Western Visayas (Region 6) is among the medium-size regions in the Philippines in terms of population size with 7.9 million people in the May 2020 census of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). This is larger than Hong Kong with 7.5 million, Laos with 7.4 million, and Singapore with 5.7 million.
The largest regions are the Calabarzon (Region 4-A) with 16.2 million (Cavite alone has 4.3 million, Laguna 3.4 million, Rizal 3.3 million), National Capital Region (NCR) or Metro Manila with 13.5 million, and Central Luzon (Region 3) with 12.4 million.
Within Region 6, the biggest province is Negros Occidental including Bacolod City with 3.22 million, followed by Iloilo with 2.5 million.
In terms of population growth rate, the fastest growing is Aklan province with 1.4% average annual growth from 2010-2020. Until 2010, Antique has larger population than Aklan but in 2020, Aklan overtook Antique. Fast population growth in the municipalities of Malay (including Boracay island), Nabas and Numancia pulled up Aklan’s overall growth rate and size.
Iloilo province has faster growth rate than Negros Occidental but Bacolod City has faster growth and population size than Iloilo City. Within Iloilo, fastest growth was registered by the municipalities of Pavia with 4.9% and Estancia with 2.2%.
In Negros Occidental, the big cities aside from Bacolod are Kabankalan, Bago and my hometown Cadiz City.
Curious what would be the population size of our region by 2030 or eight years from now, I made my own projection using an assumed population growth in 2020-2030 of about 0.2% lower than 2010-2020 growth rate of 1.1%. The result is a regional size of about 8.8 million by 2030, Negros Occidental will have 3.5 million, Iloilo 2.8 million (see table).
Present and future population of Western Visayas
Big population means big number of entrepreneurs, workers, traders and consumers. The biggest economies in the world in terms of GDP size are also the countries with huge population – US, China, India, Japan, Germany and Russia.
We just have to keep improving the skills and productivity of our people in the country and the region and free up their entrepreneurial spirit, and prosperity and kauswagan will be with our children and grandchildren.