MANILA – The country’s total fertility rate or the number of children that women aged 15 to 49 years old bear has decreased in 2022, according to a Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) study.
“Mula po sa tatlo nung 2017 hanggang sa dalawang bata na lamang po nung 2022. So, ‘yun po ay tinuturing natin na isang oportunidad at milestone po ng ating programa (From three in 2017 to only two children in 2022. So, that’s considered a big opportunity and milestone of our program) on family planning as well as the population and development program,“ said Executive Director Lolito Tacardon, Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM) officer-in-charge, in a televised public briefing Wednesday.
Tacardon noted the downtrend was brought about by the significant decrease in the number of teenage pregnancies among 15- to 19-year-old girls.
Describing the decrease in teenage pregnancies as good news, Tacardon said pregnancies in such age group was reduced to 5 percent in 2022.
“We have yet to conduct more detailed empirical study to determine the determinants of declining fertility, pero isa sa nakikita natin to partly explain ay ‘yung pagtaas din po ng mga gumagamit ng family planning methods o ‘yung contraceptive prevalence rate natin (but what we see partly to explain is the increase in the number of couples using family methods or our contraceptive prevalence rate),” Tacardon said.
POPCOM reported that the rate of modern family planning method usage went up to 42 percent in 2022 from 40 percent in 2017.
“Isa pa, dahil ang data natin ay nakuha during the pandemic, medyo nagkakaroon na rin tayo ng higher consciousness on value of children na kaya lang buhayin ng isang pamilya (Also, because we got our data during the pandemic, we’re also having higher consciousness on the value of children a family can raise),” he added.
Meanwhile, the country is still within the recommended replacement fertility level or the number of children that couples have to replace for the next generation to sustain the stable population growth rate.
“That’s 2.1 children and the 1.9 [replacement fertility level] is still within that, hindi naman masyadong kalayuan din (that’s not too far), we can still consider that we are at the replacement fertility level now which is one of the desired demographic outcomes the government wants,” Tacardon said.
He emphasized that decreased fertility rate comes with benefits for Filipino couples which include greater savings and investment for their health and the education of their children, and more opportunity for self-development and family well-being, leading to the country’s quality human resource. (PNA)