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PopuIatIon DeveIopment ConsoIIdated 8III
by Dr. Roberto de Vera, 11 September 2008
VarIous groups oI MaIthusIan bent cIaIm that today's hIgh Iood and IueI prIces that are
ImpoverIshIng more peopIe are caused by overpopuIatIon. So they propose that It
wouId be reasonabIe to stabIIIze the popuIatIon through a reproductIve heaIth,
responsIbIe parenthood and popuIatIon deveIopment bIII that promotes economIc
growth and IIIts peopIe out oI theIr poverty.
We reckon that theIr proposaI rests on IIve assertIons: 1) HIgher popuIatIon growth
Ieads to sIower economIc growth; 2) A Iarger popuIatIon means more hungry and
maInourIshed peopIe; 3) Our popuIatIon growth Is out oI controI; 4) Larger IamIIIes are
poor IamIIIes; and 5) ÌnstItutIng a two-chIId popuIatIon poIIcy, through the proposed
ReproductIve HeaIth, ResponsIbIe Parenthood and PopuIatIon DeveIopment 8III, wIII
sIgnIIIcantIy reduce poverty.
How does thIs proposaI and Its assertIons hoId In the Iace oI economIc, hIstorIcaI and
AIter examInIng each assertIon, we IInd that avaIIabIe statIstIcs and scIentIIIc studIes
do not support the cIaIm that "too many peopIe" means "more poor peopIe". 8ad
governance and bad economIc poIIcIes, not a Iarge, Iast growIng popuIatIon, are the
reaI causes oI poverty. Thus, we recommend that more eIIorts be pIaced on ImprovIng
governance and ImpIementIng good economIc poIIcIes. More specIIIcaIIy, we have
1) PopuIatIon growth has IIttIe or no dIrect eIIect on per capIta CDP growth. Thus,
there Is no basIs Ior a poIIcy that aIms to reduce popuIatIon growth to raIse per
capIta CDP growth.
2) Poverty Is usuaIIy caused by poor governance and InapproprIate and badIy
ImpIemented economIc poIIcIes-whIch Ieads to corruptIon, poor tax
coIIectIons, Iack oI educatIon and roads, Iack oI IrrIgatIon systems-Instead oI a
Iarge and IncreasIng popuIatIon. Thus, Instead oI havIng a bIII that promotes
reproductIve heaIth and popuIatIon management, we shouId Iocus eIIorts on the
gaps In governance and poIIcy ImpIementatIon that hInder and sIow down
3) Large IamIIIes are poor not because they are Iarge but because most oI the
heads oI these poor IamIIIes have IImIted schooIIng whIch prevents them Irom
gettIng good payIng jobs. Moreover, a 1994 study shows that parents oI poor
IamIIIes want the chIIdren they beget. These IIndIngs show that there Is no basIs
Ior havIng a popuIatIon management poIIcy that raIses economIc growth to
ThIs paper draws heavIIy Irom "Too Many PeopIe Doesn't Cause Poverty, 8ad Covernance and
PoIIcIes Do" by by EmIIIo T. AntonIo, RonIIo 8aIbIeran, EnrIco 8asIIIo, IovI Dacanay, Roberto de
Vera, Stephen Huang, MaIa Tyche KIng, WInston Stan PadojInog, CherryIyn RodoIIo, KImberIy
San AgustIn, Leandro Tan, CId Terosa, Peter Lee U, 8ernardo M. VIIIegas (12 October 2004). The
comments and vIews expressed In thIs paper are soIeIy the responsIbIIIty oI the author and do
not represent any posItIon heId by the UnIversIty oI AsIa and the PacIIIc SchooI oI EconomIcs.
4) The popuIatIon hIstory oI deveIoped countrIes shows that ImpIementIng a two-
chIId poIIcy, vIa the consoIIdated bIII, wIII pIace the country In a vIrtuaIIy
IrreversIbIe course oI popuIatIon decIIne and ageIng that carrIes wIth It aII kInds
oI probIems and thus the country wouId be weII-advIsed to avoId It aItogether.
5) The country's popuIatIon sItuatIon-where the Iabor Iorce Is growIng Iaster than
the dependent (youth and eIderIy) popuIatIon-gIves It a wonderIuI opportunIty
to reap a demographIc dIvIdend (a perIod oI rapId economIc growth) that wouId
reduce poverty sIgnIIIcantIy Ior the next 35 years. Thus, Instead oI
ImpIementIng a two-chIId poIIcy, NCOs, IIrms and governments shouId Iocus
theIr eIIorts on provIdIng these Iuture workers wIth access to educatIon and
traInIng programs whIch prepare them to take weII-paId jobs and on
estabIIshIng a stabIe economIc and poIItIcaI cIImate that attracts the needed
Investments that generates new jobs to match the addItIonaI 1.1-1.2 mIIIIon
potentIaI workers each year.
The rest oI the paper eIaborates on these IIndIngs.
