DAVAO CITY-While the country's population growth rate (PGR) has decreased to 1.72 as of August 2015, Davao Region ranks 6th overall in surpassing the national data with a PGR of 1.74.
This brings the region's population to 4,893,318 from a previous 4,468,563, reflecting an increase of 9.5% over five years.
Various factors have been shown to contribute to the state of the current population. According to the 2013 National Demographic and Research Survey (NDHS), 53.8% of married women in the region are using some form of contraception, 14.6% of which employ these methods to postpone the next birth or space while 39.1% do so to stop childbearing altogether or limit their number of children. This is lower than the national contraceptive prevalence rate (CPR) of 55.1%.
Regionwide, only 39.3% are using any modern method of family planning. The most popular method of choice among currently married women aged 15-49 years old is the pill with 22.1%, followed by female sterilization or bilateral tubal ligation at 8.6%.
A staggering 46.2% do not use any form of contraception, higher than the national average of 45%.
The region's unmet need for family planning has been identified to be 17.5%, divided between married women who want to space (7.5% ) or limit their family size (10%). This coincides with the national average for unmet need at 17.5%.
This data takes on more significance when looking at the situation of sexually active women. Davao Region has the highest percentage in the country of women aged 15-24 years old who had sexual intercourse before age 15 (5.2%) and women aged 18-24 years old who had sex before 18 (27.1%). This translates further into 26.2% of women aged 15-24 years old having had a live birth. 30.2% have also began childbearing, putting the region at third on a national scale.
Davao Region's total demand for unmet need, defined as the sum of unmet need plus total contraceptive use is 71.3%, (22.1% for spacing and 49.1% for limiting), lower than the national demand at 72.6%.
A look at the most recent population census reveals that among the provinces, Davao del Norte tops the list (1,016,332), followed by Compostela Valley (736,107); the least populated province is Davao Occidental, with 316,342 inhabitants. Among the cities, Davao City still ranks first (1,632,991), followed by Tagum City (259,444); the least populated city is Samal (104,123). Santo Tomas in Davao del Norte ranks first as the most populated municipality (118,750), followed by Malita in Davao Occidental (117,746); the least populated municipality can be found in Boston, Davao Oriental, coming in at 13,535.
Despite the increase in Davao region's population, the 2015 Population Census has shown continuing and slowing growth rates nationwide, resulting in a population that is lower by half a million this 2015 compared to the projected population generated by the 2010 census.
Commission on Population Executive Director Dr. Juan Antonio A. Perez III has emphasized the need to exert greater efforts to reduce unmet need for family planning and reproductive health services by providing services to those who wish to limit or space their children in their reproductive years, equivalent to some four to five million Filipino couples and individuals around the country.
In 2010, Region XI had a PGR of 1.97. Comparing it to the current PGR, the decline is notable. However, it still eclipses the country's past PGR of 1.90.
Topping the list of regions exceeding the national PGR in 2015 are ARMM (2.89), Central Luzon (1.95), SOCSARGEN (1.94) and Central Visayas (1.76). (Kelly Marie T. Conlon, Information Officer I, Commission on Population XI)