Statistics on Philippines Demographics and Economic Indicators

The following is a repost (with permission) of an article written by BongV in The data included in this article are important, and it is the main reason for sharing this article in this blog.

Population Growth, Birth Rate, Death Rate, Life Expectancy of Filipinos and the RH Bill

Has much has changed with the trends related to population and poverty in the Philippines? What do the numbers tell us? This post has been updated with graphs and new data from the World Bank, updated July 13, 2012.
Comparison of the following countries Demographics and Economic KPIs – Philippines, Japan, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, North Korea, Indonesia, Hong Kong was done. The KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) plotted on a line graph are:
Demographic KPIs
* Population
* Population size
* Population density
* Birth rate
* Death rate
* Fertility rate
* Life expectancy at birth
Economic KPIs
* GDP per capita
* Ease of doing doing business index
* Corporate tax rate
* Steps to register a business
* Strength of legal rights index
The graphs show the following:
  1. There are countries with higher population, higher population growth rate, higher population density – and still RICHER (have higher GDP per capita) than PHL.
  2. There are countries with lower population, lower population growth rate, lower population density – and still POORER (have lower GDP per capita) than PHL.
  3. Countries with favorable business environments (less regulations, less taxes, easier to do business) have higher GDP per capita than PHL.
Poverty reduction therefore will need to focus on the business/economic environment and not useless dole-outs to contraceptives suppliers – and the vote mill of the trapos.
By the way I came across the notes of Dr. Romulo Virola, head of the National Statistical Coordinating Board (NSCB). Here’s what he wrote:
“Consistent with declining population growth rates, FIES data show that the population of larger families is on the downtrend. Between 2000 and 2003 the number of families with sizes 1 to 3 and 4 to 6 increased annually by 10% and 3.5%, respectively while that of families with sizes 7 to 10 and more than 10 decreased by 2.7% and 5.5%, respectively.(Table 2)”
“Not surprisingly, the mean ideal number of children is also largest for women with the least education: from 4.6 for women with no education to 2.8 for women with at least college education. ”
“But come to think of it, is overpopulation really bad when China and India are the envy of everybody these days? Is it not in fact partly because of their huge population of conspicuous consumers that investments are pouring in?”
- Dr. Romulo Virola, NSCB Head
So why are the pro-RH using the numbers of 8 or 9 children per poor woman – when the numbers are in the 5 per family as of 2003 Cool – and I will bet it has gone even lower in 2011? Laughing
The pro-RH are quick to cite cherry picking when in fact – their use of statistical outliers, to justify raising taxes for everyone, and present this as if this were the norm – is not the just the height of cherry picking, it is severely flawed and highly misrepresenting the data – a complete FRAUD!
Feb 17,  2011
The purpose of the RH Bill according to the Explanatory Note, is that population of the Philippines makes it “the 12th most populous nation in the world today”, that the Filipino women’s fertility rate is “at the upper bracket of 206 countries.” It states that studies and surveys “show that the Filipinos are responsive to having smaller-sized families through free choice of family planning methods.” It also refers to studies which “show that rapid population growth exacerbates poverty while poverty spawns rapid population growth.” And so it aims for improved quality of life through a “consistent and coherent national population policy.””
What are the facts?
Note that Philippines population growth rate decreased form 3% in 1960 to 1.8% in 2009
Conclusion: that’s a DOWNWARD trend in population growth rate from 1960 to 2009
Birth rates have shown a DOWNWARD trend from 26.3 in 2003 down to 25.68 in 2010. For the same period, our rank has moved from 75 to 58 – higher rank means higher birth rates lower rank means lower birth rates.
Conclusion: Philippines Birth rate has DECREASED from higher birth rate to lower birth rate, from higher rank to lower rank, globally.
Death rates have shown a DOWNWARD trend. In 2003, the Philippines Death Rate was 5.6. It went down to 5.06 by 2010
The Philippines fertility rate went from 7% in 1960 to 3.1% in 2008 – that’s a DOWNWARD slope.
Definition: This entry contains the average number of years to be lived by a group of people born in the same year, if mortality at each age remains constant in the future. The entry includes total population as well as the male and female components. Life expectancy at birth is also a measure of overall quality of life in a country and summarizes the mortality at all ages. It can also be thought of as indicating the potential return on investment in human capital and is necessary for the calculation of various actuarial measures.
In 2003, the Pinoy life expectancy at birth was 69.29 – by 2010 – the PInoy’s life expectancy at birth is 71.38. Filipinos are living longer lives!
As of 2010, The world’s most populous nations are:
#1 – China
#2 – India
#3 – United States
#4 – Indonesia
#5 – Brazil
#6 – Pakistan
#7 – Nigeria
#8 – Bangladesh
#9 – Russia
#10 – Japan
#11 – Mexico
#12 – Philippines
If one were to buy the higher population equals higher poverty argument – by now the top #5 most populous countries will be dirt poor – worse than the Philippines. Japan which is also an archipelago, like the Philippines, has more people than the Philippines – should be poorer than the Philippines.
However if one were to look at the economic policies of all these nations – the thriving ones have robust market-driven economies. Philippines, Nigeria, Bangladesh – have a lot in common – they have huge populations, have protectionist economies – and are poor.

