(PNA file photo)

MANILA – The Philippines’ population for 2021 increased by 324,000 or a mere 0.3 percent compared to the 2020 data of 914,797 births.

The Commission on Population and Development (PopCom) said on Monday the annual “natural increase” was the lowest since the period 1946 and 1947 when the population grew by 254,000.

“Filipinos remained prudent by continuing to delay having children or forming families during the combined economic crisis and Covid-19 health emergency. Couples in growing numbers continue to avail of family planning commodities and services in all regions of the country, with eight million users of modern family planning methods in 2020, or an addition of about 500,000 from 2019,” PopCom chief Dr. Juan Perez III explained in a livecast.

The data came from PopCom’s computations based on the Philippine Statistics Authority’s preliminary reports from January 2020 to August 2021.

With the estimate, the Filipino population will be about 109,991,095 by the end of 2021, lower by two million than earlier projections based on a 1.63 percent population growth rate.

Perez said the low 2020-2021 population growth means a greater chance for the country and households to recover from the Covid-19 outbreak, coupled with the national and local governments’ increased capabilities in providing quality services.

“If integrated population and development measures are sustained, we can look forward to a more stable population that can effectively support Philippine development. Smaller family sizes need to be supported by a national living wage structure that also allows parents to save for their households’ unmet needs in food, housing, and education. Uneven regional wage structures only lead to individuals falling further behind than those in progressive areas such as the National Capital Region, Calabarzon, and Central Luzon,” Perez said. (PNA)