POPCPM: Children’s population down, elders’ up in last 2 decades

The Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM) has noted that the number of young Filipinos appears to be significantly lower in recent years, while their elderly seniors’ number has been expanding.

POPCOM said 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 and doubling in numbers in the last 20 years.

Citing a recent Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) report, POPCOM said the percentage share of Filipino children under 5 was down to 10.2% in 2020 from 10.8% in 2015, and 12.6% in  2000.

PSA data also show that in the last two decades, the percentage in the population of Filipinos under 15 has dropped from a 37% share in 2000 to 30.7% in 2020. 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 of increasing median age of Filipinos.

Population data also indicate that in 2020, Filipinos 60 years of age and older comprised 8.5% of the population, or or about 9.2 million. That year likewise saw the doubling of the country’s aging citizens’ numbers from 2000, when they represented just 5.9% 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 senior citizen member.

POPCOM Executive Director Juan A. Perez III noted in a recent statement that “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.”

“The high fertility levels in 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 socio-economic burden for a smaller, working population,” he added.

The POPCOM chief said 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, the 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% of Filipinos — slightly higher from 63.3%  in 2015, and 59.1% in 2000.

Women of reproductive age, or those 15 to 49 years old, are also at a record high in the 2020 figures count, which stood at 27.8 million — a jump from 26 million in 2015.

Perez, as the undersecretary of population and development or POPDEV, welcomed this as an opportunity for more Filipino women to further augment the country’s potential number of working citizens.

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