Based on the above we can state the following:
1. Population growth rate decreased from 3.0% to 1.8%, for the period from 1960 to 2009.
2. Birth rate decreased from 26.3% to 25.68%, for the period from 2003 to 2010.
3. Death rate went down from 5.6% to 5.06%, for the period from 2003 to 2010.
4. Fertility rate went down from 7% to 3.1%, for the period from 1960 to 2008.
5. Life Expectancy at Birth increased for the period from 2003 to 2010.
6. Populous countries that have liberal economic policies don’t have widespread poverty like populous countries that have protectionist economic policies.
The data shows that the population KPIs are consistently trending down – and not going up as previously claimed. All these happened via fund realignment and without increased funding for health.
Poverty in the Philippines cannot be attributed to upward population pressure given the downward trends shown by empirical population data.
The justification for increased funding of procurement and distribution by the DOH is not supported by the empirical evidence.


  1. Thanks for reposting this. I seldom visit the anti-pinoy site because I find the welcoming committee hostile to opposing views. Same at Get Real, where I am banned. I must be a real jerk, eh?

    I suppose there are two impacts of high birth rates and the population growth it generates. One is the numbers, and I agree that it is irrelevant to the economy. The other is the quality of kid, in terms of psychological health, physical health and education or skill. And are they able to contribute to a healthy economy? Or are they a needy drag on it?

    In the Philippines, it is chicken and egg. The schools want more budget, the State provides what it can afford. It is never enough. The kids get shortchanged. Kids don't have mature perspectives when they graduate. A relentlessly ignorant populace elects dolts for Senator and Rep, and sometimes president. And the economy gets stuck forever.

    How do you break the cycle? There has to be relief, and families with 10 kids do not help. The kids are generally consigned to labor for a lifetime, sometimes starting at age nine.

    I think the appropriate approach is to shade the grays a bit in the direction desired, and smaller families would help enormously both within the family, and in taking the burden off the State to provide for people who can't earn enough to provide for themselves.

    1. Hi, Joe. First, thank you for visiting. My personal view on this issue is that the current level of discussion of the RH bill is a "red herring". Whenever issues similar to these take center stage in the US, it is divisive. It takes the country away from what really needs to be addressed. Responsible parenthood, in my opinion, means acknowledging and acting what is really required to raise a child. We need laws and policies that protect children.

      I asked BongV for permission to repost his article and he was kind enough to give me permission. I think his article take the discussion on a different level. The goals you mentioned for family planning are still regarded as controversial among economists in the US. (This includes Harvard professor Lant Pritchett). There was an exchange of views on "unmet need" on a World Bank forum:

      where Pritchett and Bongaarts both reiterated their respective positions on this issue. Joshi, one of the research workers in Matlab, Bangladesh chimed in and said:

      "Finally, going back to this issue of "unmet need".... I agree with Lant Pritchett that we should stop trying to quantify the need for contraception this way. But by that same logic, we should also stop trying to quantify "desired fertility" (a variable featured prominently in writings by economists, including Pritchett's hugely famous 1994 paper)! Asking a woman her "ideal" number of children is just as complicated as asking her about her need for contraception. Neither question is answered objectively. Responses to both are colored by social norms, preferences of a spouse, past fertility history, and the broader socio-economic environment. So just like you can't use "unmet need" to justify family-planning programs, we shouldn't use "desired fertility" to justify their omission from the policy agenda. Again, the rationale for FP programs should simply be that that they (a) expand people's choices and give them greater control of their fertility; and (b) they are one more investment in female human capital. Lets not worry about unmet need, desired fertility, or ideal fertility!"

      I think the above is the clearest and honest argument that can be adequately supported by evidence behind providing free artificial contraceptives by the government. It takes the "red herring" character out of the proposed measure. With the above (a) and (b) Congress can then ask themselves the right question of whether to pass or not pass the proposed bill, and decide how much government funds should be allocated to it, if the bill is passed.

    2. "Again, the rationale for FP programs should simply be that that they (a) expand people's choices and give them greater control of their fertility; and (b) they are one more investment in female human capital. Lets not worry about unmet need, desired fertility, or ideal fertility!""

      I agree with that. I think education is the key, and if that were up to speed there would be no need for the government to be in the condom distribution business.

      Thanks for your elaborate reply. I appreciate your perspectives.

    3. "Red herrings" are really bad. Unfortunately, misinformation is a lot easier to propagate now with the internet. It is amazing how much "birther", for example, captured the minds and attention of American people. Just because something is found on the internet does not mean it is correct or useful information. And if America has to deal with this problem, one can just imagine how the Philippines can handle the challenge.


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