AssertIon 1: HIgher popuIatIon growth Ieads to sIower economIc growth
EconomIc studIes do not support thIs seemIngIy IogIcaI assertIon. NobeI prIze wInner
SImon Kuznets's pIoneerIng study contaIned In hIs 1966 book Modern EconomIc
Crowth: Rate, Structure and Spread (pp. 67-68) showed that "ín]o cIear assocIatIon
appears to exIst In the present sampIe oI countrIes, or Is IIkeIy to exIst In the other
deveIoped countrIes, between rates oI growth oI popuIatIon and oI product per capIta."
Other studIes have conIIrmed Kuznets's IIndIngs, showIng no cIear IInk between
popuIatIon growth and economIc growth (or poverty). Here are the IIndIngs oI IIve
(1) the 1992 Ross LevIne and DavId ReneIt study oI the reIatIonshIp between growth
and Its determInants Iound no sIgnIIIcant eIIect oI popuIatIon growth on economIc
(2) the 1994 IeII KIIng and Lant PrItchett study arrIved at a sImIIar IIndIng where they
aIIowed the eIIect oI popuIatIon growth on economIc growth to vary accordIng to the
IeveI oI deveIopment and resource scarcIty;
(3) In a 1996 revIew oI the popuIatIon growth-poverty reIatIonshIp, DennIs AhIburg
poInts out that studIes have showed popuIatIon growth has IIttIe or no dIrect eIIect on
(4) In a 2004 study examInIng the determInants oI Iong term growth, Cernot
DoppeIhoIer, RonaId MIIIer and XavIer SaIa-Ì-MartIn, Iound that average annuaI
popuIatIon growth Irom 1960-1990 was not robustIy correIated wIth economIc growth;
(5) the 2007 ErIc Hanushek and Ludger Wömmann study Iound that totaI IertIIIty rates,
whIch can be seen as an aIternatIve measure oI popuIatIon growth, dId not have a
statIstIcaIIy sIgnIIIcant assocIatIon wIth economIc growth.
SImIIar concIusIons have been arrIved at by the US NatIonaI Research CouncII In 1986
and In the UN PopuIatIon Fund (UNFPA) ConsuItatIve MeetIng oI EconomIsts In 1992.
Moreover, these studIes support Kuznets's expIanatIon oI why no dIrect reIatIonshIp
couId be expected between popuIatIon growth and economIc growth. PopuIatIon
growth and economIc growth are IInked through "a common set oI poIItIcaI and socIaI
InstItutIons." Thus, any "dIrect causaI reIatIon" between them "may be quIte IImIted."
Moreover, any reIatIonshIp that Is measured cannot be used as a basIs Ior managIng
popuIatIon to aIIect economIc growth.
Ìt Important to note that even II there are recent econometrIc studIes that show that
popuIatIon growth Is negatIveIy correIated wIth per capIta Income growth In the
PhIIIppIne case (I.e. an Increase In the popuIatIon growth rate Ieads to a decrease In
per capIta Income growth rate), these studIes cannot concIude that hIgher popuIatIon
growth rates causes Iower per capIta Income growth rates. Ìt Is more probabIe that
there are IntervenIng Iactors such as those mentIoned by Kuznets that may cause
economIc growth. Thus, these studIes cannot serve as bases Ior a poIIcy that aIms to
reduce popuIatIon growth to raIse per capIta Income growth.
So II popuIatIon growth doesn't aIIect economIc growth, what wIIIZ Cood governance
and weII-ImpIemented economIc poIIcIes. These thIngs usuaIIy get done In a cIImate oI
poIItIcaI and economIc Ireedom.
Ìn hIs book, The UItImate Resource IuIIan SImon gIves evIdence Ior the crucIaI roIe that
poIItIcaI-economIc systems pIay In economIc growth when he compares three paIrs oI
countrIes that have the same cuIture and hIstory and practIcaIIy had the same standard
beIore they spIIt aIter WorId War ÌÌ-East and West Cermany, North and South Korea,
and TaIwan and ChIna. Ìn 1950, both the communIst and non-communIst countrIes
had practIcaIIy the same bIrthrates and the centraIIy pIanned economIes had Iess
popuIatIon pressure than theIr market-dIrected counterparts as measured by
popuIatIon per square kIIometer. Yet the economIc growth oI West Cermany, South
Korea, and TaIwan was better than theIr counterpart centraIIy pIanned economIes. Due
to Iaster economIc growth, personaI Incomes In TaIwan and South Korea were roughIy
doubIe ChIna and North Korea, respectIveIy whIIe those In West Cermany's was more
than 10Z Iarger than East Cermany In the earIy 1980s (see TabIe 1).
TabIe 1. PopuIatIon densIty, 1950 and reaI Income per capIta,
1950, 1980, and 1982 Ior seIected countrIes*
PopuIatIon densIty, 1950** 171 201
ReaI gnp per capIta, 1950*** 2,943 2,943
ReaI gnp per capIta, 1982 9,914 11,032
North Korea South Korea
PopuIatIon densIty, 1950 76 212
ReaI gnp per capIta, 1950 193 193
ReaI gnp per capIta, 1982 817 1,611
PopuIatIon densIty, 1950 57 212
ReaI gdp per capIta, 1950**** 300 508
ReaI gdp per capIta, 1980 1,135 2,522
*The IIgures Ior thIs tabIe are taken Irom TabIes 34-1a and 34-1b In
IuIIan SImon. 1996. The UItImate Resource 2. RevIsed EdItIon. PrInceton,
New Iersey: PrInceton UnIversIty Press, p. 496.
