2021 Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality Study
Conducted since 1982 by the UPPI and the Demographic Research and Development Foundation, Inc., the Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality Study (YAFS) series prides itself as the Philippines’ largest series of nationally and regionally representative, cross-sectional surveys on the 15-24 age group. It has provided comprehensive and timely information on Filipino adolescents and young adults, specifically on issues related to sexuality, fertility, reproductive health, education, and employment aspirations and trajectories, health and lifestyle, media use, mental health, as well as their attitudes on marriage, family formation, and norms, among others.
The 2021 YAFS is the fifth round in the series. Preliminary findings were presented on 14 Oct 2022 at the Park In by Radisson North EDSA.
Results of the previous YAFS can be found here.
The UPPI, in collaboration with the Department of Health (DOH), presented the key findings of the YAFS5 during a public forum held on 14 October 2022 in Quezon City. Entitled “Zoom In, Zoom Out: Filipino Youth in Focus,” the forum brought together close to a hundred representatives of the academe, government agencies, civil society, local and international development organizations, as well as members of the press. It was also live-streamed on the Facebook pages of UPPI and YAFS5—a first for a UPPI-led public event—to allow greater public engagement, especially from other parts of the country. The livestreaming has since drawn more than 3,400 views.
Social scientists around the world have had to grapple with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on data collection. In the case of the UPPI, it had to modify its plans for the YAFS5, said UPPI professor and YAFS5 project coordinator Dr. Maria Midea Kabamalan, who presented the highlights of YAFS5 fieldwork at the 2022 PPA Scientific Virtual Conference held last March 30-31, 2022.
About one in every five Filipino voters is aged 18-24, making them a force to be reckoned with in the 2022 elections. This is among the findings highlighted by Dr. Elma P. Laguna of the UPPI in her presentation of preliminary results from the YAFS5, during a virtual forum on electoral participation last April 21, 2022.
When a myriad of methodologically unsound and misleading polls undermines public confidence in survey science, field workers like Joan testify to the amount of planning, preparation, and actual physical work entailed by survey undertakings like YAFS5.
The series of Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality Study (YAFS) surveys is the most comprehensive source of nationally and regionally representative information on the Filipino youth aged 15-24. The dynamism and diversity of this population, as well as the most pressing issues of each generation, are reflected in the kind of questions we ask in each round of the study.
Nova Xeres Guimalan has been in the business of collecting survey data for more than a decade – having worked as a field interviewer in numerous survey projects and now as a field supervisor for YAFS5 in Davao Region. These years of experience make her familiar with the complexities on the ground. To her recollection, however, nothing compares to the challenges she faced while doing fieldwork during the pandemic.
The Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality Study (YAFS) is the biggest series of surveys on Filipino youth. In this year’s YAFS, we are collecting data from over 14,000 households in the country. This will yield a large data set, to be sure, but just as important as the size of the data is the science of its collection.
Adapting to the challenges of the pandemic, the UPPI pushes through with the YAFS5 and has commenced survey operations in various parts of the country. Given the scale of the study, the UPPI has engaged regional collaborators from various academic and research institutions, who helped select skilled interviewers and plan out survey operations amid the volatile public health situation.
Recent years have seen marked changes in terms of young Filipinos’ health, values, and behavior. These include technological and cultural breakthroughs, new forms of engagements, and more prominently, the COVID-19 pandemic—to which young people have been forced to adapt their lives in many ways. To probe these trends, UPPI has involved a wide range of stakeholders in developing the design and tools of YAFS5.
About 1 in every 5 Filipinos is aged 15 to 24, which are critical years for shaping personhood and making important, lasting decisions on various aspects of life. An up-to-date knowledge base on young adults is vital to improving their health and well-being, which have far-reaching consequences not only to the economy but also to their families and communities. It is in this light that the UPPI conducts the YAFS5.
Problems with internet access and finding a quiet place to study were the two main difficulties experienced by young remote learners during the pandemic, based on the results of the YAFS5.
Childhood and adolescence are critical stages of development that require close parental support and guidance. A third of today’s Filipino youth, however, have had to navigate the challenges of growing up without the presence of both biological parents.
More than 386,000 or 6.8% of Filipino girls aged 15-19 have begun childbearing, the YAFS5 reveals. This represents a 50% decrease from the 13.7% teenage childbearing rate recorded in 2013.
Amid a growing epidemic of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and/or acquired immuno-deficiency syndrome (AIDS) in the Philippines, the percentage of Filipino youth who are aware of HIV and/or AIDS has declined to its lowest level since 1994.
Of every ten young adult Filipinos, only three are currently drinking, one is smoking, and close to none is using illegal drugs. These are among the key findings of the YAFS5, revealing that substance use among young people has generally declined in 2021.
Close to one in five Filipino youth aged 15-24 have ever considered ending their life. The UPPI also found that the percentage of youth who often felt depressive symptoms in the reference week substantially increased from 2013 to 2021, with the share of those who often felt loneliness, sadness, and being disliked by other people almost doubling over the period.