PSA: Deaths and marriages up, births down in 2021
Amid the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic, deaths in the Philippines jumped by nearly two-fifths to 853,074 in 2021, not only due to the increase in coronavirus infections but also to less attention on other deadly diseases.
The latest preliminary data as of Feb. 28, which was released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) on Tuesday, showed registered deaths in the country rose 39 percent from 613,936 in 2020.
An earlier PSA report last month showed that confirmed and unconfirmed COVID-19 cases combined became the second leading cause of death in the Philippines in 2021, with a total of 105,723 deaths attributed to the coronavirus last year. COVID-19 was just behind ischaemic heart diseases — the cause of 136,575 deaths in 2021.
Based on data submitted to the PSA by city and municipal registrars nationwide as of Jan. 31 of this year, COVID-19 “with virus identified” logged 74,008 deaths last year, on top of 31,715 also attributed to the coronavirus but “not identified.”
National Statistician Dennis Mapa had explained that deaths caused by unidentified COVID-19 were not being reported by the Department of Health (DOH) in its tally, as these cases had been unlikely tested for the disease.
Identified and unidentified COVID-19 deaths in 2021 jumped 250.2 percent from the total of 30,188 in 2020, at the onset of the pandemic.
Last year, COVID-19 deaths with virus identified climbed 694.4 percent from only 9,316 in 2020, while those unidentified increased 51.9 percent from 2020’s 20,872.
Meanwhile, the PSA’s latest data showed that the number of registered births declined 14.3 percent to 1.31 million last year from 1.53 million in 2020. It was a further drop from 1.67 million births recorded in 2019, pre-pandemic.
Last January, Mapa told the Inquirer that one reason for declining births was “changing behaviors of couples opting to delay pregnancy due to the pandemic.”
Another pandemic-induced reason for lower births was that some parents were unable to immediately register their newborn child due to movement restrictions aimed at containing COVID-19, Mapa had explained. To recall, the Philippines in 2020 and 2021 imposed one of the longest and strictest lockdowns in the region, if not the world.
Mapa had also said couples’ use of modern family planning methods likewise reduced births. The Reproductive Health Law was aimed at slowing down the birth and fertility rates among Filipino women to control the ballooning population.
Also, Mapa said the decrease in 2020 marriages was another reason for the lower births. The PSA reported last January that the number of registered marriages in the country fell to 240,775 in 2020 — the lowest in 50 years.
But as the economy gradually reopened and the most stringent quarantine restrictions were dismantled since late last year, the latest PSA data showed that the number of registered marriages climbed 43.9 percent to 346,595 in 2021, reversing the decline at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The data on the number of births, marriages and deaths (vital events) presented in this regular monthly [report] were obtained from the vital events registered, either timely or belatedly, at the appropriate office of the city/municipal Registrar throughout the country and subsequently submitted for encoding to the Office of the Civil Registrar General through the provincial statistical offices of the PSA,” the state statistics agency said in a statement.
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