for one, is expected to slow down by 2023.

READ: World population at 8 billion humans — and still growing 

With the lower total fertility rate, Tacardon said PopCom would focus on ensuring high quality and capacity of human resources — which can provide more opportunities for workers still vying for jobs.

“Focus should now be on ensuring that the quality and capacity of the country’s human resources are enhanced. At the household level, lower fertility also means greater opportunity for personal development of couples and individuals, which can redound to more savings and investments,” he said.

“Economic gains from the demographic transition can be funneled to reduce poverty and improve labor force participation. The country will continue to see a robust labor force at over 63% of the population until 2030 or 2035, which is a full dozen years away,” he added.

RELATED STORIES:

Aging population not a concern in PH for now, says Popcom chief 

PopCom maintains: High mortality rate, slow birth rate due to COVID-19, not vaccines 

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TAGS: Children, Popcom, Population, Women, World population
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