PCPD started operations in 1973 as the Population Center Foundation (PCF). Its first mandate was to serve as a resource institution for the Philippine population program whose major concern then was "managing the growth of the country’s population through fertility reduction or family planning."
PCF was renamed the Philippine Center for Population and Development (PCPD) on February 15, 1991 to reflect the change in its mission. As an operating foundation, it expanded its scope beyond traditional population concerns. Still in the context of population management, its programs addressed the social and human development of rural and urban communities in the Philippines.
“PCPD provides financial support to policy researches and action programs that promote a close linkage between population and development.”
In 2000, the Board of Trustees decided to shift the Foundation’s role from implementing to grant making. In this capacity, it provides financial support to policy research and action programs that promote a close linkage between population and development.
PCPD's operations are fully covered by earned income from trust funds and lease rentals of the building that it owns and manages.