Filipinos are making fewer babies as fertility rate drops

Filipinos aren’t so quick to jump on the baby train anymore as the country’s fertility rate plummets to less than two children per woman, the Commission on Population and Development (PopCom) said.

The revelation comes just as the United Nations marked Nov. 15 as the day the world’s population officially reached 8 billion — with a baby girl born in Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital in Manila chosen to symbolize this historical milestone.

“Despite expected increase in the fertility of Filipino women because of impeded access to family planning services during lockdowns and quarantine protocols, as well as the world’s total headcount projected to hit 8 billion on November 15, the Philippines was able to register recent population statistics unheard of in years, with fertility numbers plummeting to less than two offspring per woman,” the commission wrote in a social media post.

The commission cited the Philippine Statistics Authority’s data from this year’s National Health Demographic Survey that said the total fertility rate of women aged 15 to 49 stands at 1.9 children this year, a sharp decline from 2.7 children in 2017.

The statistics bureau’s survey also showed that the country is already within the replacement fertility level of 2.1 children, or the fertility rate at which women give birth to enough babies to sustain population levels.

The survey also revealed that one in two married women said they no longer desire more children, while 17 percent want to delay their next childbirths for two or more years.

POPCOM Officer In Charge-Executive Director Lolito R. Tacardon said the new development could be considered “a breakthrough” in the country’s population and development programs.