A Research Project on "The Population-Poverty Nexus in Rural Areas"

Code:    02-017
Date:    09/16/2002 - 09/15/2003

The project made quantitative assessments of the connection between poverty and population as bases for policy advocacy on population, poverty, and development.  It simulated population-poverty-development outcomes under alternative policy scenarios.

Two roundtable discussions on the findings were held, and a monograph on the population-poverty nexus was produced.

Its main objective was to examine the effects of population dynamics on economic growth and poverty, comparing the Philippines with other countries.

Main Findings of the Study

1. Total population growth rate has a negative and significant impact on economic growth.

2. Workers’ population growth has a positive and significant impact on economic growth.

3. Average life expectancy at birth ( a proxy for health) has a positive and significant impact on economic growth.

4. Openness to trade has a positive and significant impact on economic growth.

5. Quality of public institutions has a positive and significant impact on economic growth.

6. If the Philippines followed the population growth path of Thailand from 1975 to 2000, the average income per person would have increased by 22% by the year 2000, about 3.6  million Filipinos would have moved out of poverty; and an estimated savings of P127 billion from from education and P52 billion from health would have been realized.


1. The Philippines has been paying a high price for unchecked population growth

2. Population growth matters in the economic performance and poverty of nations.

3. Economic growth would have been much faster and poverty reduction quicker if the Philippines had Thailand’s population growth path

4. High population growth is not the sole culprit to the dismal performance of the Philippine economy during the last 25 years, but it is a key factor.

5.There is a need for a clear population policy backed by strong government support.

PopDev Messages 

1. High population growth slows down poverty reduction.

2. Population growth impacts on economic growth.

3. Unmanaged population growth can be costly to the nation.

4. There are potential savings with a lower population growth.