Green Architrends

Population one more time


BUILDING construction is ubiquitous in Toronto, Canada due to rapid population growth and a stable economy, whereas in most North American cities construction activity is rare because of declining population.

THE IMAGES are all too familiar on television and the newspapers. Clusters of shanties with many dirty, starving children playing; scavengers digging in garbage dumpsites scrounging for trash convertible to cash; traffic-congested roads with all types of smoke-belching vehicles and many high-rise buildings here and there.

The media say we’re in this mess because of our rapidly increasing population and that we must balance population growth with economic development.

We know that the average child-bearing woman in our country had 6 children in 1975, and 3.3 in 2000, and 2.7 today even without legal population control. Yet, some are in a rush for our total fertility rate to reach 2.1 so we can become well-off as a nation, they say.

According to them the way to do it is to help the poor women opt to take contraceptives to limit family size. Look around you; has not family size everywhere gone down from previous generations even among the poor?

In Manila a government hospital sterilizes women who just gave birth there even without their consent. And why do many wealthy families have few children? Is it only about money?

Are we overpopulated?

Do we need to control the number of babies being born in our country? The town where I grew up is hardly recognizable today. The once open field where we played when we were kids is now crammed with buildings and all sorts of commercial establishments. There are more people there now because of urbanization. The proportion of poor to better-off people is not much different. Amount and quality of education has given the population very different options.

We cannot say legislators are worried about the carrying capacity of our land because our nation’s population density is just 250 per square kilometer, not much different from Britain, Germany and Vietnam.  Though, our National Capital Region has a population density of 17,500/sq km because of urbanization and poor planning.  Singapore with little land, has less than half of our NCR’s population density.

Strong economic driver

India, a fast-growing economy, boasts of a population where half fall below 25 years of age. Indonesia is proud to say half of their population is below 30 years of age. Our own Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala at one business gathering said ours is a consumer-driven economy.

According to our Central Bank Governor Amando Tetangco Jr., “Filipinos too young to work account for less than 30 percent of the population and those too old to contribute are only 15 percent. Those in between are the people who have the purchasing capacity that can drive consumption and investment and therefore a faster economy.”

In that sense we are a rich nation because more than half of our population are economically active, and a third is being prepared to become economically active.

What should be our goal and subject of debates then, instead of limiting number of births?  Should we not just encourage our present leaders in attacking corruption in government, improving education, infrastructure development and healthcare?

Isn’t the world looking at Asia today where half of the world’s total population will be found by 2030?

Singapore and Thailand, two progressive nations, consider their aging population as among their formidable challenges. Taiwan, South Korea, Japan and Malaysia are also demographically challenged right now.

Can we please agree that the number of our people is our wealth and not our problem? And can we please accept that our Constitution is rare in having as one provision that the State will protect life from conception until natural death?  Can we also not equivocate on when life begins as we all know that life begins when egg and sperm unite at conception or fertilization?

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Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • borrico

    Thank you for writing this! Indeed, there is still ample space and resources for more people. It is more sustainable to have a rising population than a graying and declining population. rh-bill is indeed a step in the opposite direction from sustainable growth and prosperity of the Philippines. Businessmen should have the common sense to see this and the courage to act on it.

  • clinton jasper Palisoc

    kaya nga tama ka dyan yugi, kaw ba yung bear ni si yugi bear hehehe. any way ganyan talaga ang buhay, may nasa itaas may nasa ibaba, pero lahat ng nasa taas baba rin yan, someday. tataya na lang ako sa lotto para yumaman hehehe, kaya may pag asa pa sa mga mahihirap… sana

  • Yugi

    I think the writer thinks that everything is growing in numbers anyway. He failed to realized, the land area where crops and animals are raised for food production is not growing. He failed to realized that growing humber of people means growing number of mouth to feed today by the same amount of land and resources in 1975. I am not impressed by people who writes good and discuss things so deeply but failed to notice simple but important details.

  • CliffordM

    Yah this theory did not discuss the more demand of resources of consumption on oil,food,forest resources, and the expense in health,electricity and education to raise up one kid.On only says on discussing the consumption issue and not the economic issue.

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