The country’s population is projected to grow to 110.8 million by the end of 2021 and is expected to further increase due to more unplanned pregnancies brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Commission on Population and Development (PopCom) said.
In a virtual press conference, PopCom Executive Director Juan Antonio Perez III said this latest population projection is higher from the previous 109.4 million at the onset of 2020.
Perez noted the projections made by the University of the Philippines Population Institute (UPPI) which showed that there will be up to 750,000 new births this year 2021 related to the quarantine.
“However, since the GCQ (general community quarantine) is affecting only around one-third of the country, we believe about 250,000 might be added to our crude birth rate that would bring our population to 111.1 million,” Perez said.
Despite the projected rise in the population, Perez said the Commission is expecting Filipino families “to grow smaller to only four to five members per family.”
Citing data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), Perez added that the population growth rate in the country is projected to decline to 1.31 percent in 2021 from 1.68 percent in 2016.
“We have seen a significant decline. This is because Filipinos are choosing to have smaller families, to have fewer children and therefore fertility is slowly declining,” he explained.
Meanwhile, among population groups, Perez said the most notable increase was observed within the working-age (15 to 64 years old), which is projected to reach 71.2 million this year.
The official said this will comprise at least 64.15 percent of the entire population in the Philippines which means the country “needs to create at least half a million new jobs in the middle of this pandemic.”
PopCom also noted for the first time that the number of senior citizens in the country, or those 60 years old and above, will exceed 10 million in 2021.
Filipinos within 0 to 14 years old, which will make up 29.83 percent of the population, are also projected to grow by 475,543, it added.
The number of women of reproductive age is also expected to grow by more than 370,000 which means more women will need family planning services, while those in the adolescent group (10 to 19 years old) will also increase by around 38,000 in 2021.
“Despite these numbers our country still has one of the highest population growth rates in the ASEAN. There are still lingering issues that we all have to address as we usher in the new decade of 2021 to 2030,” Perez pointed out.
These issues, the PopCom exec said, include management of our limited resources in the face of climate change, unrestrained internal migration leading to congestion in urban areas, as well as the disturbing rise in adolescent and teenage pregnancy nationwide, among others.
Projections of both the UPPI and PopCom also showed that there will be an increase in pregnancies among adolescents, or those aged 10 to 19, this year by about 21 percent.
“We still have a lot of work ahead of us with regards to population management and family planning. It would still take a comprehensive approach that links government efforts to non-government organizations and the private sector — one that allows program like family planning to reach every community in all 42,000 barangays nationwide,” Perez said.