The Commission on Population and Development (PopCom) said on Sunday that there was a significant drop in the number of births in 2020, with just 1.516 million registered — the lowest since 1986, which recorded 1.493 million births.
Based on a preliminary report of the Philippine Statistics Authority as of June 2021, the total is also lower than 2019’s 1.675 million.
The country likewisse saw the lowest number of marriages in the last 20 years in 2020, as 240,183 couples wed last year, or 44 percent fewer than the 431,972 who tied the knot in 2019.
Undersecretary for Population and Development Juan Antonio Perez III attributed the birthrate decline to the combined impacts of fewer marriages, women delaying pregnancies during the pandemic, and the increase in women using modern family planning methods.
“What we feared at the onset of the pandemic did not happen,” Perez said in a news release on Sunday. “From the PSA numbers, it is clear Filipino women are deciding to delay having children, and families are deferring, or avoiding, to have more kids, as they were made well-aware of the possible hardships and inconveniences in securing medical, as well as family planning services, since the pandemic has severely impeded health care systems.”
Despite travel restrictions and limited local health care capacities, Perez is also pleased with the outcome of family planning services in 2020, with the addition of 400,000 users nationwide, bringing the total to more than 8 million protected Filipino men, women and couples.
Concerted efforts by the national government in support of local government family planning services, allied agencies, as well as stakeholders from the public and private sectors, raised the level of Filipinos’ awareness and interest on the potential risks of conceiving and giving birth during the health crisis.
PopCom has also sought to expand community-based family planning services through its National Program on Population and Family Planning, which began in 2019.