Birth rates in Northern Mindanao Region

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Tuesday, April 29, 2014


AS OF March 2014, data from the National Statistics Office (NSO) reveal that the ‘Crude Birth Rate’ (CBR) of Region 10 is 25.1 with the ‘Total Fertility Rate’ (TFR) of 3.2. Both birth rates are based on per 1,000 population constant.

For the common person, these quantitative data can be perplexing.

For the sake of enlightenment, birth rates refer to the quantitative analysis of having babies. At the more technical sense, demographers use the term ‘fertility’, which actually shares a parallel definition as with birth rates: the actual bearing of children.

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For Louis Pol and Richard Thomas; fertility, as they wrote in the ‘Demography of Health and Healthcare: “refers to the reproductive experience of the population.”

“Fertility is a social process requiring the biological interaction of two persons in a specific economic, social, and/or political context”, they explain.

CBR and TFR are the two most commonly used ‘measures’ in fertility.

Furthermore, fertility is among the three demographic processes: mortality and migration, which determine population size.

It is said that the stability of population depends so much on the interplay of these three demographic processes.

For instance, the number of workers (blue and white-collared), households, dependents and resources a community or city has is dependent on its population.

At the social level, it must be made clear that societal survival is dependent on fertility. The addition of population relies on fertility rates without prejudice to migration: the coming in and going out of population in and to certain areas, respectively.

Going back to fertility, CBR is defined by Dr. Donald J. Bogue, a demographer in his “Principles of Demography” as the number of births per 1, 000 total population.

As stated by NSO data, Region 10 has a CBR of 25. 1: Meaning, for every 1, 000 population, there are 25 newborns in Misamis Oriental.

Bogue points that the basic use of CBR is “in expressing current fertility in a form that indicates its effect on population growth”.

He implies that when one subtracts “Crude Death Rate”, a measure of mortality from the CBR, one is able to estimate the annual growth of population.

He informs that among the disadvantages of using CBR is that, “the denominator [of the mathematical formula used] includes a large number of adults past [the] childbearing age”.

For instance, males; very young females; and females beyond menopause are not at risk of pregnancy and birth but are still included in the computation of CBR.

Various demographic literatures add the following drawbacks of using the CBR in estimating fertility in particular and population size & growth in general:

(1) It masks the differences between age compositions of populations; and

(2) Fertility rates are greatly affected by age composition, particularly for women, and the CBR cannot account for this.

On the other hand, TFR is 3.2 in Misamis Oriental according to NSO statistics.

TFR is defined by Pol and Thomas as: “[the] hypothetical completed fertility for a population”.

“Technically, the only way to accurately determine how many children a cohort of young women (e.g., those currently under age 15) will bear over their lifetimes is to wait 30 or more years until they have completed their childbearing”, they add.

In layman’s terminology, TFR is the number of children that women will potentially have by age 50.

Therefore, a TFR of 3.2 implies that every woman per 1, 000 population in Region 10 will potentially have three children by the time they reach the menopausal age.

Bogue argues that TFR is the single best measure of fertility because it is rather closely restricted to the childbearing population and is not influenced by differences in the age composition between childbearing populations.

“This is the measure that demographers generally regard as the most sensitive, and yet meaningful, with which to measure fertility”, he points out.

So what about fertility rates and population growth?

Fertility rates offer a handful of insights that encompass the other proponents of the society which includes but are not limited to economics, politics, healthcare and religion.

For example, industrial societies have TFR between 1 to 2;whereas, developing countries have 3 to 4.

On the extremes, post-industrial societies as those in Europe have negative TFR that further implies that the old outnumbers the young in the population. In turn this may result to the scarcity of manpower or the population who are considered able to work. Thus, these Western societies call for migrants from the developing nations such as the Philippines to fill in positions that are only feasible of a person in a working age.

(With additional sources from: Census of Population and Housing; Family Health Survey; and Family Planning Survey)

[Email: polo.journalist@gmail.com]

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on April 29, 2014.

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