IN just half a decade, 7.2 million Filipinos have added to the population of people living in urban areas due to the increase in population in barangays outside the National Capital Region (NCR) , according to the Commission on Population and Development (Popcom).
On Tuesday, the PSA said some 58.93 million people, or 54% of the Philippines’ 109.03 million people, live in urban barangays. That was 7.2 million more than the 51.73 million urban residents nationwide in 2015.
This means that an average of 1.44 million Filipinos are part of the country’s growing urban population each year. This, Popcom Executive Director and Undersecretary for Population and Development Juan Antonio A. Perez III, may be due to the 3,525 barangays that could result in heavily populated barangays outside the NCR.
“It can be concluded that urbanization in the Philippines is driven by the increase in population in urban barangays outside the NCR and concentrated in 3,525 barangays, which could result in highly populated barangays outside the NCR. Popcom will carry out a study of areas outside the NCR that are rapidly urbanizing,” Perez told BusinessMirror on Tuesday.
While 488 of the 3,525 barangays are already experiencing urbanization, Perez said, the population of these barangays has increased by 6.46 million.
“This means barangays have grown by an average of 1,832 people over the past five years,” Perez said. “(Another) conclusion that can be drawn based on rural population growth is that more and more people are choosing to stay in rural areas.”
The PSA said that the level of urbanization or the proportion of the total population living in barangays classified as urban was recorded at 54% in 2020. This is 2.8 percentage points higher than the level of urbanization of 51.2% in 2015.
However, PSA data showed that between 2015 and 2020, the urbanization rate was calculated at 2.4%.
This is 2.2 percentage points lower than the 4.6% urbanization rate recorded between 2010 and 2015.
“The rate of urbanization is an indicator to express the speed at which a territory evolves towards an urban classification. In this report, it is calculated by taking the difference between the urban population growth rate and the rural population growth rate,” PSA explained.
PSA said the urban population of the Philippines grew by 2.8% per year between 2015 and 2020. This figure is lower than the annual average of 4.1% recorded between 2010 and 2015.
Moreover, the rural population improved by 0.4% per year between 2015 and 2020, compared to an annual decline of 0.5% between 2010 and 2015.
According to Perez, the results of the 2018 National Migration Survey conducted by PSA and the University of the Philippines Population Institute (UPPI) predicted what is happening today. The NCR has been shown to lose migrants to other regions, especially the Eastern Visayas.
Citing data from the PSA-UPPI survey, he added that migration was then dominated by rural-rural migration at 48% rather than rural-urban migration at 46%.
“The slowdown in population growth in the NCR, from 1.63% (2010-2015) to 0.97% (2015-2020), is also contributing to the slowing rate of urbanization. The growth of the rural population which was -0.5 has become positive at 0.4. Category 3 urban barangays also decreased by 5%,” Perez also said.
Besides the NCR, which is classified as fully urban, four other regions have a level of urbanization above the national level of 54%, PSA said.
This was Region 4A-Calabarzon at 70.5%; Region 11-Davao, 66.8%; Region 3-Central Luzon, 66.3%; and Region 12-Soccsksargen, 55.5%.
Meanwhile, the five regions with the lowest level of urbanization were Region 8-Eastern Visayas at 14.7%; Region 2-Cagayan Valley, 19.5%; Region 5-Bicol, 23.8%; Region 1-Ilocos, 25.5%; and Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao or BARMM, 27.6%.
In terms of provinces, 11 out of 81 provinces recorded a higher level of urbanization than the national level in 2020 by 54%.
Rizal tops the list with an urbanization rate of 94.6%, followed by Bulacan at 85.7%; Laguna, 79.3%; Cavity, 76.9%; and Pampanga, 75 percent.
The data also showed that of the 17 highly urbanized cities (HUCs) outside the NCR, about 16 had a level of urbanization of at least 60%.
Angeles City and Mandaue City had the highest level of urbanization at 100% each, followed by the cities of Olongapo and General Santos with urbanization levels of 98.5% and 98.4% , respectively.
“With an urbanization level of 56%, Tacloban City was the only HUC outside the NCR that had an urbanization level below 60%,” PSA added.
In terms of population, PSA said Davao City had the largest urban population among HUCs outside the NCR, with 1.63 million urban residents or an urbanization level of 91.8%.
It was followed by Cebu City with 908,195 urban inhabitants and an urbanization level of 94.2%, and Zamboanga City with 869,929 urban inhabitants and an urbanization level of 89%.