• Posted on: 14 March 2024

In the 2022 Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) Data Dissemination Forum conducted by the Philippines Statistics Authority last February 29, Prof. Maria Paz Marquez posed this question: How does the latest birth statistics impact our lives, or what does it tell us about the kind of society that we have now?

The CRVS revealed that the number of registered births fell from 1.76 million in 2013 to 1.46 million in 2022, a 17.4% reduction over ten years. This result also aligns with the 2022 National Demographic and Health Survey, indicating a declining fertility trend that has reached a TFR of 1.9, or below the replacement level of 2.1, possibly influenced by changing fertility preferences and/or the results of various programs and policies that have been in place to address the problem of population growth in the past decades.

Almost all births were attended by medical professionals and delivered in health facilities, with a great majority of births in 2022 being above the WHO-defined low birth weight of 2,500 grams. However, there are still about 13% of births that were classified as low birth weight, indicating a subgroup of women and babies that are prone to the risks associated with low birth weight.

Filipino women often marry older men, but adolescent births show a more pronounced age gap between mothers and fathers. Ten percent of births are to women aged 15-19, compared to only 3.4% for fathers.

Finally, the majority of births (58%) occurred outside of wedlock. This aligns with the results of the 2021 Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality Study, which indicates that the mean ideal age at marriage follows after having children.

Still, while information on the occurrence of births and the usual residence of mothers are important, other information on both parents should be collected, such as education. The inclusion of the education dimension has an independent effect on vital events that are quite distinct from age and sex alone. Adding this will greatly improve our understanding of the correlates of births in the Philippines.

Prof. Marquez’s presentation on the implications of birth statistics can be downloaded here.