**In persons per square kIIometer
***FIgures Ior reaI gross natIonaI product (gnp) per capIta are based on
1981 constant us doIIars.
****FIgures Ior reaI gross domestIc product (gdp) per capIta are based
on 1975 InternatIonaI prIces.
Source: PopuIatIon densIty: UnIted NatIons EducatIonaI, ScIentIIIc, and
CuIturaI OrganIzatIon, UNESCO Yearbook (1963, pp. 12-21). ReaI CDP
per capIta: Summers and Heston Data Set (1984). ReaI CNP per capIta:
ÌnternatIonaI ReconstructIon and DeveIopment (Ì8RD), WorId TabIes
(1980). CNP deIIator: CouncII oI EconomIc AdvIsers (1986, TabIe 8-3).
AssertIon No. 2: A Iarger popuIatIon means more hungry and maInourIshed peopIe.
On the contrary, Food and AgrIcuIturaI OrganIzatIon (FAO) statIstIcs IndIcate that the
Iood suppIy avaIIabIe Ior consumptIon has Increased and the hIstorIcaI trend shows It
can contInue to outpace popuIatIon growth In the Iuture. The FAO statIstIcs Ior the
PhIIIppInes Irom 1961 to 2002 show that the Iood suppIy avaIIabIe Ior consumptIon
Increased In three categorIes:
1) caIorIes per person per day: Irom 1,745.0 to 2,379.3
2) grams oI proteIn per person per day: Irom 40.6 to 56.1
3) grams oI Iat per person per day: Irom 28.7 to 48.4.
These natIonaI trends IoIIow worId trends. 8ased on Iood and nutrItIon statIstIcs Iound
In FAOSTAT, the onIIne FAO Internet database, we IInd that Irom 1961 to 2002,
avaIIabIe worId Iood suppIy per person has gone up by 24.4Z and enough Iood Is
beIng produced Ior everyone on earth to enjoy a heaIthy dIet. The FAO reports In The
State oI Food and AgrIcuIture 2003-2004: "Over the past two decades, progress has
been made In reducIng undernourIshment In deveIopIng countrIes. The IncIdence oI
undernourIshment has decIIned Irom 28 percent oI the popuIatIon two decades ago to
17 percent accordIng to data Irom 1999-2001."
These trends oI Iood suppIy outpacIng popuIatIon growth cIearIy prove Ester 8oserup's
poInt In her 1965 book The CondItIons oI AgrIcuIturaI Crowth: that It Is popuIatIon
growth that causes Increases In Iood productIon and not the other way around. Her
argument can be paraphrased as IoIIows: PopuIatIon growth puts pressure on
communItIes who acquIre Iood through huntIng and gatherIng, sIash-and-burn
IarmIng methods, and other IneIIIcIent methods to adopt more eIIIcIent ones such as
pIowIng wIth IIvestock and muItI-croppIng. As popuIatIons grow, towns deveIop and
peopIe can specIaIIze In other non-IarmIng productIon actIvItIes. ThIs Is the resuIt oI
Iarmers, beIng pressured by a growIng popuIatIon, to produce more Iood wIth more
eIIIcIent methods to serve a Iarger demand.
ÌI the statIstIcs show that Iood suppIy Is adequate to gIve every FIIIpIno a heaIthy dIet,
why are some IamIIIes stIII eatIng IessZ For Instance, FAO's The State oI Food and
AgrIcuIture 2007 shows that the IncIdence oI undernourIshed peopIe In the PhIIIppInes
to be 17Z In 2001-2003, Iower than the 26Z recorded In 1990-1992. The FAO argues
In theIr report AgrIcuIture: Towards 201512030 that IamIIIes that are eatIng Iess have
heads that are not abIe to get good payIng jobs to pay Ior IoodstuIIs. Or that they IIve
In poor, IsoIated communItIes dependent on agrIcuIture and are unabIe to raIse IocaI
agrIcuIturaI productIon to meet theIr Iood needs.
Ìn some cases, It may, In Iact, be sparse popuIatIon that makes It dIIIIcuIt Ior peopIe to
access Iood suppIIes. ThIs was the case oI the IamIne In SaheI, West AIrIca In the
1970s. 8ecause oI the regIon's Iow popuIatIon densIty, not enough roads and transport
servIces were made avaIIabIe In the area. Ìn the case oI the PhIIIppInes, IamIIIes need
to pay hIgher Iood prIces due to wastages that can be avoIded II there were more Iood
processIng and storage IacIIItIes. Food prIces are aIso hIgher due to a Iragmented
transportatIon system, whIch Is now beIng remedIed by the roII-on, roII-oII (roro)
servIces oI the government's Strong RepubIIc-NautIcaI HIghway project.
