Despite pandemic, child birth decreases in W. Visayas

ILOILO CITY — Contrary to the projection of a spike in new births, there was a decrease in the number of new babies born in Western Visayas region when the COVID-19 pandemic began last year.

Data from the Commission on Population (POPCOM-6) showed that a total of 91,437 new births were registered in Western Visayas in 2020.

POPCOM-6 Regional Director Harold Alfred Marshall noted a decrease of 13,811 new births in comparison to 2019, which had 105,248 registered births.

A young couple with a baby crosses the street in Iloilo City. The Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM) noted a decline in new births in Western Visayas region for the year 2020. (Tara Yap/Manila Bulletin)

“It is indeed good news that the expected increase in births in 2020 did not happen, which was based on the premise that couples would have more time together in their homes due to lockdowns. On the contrary, they became cautious on matters relating to fertility decisions and more aware of their reproductive and informed choices,” explained Marshall.

The province of Negros Occidental registered the highest decrease of new births with 16.11 percent. The highly urbanized city of Bacolod ranked second with a 15.69-percent decrease.

On the other hand, the small island province of Guimaras registered the lowest percentage of new births with 7.95 percent. It is followed by Aklan with 10.39-percent decrease and Iloilo City with 11.9-percent decrease.