A Mathematical Response to Senator Sotto’s Claims on PH’s Population

The Philippines is not overpopulated according to Senator Tito Sotto.  In this post, I am going to use mathematics to explain why I think otherwise. This post is an example on how to use mathematics in real life, in particular,  to support arguments. It is intended for elementary school and middle school students.

world population

image via Wikipedia

Senator Sotto: “The Philippines is not overpopulated.”

Fact: There are 196 countries in the world and the Philippines is the 12th in terms of population. This  means that it is  on the top 7% of most populated countries. This is despite the country’s small land area compared to the most populated countries. In the table above, seven of the top 15 countries are also in the top 15 largest countries in terms of area.  As you can see, relative to other countries, the Philippines is quite overpopulated.

Senator Sotto: “The population growth decreased by 1.9% in 2010 compared to 2.07 in 1948.”

Fact: Yes, the percentage have decreased. But you cannot compare two percentages having different bases. The base (the number of persons) has increased about five times since the 1950’s. The population in 1950 was 21 million, while there are approximately 103 million people this year.  This implies that in 1950, the population grew by about 434,000 (2.07% of 21 million). By the end of this year, on the other hand, the population will have grown by about 1,957,000. Can you see the difference?

Senator Sotto: “There are areas in the Philippines that are thinly populated.”

Fact: True. But even if the entire population is evenly distributed, the Philippines has still a high population density.  China, for instance, the most populated country in the world with a population of 1.3 billion has a population density (divide the land area by the population) of 139 persons per square kilometer. The Philippines has a population density of 308 persons per square kilometer — twice as densely populated as China.

Yes, we only rank 41st as of this writing  in population density, however China ranks 81st.

And for the bonus, Manila is the most densely populated city in the world.

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