Moreover, In hIs book The UItImate Resource IuIIan SImon has shown that In addItIon
to Iood suppIy, the suppIy oI oII, copper, aIumInum and other resources have more
than kept up wIth demands oI an IncreasIng popuIatIon. SImon has shown that amId
popuIatIon growth, resources have become Iess scarce (or are In greater suppIy reIatIve
to the technoIogy used to extract and to empIoy the resource) by showIng that theIr
prIces have gone down over tIme. These trends boIster hIs argument IIrst poInted out
by SImon Kuznets, the 1971 NobeI prIze wInner: "More peopIe, and Increased Income,
cause probIems In the short run. ThIs Increased scarcIty oI resources causes prIces to
rIse. The hIgher prIces present opportunIty, and prompt Inventors and entrepreneurs
to search Ior soIutIons. Many IaII at cost to themseIves. 8ut In a Iree socIety, soIutIons
are eventuaIIy Iound. And In the Iong run the new deveIopments Ieave us better oII than
II the probIems had not arIsen. That Is, prIces end up Iower than beIore the Increased
Ìn other words, addItIonaI persons born In a democratIc socIety mean more mInds and
hands to Ieed addItIonaI mouths, sheIter and cIothe addItIonaI bodIes, and educate
addItIonaI mInds. Each addItIonaI person Is a net producer oI Ideas and resources. ThIs
Is proven by hIstory whereIn every Iarger generatIon has IeIt the worId In a better state
Ior next one. One good prooI oI thIs Is that the IIIe expectancy oI the FIIIpIno has
Increased Irom 47.8 years In 1950-1955 to 68.6 years In 1995-2000.
AssertIon No. 3: Our popuIatIon growth Is out oI controI.
Some persons poInt out that we need to manage the PhIIIppIne popuIatIon because It Is
sImpIy growIng too Iast Ior Its own good (wIthout cIearIy statIng why). For II we don't,
they warn that the popuIatIon wIII reach 178 mIIIIon In 2036, doubIe the 89 mIIIIon In
2007. We shouIdn't worry about thIs at aII sInce thIs IIgure Is way above the UN hIgh
varIant projectIon oI 142 mIIIIon Ior 2036.
Why the wIde dIIIerenceZ On one hand, the 'popuIatIon doubIes' projectIon assumes
that the 1995-2000 annuaI popuIatIon growth rate oI 2.36Z wIII hoId steady Ior the
next 29 years. On the other hand, the UN hIgh varIant projectIon assumes that these
growth rates wIII come down Irom 2.08Z In 2000-2005 to 1.02Z In 2045-2050. The
Iatter assumptIon seems to be a more reasonabIe one sInce PhIIIppIne annuaI
popuIatIon growth rates have been decreasIng: Irom 3.06Z In 1948-1960 down to 2.
36Z In 1995-2000. 8ased on the Iast census, It has gone down even Iurther to 2.04Z
What peopIe don't reaIIze about an IncreasIng popuIatIon Is that It Is caused by Iess
babIes dyIng and more peopIe IIvIng Ionger. Peter 8auer has wrItten: "CIearIy, the
much-depIored popuIatIon expIosIon.shouId be seen as a bIessIng rather than a
dIsaster, because It stems Irom a IaII In mortaIIty, a prIma IacIe Improvement In
peopIe's weIIare, not a deterIoratIon." For Instance, InIant mortaIIty rates In the
PhIIIppInes (number oI deaths per 1,000 bIrths between bIrth and up to age one year)
have gone down Irom 134.4 In 1950-1955 to 34.4 In 1995-2000 and Iurther down to
25 In 2005. LIIe expectancIes Irom bIrth have Increased Irom 47.8 years In 1950-1955
to 68.6 years In 1995-2000.
AssertIon No. 4: Larger IamIIIes are poor IamIIIes.
ThIs Is true. A sampIe oI IamIIIes that have reached theIr IInaI IamIIy sIze
the 2000 FamIIy Ìncome and ExpendIture Survey (FÌES) (pubIIshed by the NatIonaI
StatIstIcs OIIIce) IndIcates an IncreasIng proportIon oI poor IamIIIes as IamIIy sIze
Increases: Irom 4.9Z In IamIIIes wIth no chIIdren to 59.1Z In IamIIIes wIth seven
chIIdren (see TabIe 6).
NonetheIess, It wouId be poor judgment on our part to use thIs observatIon as a
basIs Ior IImItIng the IamIIy sIze oI poor peopIe Ior two reasons. FIrst, IIndIng
that IncreasIng IamIIy sIze Is assocIated wIth IncreasIng IncIdence oI poor
IamIIIes does not prove that a Iarger IamIIy sIze Is what makes a IamIIy poor.
The more IIkeIy reason why some IamIIIes are poor Is the IImIted schooIIng oI
the househoId head. Ìn Iact, 78Z to 90Z oI the poor househoIds In each IamIIy
sIze had heads wIth no hIgh schooI dIpIoma (See TabIe 2). Ìn other words, poor
IamIIIes are poor not because they are Iarge but because most oI theIr heads
have IImIted schooIIng whIch prevents them Irom gettIng good payIng jobs.
