MANILA— The number of Filipinos born in a year fell to a 34-year low in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the population commission has said.
A Philippine News Agency report, citing the Philippine Commission on Population and Development (PopCom), noted that only 1,516,042 births were registered in 2020.
This was the lowest since 1986, when 1,493,995 were recorded.
In an interview on ANC’s “Rundown,” PopCom Executive Director USec. Juan Antonio Perez III said fewer marriages and women delaying pregnancies may have contributed to the drop in the number of births.
“Based on an SWS survey in November, [which] we did with SWS, around 70 percent of Filipino women were concerned about unplanned pregnancies. And, meaning, the implication of that is women wanted to avoid pregnancy during a pandemic,” he said.
“The second indication that we have seen was the decline in marriages. Throughout the year that PSA noted, the drop was around 40 percent in marriages, meaning Filipinos were not forming families formally through registration but we believe also in the, 'yung nagli-live in, as you might say.”
Perez added that an increase in the use of family planning methods may also have contributed to the decrease in the number of births.
“The [local government units], the health services, population and health workers were able to deliver family planning services to those who needed it. There was an increase in family planning use, modern family planning use of about 6 percent during last year.”
Perez noted that the trend of using modern family planning methods may continue after the pandemic.
“We think this trend will continue beyond the pandemic because economically we’ll not be recovering for several years.”
“So people will be under pressure economically and will need family planning to avoid large families, to avoid using up their savings,” he added.
Perez said it’s okay for couples to delay having children amid the pandemic.
“Our message is, it’s a pandemic, it’s okay to delay,” he said.
“And from the time when things normalize, if you still want [a] planned family, if you think the most resilient family is a smaller family, modern family planning methods both artificial and natural are available.”
— ANC, 12 October 2021