Filipino children's population declined, while seniors' up in last 20 years –POPCOM

In recent years, the number of young Filipinos has declined while the elderly population has grown, according to POPCOM. Photo: POPCOM

In the past 20 years, the number of Filipino children has decreased, while as of 2020, seniors make up 8.5% of the population in the Philippines.

The Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM) noted on Friday, August 12, 2022, that while the number of elderly Filipinos has been rising, the number of young people appears to be trending significantly lower in recent years.

According to the agency, the Philippine "population pyramid" is currently expanding at the top, reflecting the part of senior citizens who continue to grow and have doubled in number over the last 20 years, while contracting at the bottom, which includes Filipino children ages 0 to 4.

Using a recent Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) data (https://psa.gov.ph/content/age-and-sex-distribution- philippine-population-2020- census-population-and-housing), POPCOM calculated that the percentage share of Filipino children under the age of five is now 10.2 percent in 2020, down from 10.8 percent in 2015 and 12.6 percent in 2000.

The proportion of Filipinos under 15 in the population has decreased over the past 20 years, falling from 37 percent in 2000 to 30.7 percent in 2020. According to PSA, the median age of Filipinos increased to 25.3 years from 23.3 years in 2010, continuing a 30-year trend of rising Filipino median ages.

Filipinos 60 and older made up 9.2 million people, or 8.5 percent, of the country's population in 2020. The number of senior citizens in the country doubled in that year compared to 2000, when they made up just 5.9% of the total population at 4.5 million. (In 2015, 24.4 percent, or 5,606,500, of the 22,975,630 households in the country had at least one senior citizen.)

The executive director of POPCOM, Juan A. Perez III, MD, MPH, noted that the dynamics of the Philippine population continue to see lower levels of fertility, as evidenced by the decline in children under the age of five.

He added that a surge of young people entering the workforce was predicted to occur up until 2035 due to the high fertility rates of the previous two decades. If they are productive workers, this could benefit the nation; however, if they are not employed or are underemployed, it could result in a lost generation and a socioeconomic burden on the smaller, employed population.

The POPCOM chief added that the most recent statistics show that the Philippines' family planning program is effective, as shown by the decline in the country's birthrate since 2015. He thinks that the number calculated in the first year of the pandemic may be lower in 2021.

More Filipinos are working. According to the most recent PSA data, the population of the Philippines between the ages of 15 and 64 has steadily increased, accounting for 63.9 percent of all Filipinos, up from 63.3 percent in 2015 and 59.1 percent in 2000.

The number of women of reproductive age, or those between the ages of 15 and 49, reached a record high in 2020, standing at 27.8 million, up from 26 million in 2015. As the POPDEV's undersecretary for population and development, Dr. Perez welcomed this as a chance for more Filipinas to increase the potential workforce of the nation.

At least 9 million women in that age group, according to POPCOM's estimation, will need family planning services to have healthy children and reproductive organs.

Dr. Perez added that the government must fund the contraceptive needs of the 7.6 million women who are currently covered by local governments and foresee the need for family planning among the remaining women in that age group. 
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