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PIA Press Release
2010/02/12

Feature: One in 3 births in RP is unplanned

Manila (12 February) -- One in three births (36 per cent) in the Philippines is either unwanted (16 per cent) or mistimed (20 per cent), according to the results of the 2008 National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS).

Unplanned pregnancies are more likely to occur among older women than younger women.

The survey data reveals that more than half (53 per cent) of births to women age 40-44 in the five years preceding the survey were unplanned; the majority (84 per cent) of such births were unwanted. Among women age 15-19, 31 percent of births were unplanned, of which, only 21 per cent were unwanted.

The survey data reveals that more than half (53 per cent) of births to women age 40-44 in the five years preceding the survey were unplanned; the majority (84 per cent) of such births were unwanted. Among women age 15-19, 31 percent of births were unplanned, of which, only 21 per cent were unwanted.

These findings are based on the responses of women age 15-49 years to the question as to whether each of their births in the five years preceding the survey was wanted at the time of birth, mistimed or wanted but a later time, or not wanted at all.

These women were also asked their ideal number of children. Four in 10 Filipino women said that they would prefer to have two children if they had a choice, while three in 10 dais that they would choose to have three children. In comparison, a much lower proportion of women would rather have four or more children; four children is ideal for only 14 per cent of the women, while five or more is ideal for 8 per cent of women.

Based on the women's reported ideal number of children, the resulting mean ideal number of children in the Philippines is 2.8 children. Less educated women and those belonging to poorer households would choose to have more children. The mean ideal number of children for women with no education is 5.0 as compared to 2.7 for women with college or higher education; and 3.5 for women in the lowest wealth quintile as compared to 2.6 for those in the highest wealth quintile.

The current fertility in the Philippines as measured by the total fertility rate (TFR), however, is 3.3 children, which is higher than the mean ideal number of children (2.8 children). The TFR is defined as the number of births a woman would have, on average, at the end of her reproductive years if she experienced the current prevailing birth rates among women age 15-49.

The 2008 NDHS is a nationally representative survey of almost 14,000 households and 14,000 women 15-49, conducted from August 7 to September 27, 2008. The 2008 NDHS is the 9th in a series of demographic surveys undertaken by the National Statistics Office (NSO) at five-year intervals since 1968.

Other major findings of the 2008 NDHS will be presented in a data dissemination forum on January 14, 2010. The final report on the survey findings will be distributed in the forum. (NSO/PIA) [top]

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