Philippine Population and Poverty

Philippine Population & Poverty

WHAT’S IN A NUMBER?
by timothy2011

Several persons on Facebook have been citing the Philippines’ real GDP growth rate as only 1.1% in building their argument for passing an RH bill. The argument is this: with an economic growth rate of GDP = 1.1% being lower that the population growth rate (PGR) of 1.95% (which was the PGR for the period 2005-2010; we are now in the period 2010-2015 wherein the PGR is 1.82%), how can the economy provide for the new Filipinos born every year? These figures have then been used to speculate about 40 years into the future, creating quite a doomsday scenario. This argument has two fundamentally flawed assumptions which completely disregard the facts.

Real GDP Growth Rate
Source: Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (Central Bank of the Philippines)

Year : Rate (Percent)

1999 : 3.4
2000 : 6.0
1999 : 3.4
2000 : 6.0
2001 : 1.8
2002 : 4.4
2003 : 4.9
2004 : 6.4
2005 : 5.0
2006 : 5.3
2007 : 7.1
2008 : 3.7
2009 : 1.1
2010 : 7.3

Population Growth Rates
(Source: Philippine National Statistical Coordination Board)

Period : Rate (Percent)

2005-2010 : 1.95
2010-2015 : 1.82
2015-2020 : 1.64
2020-2025 : 1.46
2025-2030 : 1.27
2030-2035 : 1.09
2035-2040 : 0.92

Flawed Assumption Number 1: Real GDP growth is constant for every year.

A look at the GDP figures above, published by the Central Bank of the Philippines, show that the 1.1% statistic describes real GDP growth only for 2009. Why is this so? It is because the growth percentages for each year reflect growth in the economy over the previous year only.

Flawed Assumption Number 2: The population growth rate is constant for every year.

A look at the PGR figures above, published by the Philippine National Statistical Coordination Board, show that PGR does not remain the same between two five-year blocks of time, much more so over a period of 40 years.

What are the facts?

Fact 1: GDP figures tend to change from year-to-year. GDP goes up and down and does not remain static. Thus, it is grossly inappropriate to use the 2009 figure of 1.1% to characterize the subsequent 40 years of real GDP growth in the Philippine economy.

Fact 2: The PGR figures above show that the population growth rate of the Philippines not only changes but that it is on a declining trend over the 40-year period 2000 to 2040.

Fact 3: The preceding information shows how easy it is to manipulate information in an attempt to sell erroneous ideas.

Fact 4: Filipinos cannot be fooled by untruthful dog-and-pony misuses of statistics.

—————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

1903-2007: Census actual
2010-2040: NSCB estimates
r = .96

—————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

Philippine Population Growth and Poverty Incidence. The graph says it all.


Philippine Total Fertility & Poverty of Individuals: 1960-2009.

Between 1960-2009, despite a decrease in total fertility, there was an increase in the total number of poor Filipino people. Why do the Rh bill supporters claim that reducing total fertility will reduce the number of poor people in the Philippines?

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9 thoughts on “Philippine Population & Poverty”

  1. first of all, we DO NOT WANT TO MAINTAIN THE STATUS QUO OF OUR ECONOMY. MAHIRAP TAYO. SO TINGIN MO PAG NAGING EQUAL ANG ECONOMIC EXPANSION SA POPULATION EXPANSION masusustentuhan na ung tao nun? [Editor's Note: This comment has been edited due to inappropriate language.]

    lets use simple anology shall we?

    kunwari ngtratrabaho ka, sapat lang sya para sa isang anak mo.minsan nga kulang pa. madami kang hindi nabibigay sknya. lumaki sweldo mo.. magaanak ka pa ba? o hahayaan mo na mabgay mo dun sa isang anak mo ung mga dpat nakukuha nya?

