For the Record
Population Boom or Bust?
This article seeks to clarify some issues and concerns regarding the population statistics cited in recent articles published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
The opinion column
In her March 15 column entitled, Legislators focusing on the wrong thing, Ms. Belinda Olivares-Cunanan, mentioned in the third paragraph that:
More than anyone, the legislators know the real score on this issue, but they'd rather play blind. During the recent hearings on HB 3773, officials of the National Statistics Coordinating Board (NSCB) showed that the peak of RP's population growth was in the 1950s and 1960s, when the birth rate was over 3 percent and since then it has been going down, so that today the birth rate stands at 1.9 percent. This downward spiral is also confirmed by the UN Yearbook. But the House committee members refused to believe the NSCB people and called them liars. The legislators preferred to believe their own data which seem to have little basis.
The news article
In the March 16 article of Christian Esguerra, Population not booming, says ‘prophet of boom' , the author wrote the following:
Citing official figures from the National Statistical Coordinating Board (NSCB), Villegas said the Philippines ' current population growth rate was only 1.94 percent and not 2.3 percent as claimed by lawmakers.
“These statements about our population doubling are propaganda tools used by population controllers to frighten us,” he said on Monday at a forum organized by the Human Life Internaional-Asia. “All those claims that the population will double in 20 or 30 years–they are statistically false.”
Speaking at the same forum, Valenzona said that at a previous hearing on the measure, the lawmakers summoned NSCB representatives to once and for all settle arguments over the current population growth rate.
“The NSCB representative told them that it was only 1.9 percent, but the congressmen said ‘You're lying!'” she said, adding:
“If you're saying that the NSCB is lying, you might as well close it–or Congress, maybe.”
Villegas also said Filipinos should actually be concerned because the country would register zero population growth by 2025 because of a fertility rate of only 2.1 percent then.
First, the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) would like to clarify that the NSCB did not receive an invitation to the hearings for HB3773 and no official of the NSCB was present in any of these hearings. This is borne by records from the Congressional Committee on Women that conducted the hearings on said House Bill.
On birth rates
Crude birth rates are defined as the number of births per 1,000 population, and are thus not usually expressed in terms of percentages. Based on the 1995 census-based population projections, the projected crude birth rate was 24.09 for 2005, a projected reduction by 5.37 births per 1,000 population from the actual birth rate of 29.46 in 1995.
In her column, Ms. Cunanan must be referring to population growth rates, and not birth rates.
On population growth rates
The average annual population growth rate for 1990-2000 based on actual 1990 and 2000 population census results is 2.34 percent. On the other hand, the latest population projections based on the 2000 census shows that the average annual growth rates for the periods 2000-2005 and 2005-2010 are projected to be 2.05 and 1.94 percent, respectively. These values should be interpreted with caution as these are projections based on certain assumptions of fertility and mortality, and are projected annual average growths for the periods given. Thus, the estimated 1.94 percent growth is projected as the average annual growth during the period 2005 to 2010. If the growth rate trend is decreasing from the 2.05% during the 2000-2005 period, then the 1.94% growth rate is likely to be attained around 2007-2008.
On doubling of the population
The Philippine population is projected to double in 30 to 36 years if present trends continue. Thus, if the projected 2005-2010 average annual growth of 1.94 percent were to continue, the population would double in 36.1 years, or from 85.2 M in 2005 to 170.4 M population in 2041. On the other hand, if the 1990-2000 growth of 2.34 percent annually were to continue, it would double in 29.9 years. That is, our population would reach 86.4 M in 2005 and double to 172.9 M in year 2035.
On fertility rates
Total fertility rate (TFR) refers to the average number of children that a woman of reproductive age would have in her lifetime. A TFR of 2.1 is usually considered a replacement level, that is, it is the level of fertility at which a population exactly replaces itself from one generation to the next. The projected TFRs used in the 2000-based population projections assumed that the fertility level of 2.1 would be achieved by 2040, and not in 2025 . However, this does not necessarily mean a zero population growth unless mortality rates remain unchanged and migration does not take place.
The NSCB would like to stress that the official figures for population projections are generated by the National Statistics Office through the Inter-Agency Working Group on Population Projections. The generation of population projections is a designated statistical activity mandated under Executive Order No. 352, Designation of Statistical Activities that will Generate Critical Data for Decision-Making of the Government and the Private Sector, issued on July 1, 1996. The methodology used for the generation of these projections was endorsed by the Technical Committee on Population and Housing created by the National Statistical Coordination Board and approved by the NSCB Executive Board. The tables and technical notes on population projections are posted in the NSCB website at http://www.nscb.gov.ph/pressreleases/2004/21Dec04_PR-200412-SS2_03_popnProj2040.asp .
Finally, we thank Ms. Belinda Olivares-Cunanan and Mr. Christian Esguerra for their interest in statistics.
For inquiries, please contact Ms. Fe Vida N. Dy-Liacco or Ms. Marymell Martillan at telephone numbered (632) 890 9678 or through e-mail addresses firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com .