Pandemic sees PH birth rate’s lowest drop in 34 years

The Commission on Population and Development (PopCom) projected an increased birth rate when the Covid-19 pandemic started as more families stayed home and access to family planning methods is limited.

Instead, there was a significant drop in the number of births in 2020, with just 1,516,042 million registered — the lowest since 1986, which recorded 1,493,995 births.

Based on a Philippine Statistics Authority preliminary report, the total is also lower than 2019’s 1.675 million. The country also saw the lowest number of marriages in the last 20 years in 2020, as 240,183 couples wed last year, or 44 percent fewer than the 431,972 who did in 2019.

Undersecretary for Population and Development Juan Antonio Perez III attributed the birthrate decline to the combined impacts of fewer marriages, women delaying pregnancies during the pandemic, and the increase in women using modern family planning methods.

“What we feared at the onset of the pandemic did not happen. From the PSA numbers, it is clear Filipino women are deciding to delay having children, and families are deferring, or avoiding, to have more kids, as they were made well-aware of the possible hardships and inconveniences in securing medical, as well as family planning services, since the pandemic has severely impeded health care systems,” Perez said in a news release.