    1. Thanks for taking the time to respond to “Philippine Population & Poverty.”

      The content of your argument is a little vague, though. Kindly shed more light on your position, using actual numbers from the Philippines’ economic and population data, what you mean by “status quo of our economy,” “economic expansion,” “population expansion,” and “equal ang economic expansion sa population expansion.” I think that readers of By the Numbers will appreciate your shedding light on your views with empirical facts that they can also verify for themselves.

      In response to your analogy, why do you assume that a couple who has just had a child will have another one right away? Is this the normal behavior of the majority of Filipinos? (If you think it is, kindly provide numerical evidence from our government’s statistics to validate your claim).

      I would also like to ask you to consider the following fact which you can verify on your own by looking at the numbers on the NSCB website: as total fertility has gone down since 1960 to the current number, the absolute number of poor people in the Philippines has increased from around 15 million to about 25 million or so. This fact directly refutes the idea that lowering fertility will reduce the number of poor.

      Thanks again for taking the time to look at and respond to “Philippine Population & Poverty.”

  2. we want to speed up the increase of our gdp per capita (around 3000dollars at current) . our economy is indeed expanding based on the reported gdp growths (7%+ in 2007 and 2010) and this is indeed higher than our population expansion(which is around 2% if im not mistaken) . if we maintain this, there will come a point in time that our country will eventually rise from poverty. but what we are talking about is the SPEED in which this can happen.

    you completely misunderstood the point. currently, our government is not able to give its people the necessary services ranging from quality education to proper sanitation and healthcare. you need not look at empirical data for that. look around you. my point is, its pathetic how of the money generated from economic expansion is being directed to providing the same shitty services to the people added to our population instead of improving those services.

    you very well know the reason why we suffered since that period. it was because of corruption. now i believe this is still the biggest hindrance to our nation’s progress. however, this is not the only solution to it. if population expansion has not declined in those years, we would be in a deeper hole right now than we already are. wag mo sabhin na dahil ginawa na un at hindi gumana, hindi na un ang solusyon. there were many other factors (handling of foreign investment, promoting competitive products for exports, decreasing corruption, increasing the budget for infrastructure) that had to be properly managed but the government failed to do.

    another thing: dumami ang mahihirap kasi sila naman ang nagcocontribute talaga sa population expansion. you might argue that fertility has indeed declined, this can be attributed to the decrease in number of offspring that the middle class and the upper class produce. try going to a squatter’s area.

    once again, my point is SPEED in which we can rise from poverty.
    less population, faster rise in GDP PER CAPITA.

    ps. iba case ng china and india kasi mas mababa ang minimum wage nila dun. ngiinvest skanila ang companies kasi mura ang operating costs at malaki ang consumer market. kahit mataas population natin, hindi magiinvest dito unless babaan ang minimum wage. hindi din malaki ang effect sa consumer market kasi ang mataas ang increase sa population ay mga bracket C, D and E.

    1. Thanks for providing a clearer and more comprehensive reply. Please see my responses below.

      //you very well know the reason why we suffered since that period. it was because of corruption. now i believe this is still the biggest hindrance to our nation’s progress. however, this is not the only solution to it. if population expansion has not declined in those years, we would be in a deeper hole right now than we already are. wag mo sabhin na dahil ginawa na un at hindi gumana, hindi na un ang solusyon. there were many other factors (handling of foreign investment, promoting competitive products for exports, decreasing corruption, increasing the budget for infrastructure) that had to be properly managed but the government failed to do. //

      Great! I agree with the problems that you have identified: corruption, poor foreign investment policy, poor export policy, poor planning and spending for infrastructure support, poor effort and spending on education, basic healthcare, and agriculture.

