Philippines: No to Population Control, Yes to Authentic Development - Part

Steven Mosher
July 25, 2016
Reproduced with Permission
Population Research Institute

Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte has vowed to "champion contraception…to reduce poverty by 25 percent in six years." "I only want three children for every family," Duterte stated publicly, "I'm a Christian, but I'm a realist so we have to do something with our overpopulation." Having promoted, as former mayor of Davao, sexual "education," free contraception and free access to tubal ligation, Duterte now says that "a more aggressive approach" is necessary because "our resources cannot meet the demand."

Is he right?


In terms of population , from 26 million people in 1960 to current 103 million, the Philippines is the 12th largest country but only 38th in terms of density . Many densely populated countries are well off (UK, Germany, Japan). Even more, they have high GDP growth: the Philippines annual GDP growth rate of the last 5 years is about 6%, way more than the 1.6% population growth . In the last 55 years, only 5 years showed lower GDP than population growth, being the average about 4%.

Except for economies highly based on extractive industries (oil, minerals), it is difficult to find a single large country with at least a decade of high GDP-growth rate and that isn't densely populated.

This real demographic dividend (totally different than eating up the accumulated capital) resulted in a tremendous rise in GDP/capita, which has grown 70% (from $1,500 to $2,600) in a decade (or more than doubled since 1960).

Just by following the trend, Duterte could enjoy the political dividend of poverty reduction and growth, without doing anything new, like population control.