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Demographic Profile

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The Philippines, with its 7,641 islands, is a nation that sprawls over 300,000 square kilometres. Its three major island groups, Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, are diverse in size and culture.

Proof of the country’s rich culture is its over 170 indigenous languages. Mindanao is also home to the unique Bangsamoro Autonomous Region, established in 2019. Filipino and English are the official languages.

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As of 2020, the population stands at over 109 million, with children under 15 making up about 30.7 per cent. Population growth has slowed since 2015, now at an annual rate of 1.63 per cent.

Urban areas have been swelling rapidly. In 2020, more than half of the population lived in cities, a noticeable jump from 2015. The Philippines is amidst a demographic shift that hints at a younger, urbanized future. By 2030, the population is expected to rise to 125 million, with a reduced growth rate and a smaller youth segment. This shift points to a burgeoning workforce and a critical period for investing in education and job training to capitalize on this 'demographic dividend.'

  • Dominant religion: A vibrant Roman Catholic faith characterizes much of the country, with 80 per cent of the population following the religion.
  • Regional variations: The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) region stands out, with over 90 per cent of its inhabitants practising Islam.
  • Ethnic diversity: Rich in ethnic variety, the nation is home to many groups such as the Tagalog, Cebuano and Ilocano, among others.
  • Indigenous communities: Indigenous peoples, constituting 10 per cent–20 per cent of the populace, have a strong presence, especially noted in groups like the Igorot and Lumad.
  • Rights and recognition: The Indigenous People’s Rights Act acknowledges and protects the cultural heritage, land rights and self-determination of these vital communities.

The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child has raised birth registration as a challenge in the Philippines. The 2020 Census of Population and Housing indicated that a total of 104,938,965 persons had their births registered with a Local Civil Registry Office, equivalent to 96.6 per cent of the population.

Region I is the region with the highest per cent registered (99.2 per cent), while the BARMM region has the lowest proportion of persons registered (77.0 per cent). For those who remain unregistered, not having a birth certificate can increase the risk of negative impacts regarding child rights, including more limited access to social protection services and participation in civil affairs such as voting, given that birth certificates are required “for accessing government assistance programmes and services and for school enrolment.”

The BARMM government is making efforts to address this, for example launching a free birth registration project in BARMM provinces in 2022 and issuing a memorandum to enlist local chief executives in support of Barangay local government units in registering births.