by Carl Haub, senior demographer
Contraceptive Revolution in the Philippines? After a 14-year delay, a bill to subsidize contraceptives to poor women and require sex education in public schools is now in force in the Philippines. The Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012 was signed into law in December by President Beningo Aquino III, who had been one of the bill’s backers. The new law provides for free contraceptives, requires government hospitals to provide reproductive health services, and mandates public schools to teach sex education. The bill was highly controversial during its long period of debate. The provisions of the law are optional for private hospitals and schools, most likely to mollify religious leaders. Minors, except in special cases, will have to have parental consent to use contraceptives. The new law also reverses bans on contraceptives that had been in effect in Manila City and the suburb of Ayala, Alabang.
The total fertility rate (or TFR, average number of children per woman) in the Philippines is one of Southeast Asia’s highest, at about 3.2. In 2008, 51 percent of married women were using some form of family planning. Just over 33 percent were using a modern method; 16 percent were using the pill; and 9 percent were using female sterilization.
Natural INcrease in Russia! Things are getting more and more interesting in Russia. From January through October 2012, there were more births than deaths—just barely, but an increase nonetheless. Russia has had natural DEcrease—more deaths than births—since 1992.
Even as recently as 2010, deaths exceeded births by 239,568 after having peaked at 958,932 deaths over births in 2000. In the first 11 months of 2012, births totaled 1,744,197 (6.4 percent increase over 2011) and deaths 1,739,597 (1.6 percent decrease), for a natural increase of 4,600. It has appeared for some time that President Vladimir Putin’s offer of large cash payments for a couple’s second and higher birth to raise the birth rate has been working. The current TFR in Russia can be roughly estimated at a bit higher than 1.6, up from the low point of 1.16 in 1999. But natural increase is not the only way Russia’s population is growing. Net immigration has also been rising and now totals about 250,000 annually.
Life expectancy at birth has also been rising rapidly, contrary to popular perception. From 2010 to 2011, life expectancy rose from 63.1 to 64.0 years for males and from 74.9 to 75.6 for females. It had been 58.9 for males and 72.4 for females as recently as 2005.