A lot of studies suggest that population has a direct impact to the economy of a country. More specifically, several papers came out highlighting that the Philippines is already overpopulated and this is causing the economic woes of the country. A Policy Brief by the Philippine Center for Population and Development in 2010 categorically stated that “The rapid population growth in the Philippines over the last several decades has hindered the country’s economic development. From 2000 to 2009, the Philippines had one of the highest population growth rates in the Southeast Asian region at 2.04 percent (as of 2007) and the second largest population of more than 92 million in 2009, next only to Indonesia.”
The question is, is this really conclusive? Is population an asset or a liability for a nation? Focusing on the Philippine scenario, there are four issues that can be tackled.
1. Population limits or hinders economic development
On one hand, it can be said that more constituents could mean more burden for the government. It has to provide infrastructure, social services, housing, educational facilities, and others. This is supported not only by the report of PCPD but also by a paper released by the University School of Economics, The Asian Development Bank in its Country Poverty Analysis for the Philippines, among others. However, others cited that despite the steady population growth rate at 2%, the Philippines still experienced stronger economic rise from 2004 to 2008, and even in 2010 to present. Controlling the population could also effect an aging population in the future, which in turn could burden the government with retirement and pension expenses, having only a slimmer working group paying taxes. Besides, the economic development of a country is greatly affected also by food and fuel crises, global economic crises, typhoons and natural disasters.
Table 1. Comparative Population and GDP Growth Rates for...