ThIs IIndIng that poor IamIIIes have heads that Iack schooIIng conIIrms the
resuIts oI the 2002 8aIIsacan and PernIa study on poverty IncIdence In PhIIIppIne
regIons: the provIsIon oI educatIon, hand In hand wIth roads, heIps reduce
poverty. Ìn other words, persons can take IuII advantage oI theIr educatIon onIy
II they have access to jobs that pay good wages and to markets they pay good
prIces Ior the goods they produce. The study aIso showed that agrarIan reIorm
and IrrIgatIon aIIevIate poverty. ThIs IIndIng makes sense, especIaIIy In regIons
where agrIcuIture Is domInant. Ìn hIs 2001 paper on PhIIIppIne poverty,
8aIIsacan showed that poverty Is maInIy a ruraI phenomenon and nearIy two-
thIrds oI the ruraI poor work In the agrIcuIturaI sector.
TabIe 2. ProportIon oI IamIIIes that are poor and proportIon oI poor IamIIIes whose heads had
no hIgh schooI dIpIoma, by number oI chIIdren, 2000.*
ThIs sampIe represents 3.3 mIIIIon IamIIIes wIth zero to seven chIIdren whose heads are
marrIed, aged 40-49 and heId a job.. A IamIIy Is cIassIIIed as "poor" when Its annuaI Income
IaIIs beIow the IamIIy poverty threshoId Income. The Iatter IIgure can be caIcuIated by
muItIpIyIng the number oI IamIIy members by the per capIta poverty threshoId Income. The
Iatter was estImated to be P11,605 In 2000 and represented the mInImum amount oI money
needed to enabIe a person to eat enough Iood that wouId gIve the mInImum amount oI caIorIes
and nutrItIonaI requIrements and to buy essentIaI non-Iood Items.
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
ProportIon oI IamIIIes that
are poor (In Z)
4.9 12.5 15.4 22.
42.3 53.2 59.1
ProportIon oI poor IamIIIes
whose heads had no HIgh
SchooI dIpIoma (In Z)
84.5 88.9 84.
81.6 83.8 82.1
*ThIs sampIe consIsts oI IamIIIes wIth marrIed househoId heads, aged 40-49 and heId a job at
the tIme oI the survey. Poverty IncIdence was IamIIIes that earned annuaI Incomes beIow the
IamIIy poverty threshoId IeveI In 2000 (P11,605 tImes the number oI IamIIy members).
Source: 2000 FÌES; authors' caIcuIatIon
Second, IIndIng that Iarger IamIIIes are usuaIIy poor cannot be used as a basIs
to concIude that poor parents cannot controI and do not consIder the
consequences oI theIr procreatIve capacItIes. For Lant PrItchett, oI the Harvard
Kennedy SchooI oI Covernment, has Iound that 90Z oI the varIatIon In actuaI
IertIIIty rates can be accounted by varIatIons In desIred IertIIIty rates. Ìn other
words, parents who have Iarge IamIIIes want Iarge IamIIIes; parents want the
chIIdren that they actuaIIy beget.
AssertIon No. 5: ÌnstItutIng a two-chIId popuIatIon poIIcy, through the proposed
ReproductIve HeaIth, ResponsIbIe Parenthood, and PopuIatIon DeveIopment 8III
wIII sIgnIIIcantIy reduce poverty.
SuccessIuIIy ImpIementIng thIs two-chIId poIIcy wIII not hasten the economIc growth
that wIII reduce poverty because It was shown In the revIew oI the earIIer assertIons
that (1) popuIatIon growth has no dIrect eIIect on economIc growth or poverty and (2)
Iarger IamIIIes are more IIkeIy to be poor not because they are Iarge but because theIr
heads have a IImIted educatIon that IImIts theIr access to weII-paId jobs. Moreover,
ImpIementIng thIs popuIatIon controI poIIcy wIII put the country on a practIcaIIy
IrreversIbIe course oI popuIatIon decIIne and ageIng whose consequences we wouId
want to avoId.
For exampIe, sIowIng down the popuIatIon growth Ieads to a sItuatIon whereIn the
share oI persons 65 years and oIder (I.e. retIred workers) Increases whIIe the share oI
persons between the ages oI 15 and 65 years decreases. ThIs resuIts In Iewer and
Iewer workers supportIng one retIred worker and makes It more dIIIIcuIt to IInance
pensIon Iund systems In the Iong run. Moreover, hIstory teIIs us that government
popuIatIon programs typIcaIIy drIve IertIIIty rates beIow the repIacement IeveI oI 2.1
chIIdren per IamIIy whIch means that the country's popuIatIon wIII be decIInIng In the
Iong run. A shrInkIng popuIatIon means Iewer mInds and hands wIII be around to IInd
and ImpIement InnovatIve soIutIons to the chaIIenges It Iaces.
Ìnstead oI ImpIementIng a two-chIId poIIcy, we shouId Iocus our eIIorts on reapIng a
possIbIe demographIc dIvIdend-a stage In a popuIatIon where potentIaI workers
support reIatIveIy Iewer number oI chIId and eIderIy dependents-by educatIng our
peopIe Ior weII-paId jobs and attractIng the Investments needed to generate the
addItIonaI jobs Ior the 1.1-1.2 mIIIIon entrants Into the workIorce each year. What
IoIIows Is an eIaboratIon oI thIs quIck revIew.
UnpIanned bIrths are Interpreted as the unmet need oI women who wouId use
contraceptIves II they had the chance to do so. So, as Its proponents argue, by
encouragIng a two-chIId poIIcy and contraceptIve access, popuIatIon
management Is desIgned to meet thIs need.
