As defined in the Biology Online, a population refers to a group of organisms of a species that interbreed and live in the same place at the same time. They are capable of interbreeding or reproduction. The population of a certain group may increase in number, it is called population decline. Population bottleneck, as defined in Biology Online, is the reduction in the size of population for a short period. When the population becomes so dense that it causes environmental deterioration, and it impaired the quality of life, it leads to overpopulation. It is a condition of having too many people living in a certain area (Merriam-Webster).
According to Everything Connects, “Human overpopulation is among the most pressing environmental issues, silently aggravating the forces behind global warming, environmental pollution, habitat loss, the sixth mass extinction, intensive farming practices and the consumption of finite natural resources, such as fresh water, arable land and fossil fuels, at speeds faster than their rate of regeneration.”
Overpopulation in the Philippines
Based on the latest estimate of United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division, the Philippine population is 106,512,074 as of July 1, 2018, which is 1.4% of the 7,632,819,325 total world population. The Philippines ranks 13th as the world’s most populated country (Worldometers). With a total land area of 342,353 km², the population density of the Philippines is 311.12 per square kilometer; meaning, there are 311 persons residing in every square kilometer of land.
Figure no. 1 – Philippines Population Density
The answer to the question, “Is the Philippines overpopulated?” would vary depending on the viewpoint relating to the population. There are many factors to consider in the issue of overpopulation. One of it is the use of the country’s land area. The population in the country as well as the natural resources is not equally distributed as shown in the above figure. Some places, especially the urban areas, have greater residents than in rural areas because there is higher career opportunity in the urban. This makes the urban population denser than in rural. In 2015, the most densely populated region was the National Capital Region (NCR) 20,785 people per square kilometer while the most sparsely populated region is the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) with 87 people per square kilometer (Philippine Statistics Authority). This means that some area are overpopulated while others are not. But generally speaking, Philippines per se is not yet overpopulated when it comes to land area.
Other factors to consider are economic development, employment and poverty. In the Philippines, the number of unemployed are high. Surveys also shows that many Filipinos say that they are poor. College graduates over opportunities are very low. In general, the total family income is not enough for the expenses of the family. Hence, there is an overpopulation in these perspective.
Overpopulation as a Challenge and an Opportunity
We experience social issues such as increased in rates of poverty, crime, diseases, and environmental problems as a result of overpopulation. These are challenges that should be solved by our government by giving more access to education, trainings, jobs and other resources. But overpopulation does not only brought challenges to humanity but also opportunities. Some of the positive effect population growth may bring is advancement in technology since more bright minds are being born. Growing population may also generate economic growth since there will also be an increase in the demand of products and will also lead to the upsurge in the employment in the country. Therefore, overpopulation in the country is both a challenge and opportunity. Bur it will depend on the government and the countrymen on how they will react on the increase in population.