THE TOTAL number of Filipinos swelled to 109.04 million as of May 2020, up from 100.98 million when the census was last conducted in 2015, according to the Philippines’ latest Census of Population.

The latest figures placed annual population growth for the period 2015-2020 at an average of 1.63%, slowing from the 1.72% average recorded in 2010-2015.

Of the 17 regions, six had growth rates that were roughly equal or higher than the national average: Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM, 3.26%), Calabarzon (2.48%), Central Luzon (2.17%), Central Visayas (1.88%), Mimaropa Region (1.82%), and Caraga (1.63%).   

Meanwhile, Eastern Visayas posted lowest annual population growth for the five-year period at 0.5%, followed by Cordillera Administrative Region at 0.91%, and the National Capital Region (NCR) at 0.97%.

In absolute terms, Calabarzon gained the most in population with an additional 1.78 million in 2020 from 2015. Other regions that saw significant increments were Central Luzon (1.20 million), Central Visayas (685,090), BARMM (622,901), and NCR (607,209).

Calabarzon remained the most populous region with 16.20 million people, followed by neighboring NCR at 13.48 million and Central Luzon with 12.42 million. These three regions make up 38.6% of the country’s population.

The three most populous provinces were Cavite (4.34 million), Bulacan (3.71 million), and Laguna (3.38 million).

The least populous were the islands of Batanes (18,831), Camiguin (92,808), and Siquijor (103,395).

Among highly urbanized cities, Quezon City had the greatest number of warm bodies with 2.96 million people, followed by the cities of Manila (1.85 million), and Davao (1.78 million).

Among the localities in Metro Manila, Valenzuela posted the highest growth rate at 3.03% to 714,978 people. Trailing second and third are the cities of Mandaluyong and Taguig with 2.07% (to 425,758) and 2.06% (to 886,722), respectively.

Meanwhile, Quezon City recorded the slowest growth among NCR localities at 0.17% with Marikina City (0.25% to 456,059) and the municipality of Pateros (0.45% to 65,227) coming in at second and third, respectively. On the other hand, the city of Navotas posted a 0.16% decline in its population to 247,543 people. — B.T.M. Gadon