AsIde Irom havIng shown that popuIatIon growth has no dIrect causaI eIIect on
economIc growth and poverty and that popuIatIon growth wIII not remaIn at
current rates but wIII actuaIIy decrease, the two-chIId IdeaI IamIIy sIze Is IIawed
Ior three reasons.
FIrst, measures oI unmet need, whIch are used to estImate desIred IertIIIty and
IdeaI IamIIy sIze, are unreIIabIe. Lant PrItchett, a deveIopment economIst at the
Harvard Kennedy SchooI oI government, poInted out In 1994 that the IIgure Ior
"unmet need" Ior contraceptIon Iumps together aII women who mIght not want a
chIId ImmedIateIy and are not usIng contraceptIon. These women, however,
wouId IncIude those who may be InIertIIe, those who may be sexuaIIy InactIve,
and those who may have moraI reasons not to use contraceptIve drugs or
devIces even II they were avaIIabIe.
TypIcaIIy, popuIatIon management proponents brIng up the estImated 473,000
Induced abortIons done each year as evIdence oI an huge unmet need Ior
contraceptIves. A revIew oI the methodoIogy shows that It contaIns at Ieast
three IIaws that overestImates the actuaI number. UsIng two approaches, we
arrIved at the much Iower estImates oI 25,924 and 20,831 Induced abortIons
done annuaIIy (See AppendIx 1).
Second, unmet need pIays a reIatIveIy smaII roIe In expIaInIng the actuaI IertIIIty oI
women. PrItchett (1994) Iound that the "desIred IeveIs oI IertIIIty account Ior 90Z oI
the dIIIerences across countrIes In totaI IertIIIty rates." Ìn other words, coupIes have
Iarge IamIIIes because they want Iarge IamIIIes. Ìt makes perIect sense, Ior exampIe,
that FIIIpIno Iarmers may want Iarger IamIIIes because they want more hands to heIp
them In the Iarm, as weII as chIIdren who can take care oI them In theIr oId age.
ThIrd, ImpIementIng a two-chIId poIIcy as part oI a popuIatIon management program
sets the country on a course oI popuIatIon decIIne and ageIng that It wouId want to
avoId sInce It wouId be dIIIIcuIt to reverse. Here's why: Ioseph ChamIe, dIrector oI the
UN PopuIatIon DIvIsIon, In a paper presented to the PopuIatIon AssocIatIon oI AmerIca
In AprII 2004 says: "SIxty countrIes-about one-thIrd oI the countrIes In the worId-
have perIod IertIIIty rates beIow 2.1; and haII oI those countrIes have IeveIs oI 1.5 or
Iess." FertIIIty rates beIow the repIacement rate oI 2.1 means that these countrIes wIII
eventuaIIy experIence the decIIne and ageIng oI theIr popuIatIons. For exampIe,
sIxteen countrIes are projected to Iose at Ieast one mIIIIon peopIe over the 2008-2050
perIod. Four countrIes couId experIence popuIatIon decIInes at greater than 10 mIIIIon:
Iapan: 33 mIIIIon; RussIa: 32 mIIIIon; UkraIne, 13 mIIIIon; and Cermany: 11 mIIIIon. Ìn
the same paper, ChamIe presents a tabIe that IndIcates that 28 oI the 60 countrIes wIth
beIow repIacement IertIIIty rates are ImpIementIng programs to raIse IertIIIty rates.
Excerpts Irom newspaper and magazIne artIcIes that gIve a sampIe what some oI these
programs are presented In TabIe 4.
Ìt cannot be overemphasIzed that the countrIes currentIy experIencIng beIow
repIacement rates started on thIs path wIth a two-chIId poIIcy. ActIng In hIs personaI
capacIty, ChamIe concIudes In thIs paper that the eIIorts oI countrIes to raIse IertIIIty
rates wIII not be enough to brIng them back to repIacement IeveIs. Thus, the
PhIIIppInes shouId Iearn Irom the experIence oI countrIes who are now tryIng to raIse
theIr IertIIIty rates, aIter usIng a two-chIId poIIcy to reduce them, by not adoptIng the
two-chIId poIIcy aItogether.
Ìnstead oI ImpIementIng a two-chIId popuIatIon poIIcy, we shouId Iocus our eIIorts on
cashIng In on a possIbIe "demographIc dIvIdend." A chance to reap a demographIc
dIvIdend exIsts when a prevIousIy Iast growIng popuIatIon decreases Its growth rate (It
was noted earIIer that the UN projects that the 2.36Z annuaI growth rate In 1995-2000
wIII go down to 0.92Z In 2045-2050) and thus resuIts In the Iabor Iorce growIng Iaster
than the dependent (thus economIcaIIy unproductIve) popuIatIon oI chIIdren and
eIderIy. Ìn other words, the popuIatIon Is In a phase where the potentIaI workIorce
(popuIatIon aged 15-64 years) Is supportIng a reIatIveIy smaIIer number oI dependents
(popuIatIon aged 0-14 years (chIId dependents) and 65 years and over (eIderIy
dependents)). ÌI the proper poIIcIes are In pIace durIng thIs demographIc stage, then
the expected Increase In savIngs and Iabor suppIy can be harnessed to sustaIn rapId
economIc growth that reduces poverty.
