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Replacement of population

/ 10:31 PM August 24, 2012

Apropos the recent dialogue between Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile and Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan regarding childbirths in the Philippines, specifically whether they are above or below the level required for “replacement of the population” (Inquirer, 8/7/12), the following comments from an article by Dr. Patrick Dunn of New Zealand may be of interest:

“For simple replacement of the population to keep up with deaths, most people assume that the average family size should be 2 children, or perhaps 2.1 or 2.2 to make up for human error. But these figures are too low, as has been shown by Prof. Hubert Campbell of the Department of Medical Statistics, University of Wales. Campbell came to the conclusion that the figure should be over 2.4 children per family. His reasoning was based on the premise that every woman should leave behind her at least one fertile daughter. To achieve this, allowance must be made for the fact that at birth there is a 1-percent preponderance of boys; there is a high infant death rate in the first year or two; about 10 percent of the girls will not marry; and of those who do, some 10 percent will prove to be sterile. These figures add up to about 2.43 children per family. If this is the figure needed for replacement, that for healthy growth must be about 4.0.”

—FR. DESMOND MORRISON,

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Missionary Society of St. Columban,

colphil@pldtdsl.net

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