Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Demographics of the Philippines

Demographics of the Philippines. The people of the Philippines are called Filipinos. Majority of them are of Malay ethnicity who migrated to the islands long before the Christian era. The most significant ethnic minority group is the Chinese, who have played an important role in commerce since the ninth century, when they first came to the islands to trade. As a result of intermarriage, many Filipinos have some Chinese and Spanish ancestry. Americans and Spaniards constitute the next largest alien minorities in the country. Small forest tribes live in the more remote areas of Luzon and Mindanao.

The vast majority of the people are Christians (Roman Catholic 83%, Protestant 9%) and most were converted and Westernised to varying degrees during nearly 400 years of Western rule. A large Muslim minority (5%) exists predominantly on the island of Mindanao and Buddhism and other faiths make up the remainder.

A total of one hundred seventy-two native languages and dialects are spoken, all belonging to the Austronesian linguistic family. The eight most spoken native languages are Tagalog (dialects: Lubang, Manila,Marinduque, Bataan, Batangas, Bulacan, Tanay-Paete, Tayabas) Cebuano (also known as Visayan or Sugbuhanon; dialects: Cebu, Boholano, Leyte, Mindanao Visayan), Ilocano, Ilonggo (also known as Hiligaynon; dialects:(Hiligaynon, Kawayan, Bantayan), Ilongot (dialects:Abaka, Egongot, Ibalao, Italon, Iyongut), Waray (also known as Samarnon or Samar-Leyte), Bicolano, Kapampangan, and Pangasinense. These are spoken natively by more than 85% of the population.

Foreign languages spoken by Filipinos include English, Chinese (Mandarin and Hokkien), Arabic (especially among the Muslim population), and Spanish (with its local creole, Chavacano). English is the predominant non-native language and is spoken to a great degree by majority of Filipinos. Spanish, which ceased to be an official language, is now only used by a very small number of Filipino families.

Since 1939, in an effort to develop national unity, the government has promoted the use of the official national language, Filipino, which is based on Tagalog. Filipino is taught in all schools and is gaining acceptance, particularly as a second language for a diverse population. While Filipino is the national languages, both Filipino and English are considered the official languages of the country according to its constitution and are used extensively in government, education, and commerce.

Despite this multiplicity of languages, the Philippines has one of the highest literacy rates in the East Asian and Pacific area. About 90% of the population 10 years of age and older are literate.

Table of contents
1 History
2 Other information
3 Related articles


The Negritos are believed to be the aborigines of the Philippines. In 1911, they were described as follows:

The ethnic Malay came from the south, in successive waves of immigration beginning in pre-historic times. They are composed of 23 distinct groupings, varying widely in culture, language, and appearance. Their languages however belong to one common stock. The Moros were the last of the Malays to migrate to the islands; they came after their conversion to Islam. Slavery was common among them.

1903 census

In 1903 the population of the Philippines was 7,635,426, including 56,138 foreign-born. By city, and towns exceeding 10,000, the population was

There were 13,400 villages, nearly 75% of which had fewer than 600 inhabitants.

By race, the population was:

By language, the ethnic Malay population was:



The population of the Philippines was 17,000,000. Manila had a population of 684,000.

There were 30,000 Japanese living in the Philippines, with 20,000 of them in Davao, Mindano. There were 117,000 Chinese in the islands and 9,000 Americans lived on Luzon.

Some 27% of the population spoke English and 3% spoke Spanish. Tagalog was the official language (since 1937), although twice as many people spoke Visayan.

Other information

Population: 81,159,644 (July 2000 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 37% (male 15,344,555; female 14,807,320)
15-64 years: 59% (male 23,777,245; female 24,285,565)
65 years and over: 4% (male 1,312,646; female 1,632,313) (2000 est.)

Population growth rate: 2.07% (2000 est.)

Birth rate: 27.85 births/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Death rate: 6.13 deaths/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Net migration rate: -1.02 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.8 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2000 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 29.52 deaths/1,000 live births (2000 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 67.48 years
male: 64.65 years
female: 70.46 years (2000 est.)

Total fertility rate: 3.48 children born/woman (2000 est.)

noun: Filipino(s)
adjective: Philippine

Ethnic groups: Christian Malay 91.5%, Muslim Malay 4%, Chinese 1.5%, other 3%

Religions: Roman Catholic 83%, Protestant 9%, Muslim 5%, Buddhist and other 3%

Languages: Pilipino (derived from Tagalog), English (official)

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 94.6%
male: 95%
female: 94.3% (1995 est.)

Related articles