TabIe 3. TotaI IertIIIty rates (TFR) and popuIatIon, 2008,
and projected popuIatIon change, 2008-2050
In seIected countrIes
Country TFR 2008
Iapan 1.3 127.7 -32.5
RussIa 1.4 141.9 -31.8
UkraIne 1.3 46.2 -12.8
Cermany 1.3 82.2 -10.8
South Korea 1.3 48.6 -6.3
TaIwan 1.1 23.0 -4.9
RomanIa 1.3 21.5 -4.4
SpaIn 1.4 46.5 -2.6
8uIgarIa 1.4 7.6 -2.6
8eIarus 1.4 9.7 -2.0
SerbIa 1.4 7.4 -1.6
CeorgIa 1.4 4.6 -1.3
Cuba 1.4 11.2 -1.3
PortugaI 1.3 10.6 -1.3
Hungary 1.3 10.0 -1.1
Czech RepubIIc 1.4 10.4 -1.0
Source: 2008 WorId PopuIatIon Data Sheet
TabIe 4. Excerpts oI news artIcIes on IertIIIty raIsIng programs In seIected countrIes
AsIan economIes desperate Ior
DaIIy Express News, 2 February
"'Our IaIIIng bIrth rate Is a cause oI great concern,' SIngapore
PrIme MInIster Coh Chok Tong saId In a recent Iunar new
year message In whIch he Issued a Iresh appeaI Ior hIs
peopIe to produce more babIes."
France oIIers E800 reward Ior
each new baby
8rItIsh MedIcaI IournaI, 10 May
"The French PrIme MInIster, Iean-PIerre RaIIarIn, announced
Iast week that a bonus oI õ800 (†560, $895) wIII be awarded
mothers Ior each baby born aIter 1 Ianuary 2004. The bonus
Is part oI a serIes oI measures to encourage IamIIIes to have
"Have three babIes" to sustaIn
DaIIy TeIegraph, 12 December
"Women who are IertIIe wIII need to have three chIIdren each
to sustaIn the current popuIatIon oI 8rItaIn at around 59
mIIIIon, the OIIIce oI NatIonaI StatIstIcs says."
CountrIes pIay the datIng game
to haIt the baby bIues
FInancIaI TImes, 10 December
"When governments start runnIng datIng programmes, you
know that poIIcymakers are worrIed about Iow bIrth rates.
SInce the Iate 1990s, Iapanese preIectures have been
organIzIng hIkIng trIps and cruIses Ior sIngIe peopIe"
ÌtaIy oIIers cash to boost Its
Reuters, 7 December 2003
"The 2004 budget package IncIudes a one-tIme 1,000 euros
($1,200) payment to ÌtaIIans on the bIrth oI theIr second
chIId, a measure set to run Irom December 1 untII the end oI
2004. . Mayor Rocco FaIIvena (oI LavIano) dIggIng deep
Into town coIIers Is oIIerIng coupIes 10,000 euros ($11,900)
Ior every newborn baby."
Have more babIes, say the
DaIIy MaII, 22 September 2003
"Women shouId have more babIes to stave oII the IoomIng
crIsIs oI an ageIng popuIatIon, the TorIes wIII say today. The
caII to 'go Iorth and muItIpIy' comes Irom work and pensIons
spokesman DavId WIIIetts, who wants coupIes to send bIrth
ChIId-IrIendIy poIIcIes can't
deIuse a popuIatIon tImebomb
ScotIand on Sunday,
15 February 2004
"The popuIatIon oI ScotIand wIII IaII beIow IIve mIIIIon by
2009, accordIng to a recent artIcIe. More worryIng than the
Iact the popuIatIon Is gettIng smaIIer, Is that It's aIso gettIng
oIder as the bIrth rate IaIIs sIgnIIIcantIy. AII thIs suggests
that by the year 3573, there'II be two peopIe IeIt In ScotIand,
probabIy a marrIed coupIe In theIr 90s IIvIng In 8earsden."
SeouI to use tax breaks to
Increase bIrth rate
Korea HeraId, 26 August 2003
"The government pIans to expand tax breaks Ior IamIIIes
wIth young chIIdren and Increase support Ior daycare centers
In order to heIp workIng women and boost Korea's IaIIIng
bIrth rate, the MInIstry oI FInance and Economy saId
Why have cupId and the stork
The StraIts TImes, 22 March
"CupId and the stork IIew Into ParIIament Ior a scoIdIng
yesterday as MPs questIoned why SIngapore's approach to
get sIngIes to tIe the knot and have babIes has IaIIed. They
dId not hoId back theIr punches as they caIIed on the
Covernment to reIook Its poIIcIes that have neIther stopped
nor reversed the decIInIng marrIage and IertIIIty rates. And
MPs were not short oI poIIcIes to pummeI, wrestIIng wIth
Issues such as abortIon, chIIdcare, InIant care and
Ìn address to EstonIans,
PresIdent caIIs on cItIzens to
have more babIes
New York TImes,
2 Ianuary 2003
"WorrIed about a decIInIng popuIatIon, EstonIa's presIdent
has urged the country's 1.4 mIIIIon resIdents to make more
babIes. 'Let us remember that In just a coupIe oI decades
the number oI EstonIans seeIng the New Year wIII be one-
IIIth Iess than today,' PresIdent ArnoId RuuteI saId In a
speech broadcast IIve on natIonaI teIevIsIon Wednesday."
