Filipinos are having fewer babies while the number of senior citizens has doubled in the last 20 years to account for 8.5 percent of the total population in 2020, the Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM) said Sunday.
The agency said that the Philippine “population pyramid” is currently constricting at the bottom, which consists of Filipino children ages zero to 4; while it is increasing at the top, reflecting the part of the senior citizens as they continue to register growth.
Citing a recent Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) report, POPCOM derived that the percentage share of Filipino children under 5 is now down to 10.2 percent in 2020 from 10.8 percent in 2015, and 12.6 percent in 2000.
In the last two decades, the percentage in the population of Filipinos under 15 has dropped from a 37 percent share in 2000 to 30.7 percent in 2020. Meanwhile, the median age of Filipinos also went up to 25.3 years old, from 23.3 years old in 2010, continuing a 30-year trend.
In 2020, Filipinos 60 years of age and older comprised 8.5 percent of the population, or 9.2 million people. That year saw the doubling of the country’s aging citizens’ numbers from 2000, when they represented just 5.9 percent of the national population at 4.5 million. (In 2015, 24.4 percent, or 5,606,500 of the 22,975,630 households nationwide had at least one member who was a senior citizen.)
“The dynamics of the Philippine population continue to see lower levels of fertility, as evidenced by the decline in numbers of children under 5 years old,” POPCOM Executive Director Juan A. Perez III said. “The high fertility levels of the last two decades were projected to create a bulge of young people entering the workforce up to 2035. This could prove to be a boon for the country if they become effective workers, or a lost generation if they are not employed or are underemployed, which will create a socioeconomic burden for a smaller, employed population.”
The POPCOM chief added that the most current statistics point at the effectiveness of the Philippines’ family planning program, as evidenced by the lower number of children born since 2015. As it was derived in the first year of the pandemic, that figure, he believes, may be further down in 2021.
The latest PSA data also showed a steady growth in the Philippines’ working-age population, as the 15 to 64 age group now makes up 63.9 percent of Filipinos—slightly higher from 63.3 percent in 2015, and 59.1 percent in 2000.
Women of reproductive age, or those 15 to 49 years old, are also at a record-high in 2020 figures, which stood at 27.8 million—a jump from 26 million in 2015. Perez said this was an opportunity for more Filipino women to further augment the country’s potential number of working citizens.
In terms of responsible parenthood and reproductive health, POPCOM estimates that at least 9 million women from that age group will require family planning services.
Perez asserted that the national government has to support the contraceptive needs of 7.6 million women who are currently being served by local governments, as well as anticipate the family planning requirement of the other women in that age group.