Lowest population growth in 75 years attributed to pandemic anxiety

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 19) – The country is expected to register its lowest population growth in 75 years as more Filipino couples choose not to have children due to the uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Population Commission has said and development (POPCOM).

In an online forum on Wednesday, POPCOM executive director Juan Perez said family planning use has increased since 2020. He noted that in some areas, government health centers lacked contraceptives such as pills and condoms.

The country’s population is expected to grow by just 0.3% or more than 300,000 in 2021 – the lowest population growth in 75 years.

“Women are choosing not to have children during this time of health and economic crisis,” Perez explained.

Millions of people have been infected with the coronavirus while the incidence of poverty rose to 23.7% in the first half of 2021 from 21.1% in 2018.

Psychiatrist Dr Babes Arcena said the added stress and anxiety caused by the health crisis has also led to a lack of intimacy among many couples.

“Sexual intimacy gets pushed aside because there are a lot of issues you have to deal with,” Arcena said.

Experts also take into account that family members are spending more time at home. For some couples, this situation has made it more difficult to find the right time to have sex.

Parents have also taken on more responsibility in setting up remote learning for their children, adding this to their daily lives.

“Parents took on different roles so pagod na sila pagdating ng gabi so wala nang energy,” Arcena pointed out.

[Translation: Parents assumed different roles and they are extra tired by the end of the day and have no more energy.]

POPCOM sees the slow growth rate as a good thing. They expect to see slow and sustained population growth even beyond the pandemic, as the economic crisis will most likely take longer to resolve.

“Increased family planning leading to lower population growth is actually what we were working for, but around 2025 we thought it would happen. The COVID situation caused it much earlier,” Perez pointed out.

Comments are closed.