Source: Ioseph ChamIe. 2004. "Low FertIIIty: Can Covernments Make a DIIIerence." A paper
presented to the AnnuaI MeetIng oI the PopuIatIon AssocIatIon oI AmerIca, 8oston, 1-3 AprII
We reckon that the PhIIIppInes has a 35-year wIndow oI opportunIty to reap thIs
possIbIe demographIc dIvIdend. 8ased on the UN hIgh varIant projectIon, the totaI
dependency ratIo (totaI number oI dependents Ior every 100 potentIaI workers) Is
expected to ease Irom 65 In 2005 to Its Iowest IeveI oI 53 In 2040. Over the same 35-
year perIod, the UN projects that the chIId dependency ratIo (number oI chIId
dependents Ior every 100 potentIaI workers) wIII go down Irom 59 to 39. The eIderIy
dependency ratIo (number oI eIderIy dependents Ior every 100 potentIaI workers) oI
sIx In 2005 Is expected to Increase to a stIII manageabIe ratIo oI 14 In 2040. These
IIgures cIearIy show that the PhIIIppInes Is not suIIerIng Irom a "demographIc onus" as
some peopIe are cIaImIng. Rather, we are actuaIIy sIttIng on top oI a possIbIe 35-year
To reap thIs demographIc dIvIdend over the next 35 years, what needs to be done Is to
educate these potentIaI workers to prepare them to get good jobs and to ImpIement
poIIcIes that wouId attract the Investments needed to generate good payIng jobs that
wouId match the projected annuaI addItIon oI 1.1-1.2 mIIIIon to the potentIaI
A summary oI "An AnaIysIs oI the EstImated FIgure oI Induced abortIons In the
PhIIIppInes In 2000 as pubIIshed In a 2006 Cuttmacher ÌnstItute report by SusheeIa
SIngh et aI"
8y Dr. Roberto De Vera
Ìn the 2006 Cuttmacher ÌnstItute report "UnIntended PregnancIes and Ìnduced
AbortIons In the PhIIIppInes: Causes and Consequences", SusheeIa SIngh et aI
estImated that there were 473,000 Induced abortIons compIeted In the PhIIIppInes In
2000 usIng a method consIstIng oI three steps. FIrst, based on reports gathered Irom
2,039 hospItaIs whIch contaIned the top ten IeadIng causes oI admIssIon In the 1999-
2001 perIod, they arrIved at an estImate oI the number oI women In 2000 who were
hospItaIIzed due to compIIcatIons Irom both Induced and spontaneous abortIons.
Second, they caIcuIated the number oI women hospItaIIzed Ior Induced abortIons by
subtractIng the estImated number oI women hospItaIIzed Ior spontaneous abortIons
(or mIscarrIages) Irom the estImated number oI women hospItaIIzed Ior Induced and
spontaneous abortIons. FInaIIy, they arrIved at the estImated number oI women who
had Induced abortIons by muItIpIyIng the estImated number oI women hospItaIIzed Ior
compIIcatIons due to Induced abortIons by 6 to account Ior the women who had
Induced abortIons who dIdn't go to the hospItaI.
We IInd that theIr method overestImates the IIgure oI Induced abortIons In the
PhIIIppInes In 2000 because oI three IIaws. These IIaws had the eIIect oI 1)
overestImatIng the IIgure Ior women hospItaIIzed Ior spontaneous and Induced
abortIons due to an assumptIon that Is weakIy supported by statIstIcaI data; 2)
underestImatIng the number oI women hospItaIIzed Ior compIIcatIons due to
spontaneous abortIons (or mIscarrIages) because It mIstakenIy covers onIy those
women wIth spontaneous abortIons occurrIng In 12th to 22nd week oI pregnancy who
were hospItaIIzed Ior compIIcatIons; and 3) usIng a muItIpIIer whIch most IIkeIy Is
hIgher than the ratIo oI the number oI women who have Induced abortIons to the
number oI women who are hospItaIIzed Ior compIIcatIons due to Induced abortIons.
UsIng modIIIed versIon oI the SIngh et aI methodoIogy (corrected to account Ior the
above IIaws), we arrIved at an aIternatIve estImate oI 25,924 Induced abortIons In the
PhIIIppInes In 2000 (1.3 abortIons per 1,000 women In the reproductIve age). UsIng a
second method, we muItIpIIed 0.0117, the share oI Induced abortIons to IIve bIrths by
the number oI IIve bIrths In 2000, to arrIve at second estImate oI 20,831 Induced
abortIons In the PhIIIppInes In 2000 (1.1 abortIons per 1,000 women oI reproductIve
age). We consIder these two estImates oI Induced abortIon In the PhIIIppInes In 2000
to be more reasonabIe than the 473,000 estImate (24.5 Induced abortIons per 1,000
women oI reproductIve age) pubIIshed In the 2006 Cuttmacher ÌnstItute report.