(Book) Philippines Pays High Price for Unchecked Population Growth

(Excerpts from the book)

If development were a race, it may be said that among the competitors, at least in Southeast Asia, the Philippines and Thailand were the most evenly matched when the contest started. Their total populations were almost the same in the 1950s and, over the years, the infant mortality rate (IMR) and the life expectancy at birth (LEB) for both countries were not too far apart.

By 1975, even their incomes, measured in per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP), were about even, despite the fact that a quarter of a century before that, the Philippines’ per capita income was just slightly lower than Japan’s. But some 25 years later, as the world entered a new millennium, the Philippines would register one of the poorest records in Asia and would be overtaken by most of its neighbors.

Fallen star
TThe Philippines’ move from being one of Asia’s brightest stars to one of fading glory (it has also been described as the “sick man” or, to be politically correct, “person” of the region) has often been attributed to its inability to curb its high population growth rate. But such observations have always been made in general terms.

Thailand has a higher per capita GDP now partly because its population, which used to be about the same as the Philippines, was 62 million as of the year 2000 compared to this country’s 75 million. Thailand’s total fertility rate (TFR) was down to 1.9 for the same year while Indonesia’s was 2.5. On the other hand, the Philippines, while registering an impressive 50 percent reduction in TFR, still had the highest rate of 3.6.

Indeed, even in those broad terms, it does make one wonder if population has much to do with the fact that, according to World Bank data, the percentage of the Philippine population living below the international poverty line of US$1 per day in 2000 was 14.6. This was certainly dismal compared to Thailand’s less than two percent or even Indonesia’s 7.2 percent.

And now comes a new report that goes beyond the generalities. It gets into details, translating into dollars and cents the impact on the Philippines—economy, social services, etc.—of allowing the population to grow at its present high rate. It goes into the specifics of why failure to recognize that population is an important element to be considered in setting economic growth goals and preparing development plans will undermine the achievement of those very same objectives and the execution of those programs.

(Click on the link below to download and view the rest of the book)

Source: http://www.appc-ph.com/web/files/populationreport/Population_study-laymans_version.pdf

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