In 1877, the recorded population of the Philippines was 5,567,685. One hundred and thirty-two years later in 2009, the Philippines ballooned to become the 12th most populous country in the world with over 92 million. It was estimated that in 2010, Philippine population rose to a figure of over 94 million. Around half of that number reside in Luzon. There had been estimates that Filipinos abroad count between 9 to 11 million. Adding the 2010 population and Filipinos abroad lead us to an astonishing 101 over million Filipinos!, the estimated population as of July 2011.
Should you be a little bit more curious about our demography, I have listed below some statistics:
0-14 years: 34.6% (male 17,999,279/female 17,285,040)
15-64 years: 61.1% (male 31,103,967/female 31,097,203)
65 years and over: 4.3% (male 1,876,805/female 2,471,644) (2011 est.)
Rate of birth
3.19 children born/woman (2011 est.)
Population growth rate
1.903% (2011 est.)
For purposes of proportion, the population living below USDollar1.25 a day is 23% or equivalent to 20 million. Those living with less than USDollar2 per day is about 44% or over 40 million Filipinos. These figures alone will tell us that poverty line is very much at a high percentage and has gone to a tremendous level of over 35 to 40%, and that is almost half the entire population. It means as well that in the capital city of Manila, poverty is very much manifested and truly we can see it alongside the streets in the areas of Tondo, Quezon City, even in the supposedly posh Makati City. Poverty continues to increase according to several reports and it appears that it will just keep on growing and growing. Of course there are reasons why poverty reduction cannot just seem to work. Consider the following:
High population growth is a factor. With 2% annual growth rate over the past decade, it gives additional burden on the cost of household living and demand for basic needs.
There is an income inequality because the poor get only 5% of the total income and consumption.
The government is unable to provide basic service needs sufficient enough to the poorer remote areas.
Poor performance of the agriculture sector.
No employment opportunities created for the poor.
Vulnerability of poorer communities to natural disasters and civil unrest which adversely affects livelihoods.
Economy is bad. The manufacturing sector is small and public and private investment low. Unemployment and underemployment continue to remain high. The possibility of securing a well-paid job is beyond the reach of many. Because of these conditions, many Filipinos are led to migrate overseas to secure better paying jobs.
With the estimated 11 million Filipinos abroad, remittances really help the consumption-fuelled Philippine economy and account for at least 10% of the country’s GDP. But the economy cannot just rely on what we can call as “foreign assistance” from the Filipinos abroad. Although the remittances play an important macro-economy stabilising role, it is uncertain whether it extends to the poor. We can also say that the dimensions of remittances are disproportionate because poorer households have less access to them and only middle and high income households are able to enjoy the “fruits of what is received abroad”.
Unless measures are immediately taken, Filipinos will continue leaving the country to seek and find “greener pasture”, because access to the pasture in the Philippines is going beyond their reach. And the poorer will even be poorer, if it can be said that way. So perhaps the Filipinos abroad can take a longer step to help in any possible manner the Filipino poor, unless we want to allow the Filipino poor to go deeper into the abyss of poverty. Is it there we are headed to?….just asking.
Till next time…Eric