“Celebrating youth in the Philippines”, published on May 4, 2021 in his column “Business and Society” in the Manila Bulletin, CRC Director for Research Dr. Bernardo M. Villegas highlights the significance of what has been called the Philippines’ demographic dividend – a young, growing and English speaking population which will play an important part in the country’s recovery after the pandemic.

“The pandemic has highlighted the greatest economic treasure the Philippines has, its human resources.  We continue to have a young, growing and English speaking population that is referred to as our demographic dividend.”  

“In contrast, all developed countries as well as some of the emerging markets in Asia like China, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia are already showing signs of rapidly falling fertility rates and ageing that can dampen their economic growth in the next decade or so.  Heavy pressures on pension funds and social security systems, labor shortages, and dwindling domestic markets are already worrying the leaders of even the most populous country in the world, China.  Because of unwise population control programs in the past, China is already rapidly ageing before becoming rich.”  

“We should be thankful that population control programs that some of our past Governments tried to impose were not successful.  Our population today of close to 110 million is still expected to swell to 142 million in 2045 according to the Philippine Statistics Authority.  We will still be experiencing population growth of 0.65 percent annually during the 2040 to 2045 period.”  

“Our East Asian neighbors will have fertility rates much below the replacement level of 2.1 births per woman. These low birth rates are coupled with  an ageing population in which those who are over 65 account for  20 to 30 percent of the  total.  For example, Japan and South Korea are predicted to see their population drop by more than half by the end of this century.”

“In contrast, even in 2045, Filipinos over 65 will be only 11.4 percent of the total, resulting in a ratio of young to old that will still be very manageable.   Because of very low fertility rates and a high percentage of the population over 65 years of age,  our Asian neighbors (not to mention countries in the European Union) will be  weighed down economically by a huge proportion of senior citizens and very few workers to take care of them.”

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