      //we want to speed up the increase of our gdp per capita (around 3000dollars at current) . our economy is indeed expanding based on the reported gdp growths (7%+ in 2007 and 2010) and this is indeed higher than our population expansion(which is around 2% if im not mistaken) . if we maintain this, there will come a point in time that our country will eventually rise from poverty. but what we are talking about is the SPEED in which this can happen… you completely misunderstood the point. currently, our government is not able to give its people the necessary services ranging from quality education to proper sanitation and healthcare. you need not look at empirical data for that. look around you. my point is, its pathetic how of the money generated from economic expansion is being directed to providing the same shitty services to the people added to our population instead of improving those services…. another thing: dumami ang mahihirap kasi sila naman ang nagcocontribute talaga sa population expansion. you might argue that fertility has indeed declined, this can be attributed to the decrease in number of offspring that the middle class and the upper class produce. try going to a squatter’s area. once again, my point is SPEED in which we can rise from poverty.
      less population, faster rise in GDP PER CAPITA.//

      Fertility has indeed declined and the total number of poor has indeed increased. I think your analysis is off.

      From 1960 to 2009, the total population increased from about 27 million to about 92 million. That’s a net increase of about 65 million. For the same period, the number of poor people increased from about 15 million to about 25 million. That’s a net increase of about 10 million people. If the poor account for 10 million out of the 65 million net increase, who accounts for the other 55 million?

      Regarding SPEED, in effect are you saying that good governance and wise policy are NOT POSSIBLE, and because of this the ONLY SOLUTION is to CONTRACEPT THE POOR, while, to paraphrase your words, they continue to “get the same shitty services”?

      If I am not mistaken, there are few regions whose fertility rates are 4 or 5 or higher (including ARMM). Are you saying that RH is needed to target these communities and the illegal settlers in the NCR, IN LIEU OF good governance and better policies? Do you really think they will rise out of poverty simply by having less children, while the money intended for their education, the development of their regions, and the provision of real opportunities continues to be stolen? Without any effort to get the money intended for them, to them, into whose pockets do you think the predicted incremental increase in GDP will go?

      //ps. iba case ng china and india kasi mas mababa ang minimum wage nila dun. ngiinvest skanila ang companies kasi mura ang operating costs at malaki ang consumer market. kahit mataas population natin, hindi magiinvest dito unless babaan ang minimum wage. hindi din malaki ang effect sa consumer market kasi ang mataas ang increase sa population ay mga bracket C, D and E.//

      So, pananatilihin na lang uncompetitive ang Pilipinas para sa foreign direct investment nang lalong hindi sila mag-iinvest dito? Ganun na lang ba yun?

  3. our problem is over-crowdness-people flock together in the cities? why? because there are more job oppurtunities in the urban centers since the government focuses too much on the cities, not in the provinces, so people leave the provinces and crowd in the cities. I have travelled around the country and guess what: I saw a lot of towns smaller than Festival Mall. smaller than mall of asia. the center of the town is a church, town hall, and a school. everyone has a house and there are less people. why? because they migrated to the cities, giving as the impression that we are over-populated wherein we are actually not. if you don’t believe me, I say you better have a vacation in the provinces and see it for yourself.

  4. Hans,

    I agree completely with your analysis that the major urban centers are densely populated because of migration from the provinces and with your reasons why this is so. In fact, the major urban centers have the highest GDP per capita and the highest population densities in the country while the rural areas have the lowest GDP per capita and population densities. Rather than see the government spend P3 billion on contraceptives, I’d much rather see it spend the money on projects that directly improve educational outcomes and job opportunities in the provinces.

  5. i think the only way to control poverty is to educate people to involve in a simple entrepreneurship not just relying on employment. the more they focus on employment the more they feel the poverty. we all knew that salary is not really enough if you have children to feed. Then lets stop thinking of what government can help to us, why not thinking of what can you do to help your Family. Lets focus on our family and on our own strength.

  6. Poverty: a human condition characterized by the sustained or chronic deprivation of the resources, capabilities, choices, security, and power necessary for the enjoyment of an adequate standard of living and other civil, cultural, economic, political, and social rights.

  7. It is perfect time to make some plans for the future and it is time to be happy.
    I’ve read this post and if I could I want to suggest you few interesting things or advice.
    Maybe you can write next articles referring to this article.
    I desire to read even more things about it!

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