The Philippines’s fertility rate has dropped below 2 children per woman
by Stefano Vecchia

The Philippines is another Asian country with a negative replacement fertility rate; however, many years will pass before its population starts to decline. Ten years ago, Philippine women still had on average three children. The effects of this new trend have sparked discussions, but what caused this reversal in the 2017-2022 period is still not understood.

Milan (AsiaNews) – While the world population now exceeds eight billion, the fertility rate in the Philippines is falling. Its impact will not be felt, however, in the immediate future.

In 2021, the Philippine population stood at 111 million, up by 322.7 per cent over 1960. But on average Philippine women of reproductive age (15-49 years) now have 1.9 children, below the replacement fertility rate of 2.1, compared to 6 in 1973 and 3 ten years ago. Globally, the replacement fertility rate is 2.3.

The data released by the National Demographic and Health Survey are significant. They show that the Philippines is now among a group of Asian countries (South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam) with fertility rates below replacement level.

Still the Philippines’s decline is more gradual. By comparison, according to UN estimates, Vietnam reached 2.1 in 2010, but in fact, the South-East Asian country had already touched 1.9 in 2002.

For advocates of population controls, who tend to consider population growth in relation to available resources, employment, and welfare, the downward trend is a positive development.

However, in addition to vetting the reasons for the significant drop between 2017 and 2022, Philippine authorities have to consider very carefully the effects of a lower birth rate on the country’s future, especially since it lacks clear development strategies and it is subject to contradictory pulls.

In Asia, India could use its more youthful population compared to China’s to become economically ascendant.

According to projections, China's population is set to peak next year. For Chinese authorities, an aging population is a source of great concern, especially since its policies to boost the birth rate have failed so far.