By the middle of this year, the Philippine population is expected to reach 108.7 million, the Commission on Population (Popcom) said last Friday, citing figures of the Philippine Statistics Authority. Between 2019 and 2020, the population increased by 1,483,828 – 1.38 percent.
The seniors age group — 60 years old and above – increased at a faster rate than the other age groups. It increased at a rate of 4 percent from 2015 to 2020 and now constitutes 8.8 percent of the total population. In contrast, the 0-to-14 age group is down from 34 percent in 2010 to 30.14 percent in 2020.
The national population is expected to reach 115 million by 2025. This is slower than the previous estimate of 109.9 million. About 38.7 percent – almost two out of every five Filipinos – will be living in the mega-region of Metro Manila, Central Luzon, and Calabarzon.
There was a time, years ago, when it was feared that the Philippine population was growing too fast. It was, in fact, a worldwide fear, arising from the statement of British economist Thomas Malthus that “Population, when unchecked, increases in a geometrical ratio. Subsistence increases only in an arithmetical ratio.” He called for “preventive checks,” such as moral restraint, abstinence, and birth conrol “to save humanity from itself.”
Among the nations of the world, China adopted a one-child policy in 1978 to keep its population – the world’s largest – down. Government researches predicted that this would peak at 1.4 billion in 2029 – but then they feared it would be followed by an “unstoppable decline” that would see it drop to 1.36 billion by 2050, reducing the workforce by 200 million. The China Academy of Social Sciences warned that the population could shrink to 1.17 billion by 2065.
“The long-term population decline, especially when it is accompanied by a continuously aging population, is bound to cause very unfavorable social and economic consequences,” the academy report said. China raised the limit to two children in 2016 but births continued to decline, some provinces reporting decreases as large as 35 percent. China’s policy maker are now reported moving to further loosen restrictions on family planning.
In the Philippines, we have a National Family Planning Program being implemented by the Department of Health designed to help families achieve the desired family size through universal access to quality family planning information and services. It includes the provision of family planning commodities that are medically safe, legal, non-abortifacient, effective, and culturally acceptable. These services are in hospitals and other health facilities.
It is this National Family Planning Program that has slowed down the growth of the Philippine population to just 1.38 percent, well within the capacity of the Philippine economy to handle.
But the Popcom finding that the growth of the 0-to-14 age group has slowed down while the growth of the seniors age group is up should be a matter of concern. Our Family Planning Program should be constantly studied to ensure that it does not lead to unintended consequences, such as that from the one-child policy launched by China in 1978.
Tags: Roni Santiago