World's Symbolic '8 Billionth Baby' is Born in Manila, Here's Why It Matters

8 Billionth Baby
PHOTO BY Commission on Population and Development NCR/Facebook

(SPOT.ph) A baby girl born in Manila earlier today, November 15, was named as a symbolic "8 billionth baby" in the world, the Philippines' population commission said, marking a new milestone in human development.

Vinice Mabansag was born at Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital in Sta. Cruz, Manila. Her mother, Maria Margarette Villorente, gave birth to her at 1:29 a.m. via normal delivery, according to a GMA News report.

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The United Nations earlier said the world population was projected to reach 8 billion on November 15, a milestone "to celebrate diversity and advancements while considering humanity's shared responsibility for the planet," according to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

In the Philippines, Baby Vinice is just one of the newborn babies that now make up the 110 million Filipinos, based on the projections of the Commission on Population and Development.

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How fast did world population hit 8 billion?

According to the United Nations, it took only 12 years for the global population to grow to 8 billion from 7 billion.

One of the symbolic 7 billionth babies, a girl named Sadia Sultana Oishee, was born in 2011 and is currently living in Bangladesh, a BBC report said.

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While it took 12 years to reach a global headcount of 8 billion people, the United Nations estimated that it would take approximately 15 years, or until 2037, to hit the 9 billion mark, indicating a slower overall growth rate in world population.

What about in the Philippines?

Although there was an expected increase in fertility among Filipino women due to impeded access to family planning services during the pandemic, fertility numbers in the Philippines went down to less than two children per woman, a 2022 survey of Philippine Statistics Authority showed.

The total fertility rate of Filipino women aged 15 to 49 years old now stands at 1.9 children, lower than the 2017 figure of 2.7 children. This means that the fertility rate of Filipino women has reached the level at which they give birth to enough babies to sustain population levels, according to the survey.

The same survey also revealed that one in two currently married women said they no longer want more children, while around two in 10 women want to delay their next childbirths for two or more years.

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While the results of the survey presented a "breakthrough" in the country's programs on population and development, the government should continue ramping up its efforts on family planning, said Commission on Population and Development Officer In Charge Lolito Tacardon.

The PSA said that 5% of the women aged 15 to 19 years old who took part in the 2022 survey said "they have ever been pregnant", 10% of which came from the "poorest households".

"We still have a lot of work before us, such as addressing present concerns on teenage pregnancies, where the numbers are still disturbing. We also need to double-up on our efforts in reducing fertility in rural areas, where the rates are still high," Tacardon said.

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