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Reporter: Aileen A. Tarrayo
As Filipino society undergoes transition from the
traditional agricultural to the modern industrial type ,
changes also occur both within the family and in the
family’s relation to the kin group.
These changes started in the early 19o0s but have
gradually become manifest since the post World War
Among the changes which have been noted are those
involving size and composition of the household.
Trends in size of Households:
Indicators 1970 1990 1995 2000
5.9 5.3 5.1 4.92
with 5 or more
66. 4 59.9 56.2 n.a.
2.3 2.9 3. 45 n.a.
One rich area for research is living arrangement,
particularly with the respect to parent and adult child
The analysis of Perez (1995:74-76) of 13,000 households
in 13 regions of the country reveals that large sib size ,
low household income, and rural residence increase
the probability of nest-living by an adult child.
One aspect of the family structure which has
gradually undergone some modifications as
modernization progresses is the pattern of authority.
Traditionally, deference is given to age.
Headship of the household is automatically assumed
by the oldest male.
Although the deference may still be given to the
elderly as the formally acknowledge head of the family,
the young and better-educated breadwinner today
may actually be the decision-maker and real manager
of the household.
By tradition also, family and household headship is
generally bestowed on the breadwinner who used to
be almost always the husband/father.
Thus majority (87.7 percent) of the acknowledge heads
are male and only 12.2 percent are female according to
the 1995 Census.
Many household today are sustained by the earnings
of both husband/father and wife/mother ad other
members of the household.
Urbanization and industrialization have weakened
The development of trade and business, cultural and
educational facilities and commercialized recreation
has attracted the family members away from home,
thereby loosening the once strong bond between
Separation due to overseas contract work is even
Solo Parent families and other
Widow or widower and his/her children- this is
caused by the death of one spouse where the surviving
spouse does not remarry. It is more often that the
widow survives rather than the widower because of the
longer life expectancy of the female.
Single man or woman ad his/her adopted
child/children- the value of the children is recognized
and accepted in the Philippine society. Homosexuals,
particularly, who have achieve d high socio-economic
status adopt a child of their own to give greater
meaning to their success.
Separated parent and his/her child/children- this
caused by separation by various reasons: divorce , legal
separation, annulment of marriage, abandonment,
estrangement, or temporary absence of one person. By
1998 , the number of overseas Filipino workers more
than doubled from 3 million in the ’80s to 6.79 million
and also the number of solo parent families.
Unwed woman and her child/children- The reasons
why a woman does not marry even after conception is
Mistress and her child/children by a married man- this
is the second family of a married man. This happens
when a married man develops extra-marital
attachments with another woman ad maintains the
family thus formed.
Concern for solo parent families have recently been
expressed in Congress with the sponsorship of a bill
requiring the state , particularly the DSWD and other
related agencies to draw up a comprehensive package
of benefits which includes tax breaks, housing
benefits, health and education insurance . (Jumilla
Functions of the Family and Kin
The family acts as a link between the individual and
the larger social structures.
The family fulfills both the needs of its members and
the requirements essential for the existence of society.
It contributes to societal maintenance through its
The family also trains the individuals for occupational
pursuits to become functioning adults in the
Sex and Reproduction
One of the important functions of the family in all
known societies is the reproductive function.
Society is especially interested in this function due to
its desire to replenish itself, preserve its existence and
insure its continuity.
Children are looked upon as a sort of investment or
insurance policy with the expectation of support in old
They believed that the more children they have the
more blessed they are.
Parents also see their children as a source of happiness,
wealth, and a grace from God.
Because of high value placed on children, the
Philippines has a relatively high birth rate.
However, the crude birth rate has been declining in
such that the by 1996 it was down to 29.0 (Statistical
Yearbook for Asia and the Pacific, 1997:425). The total
fertility rate or completed family size also declined
from 4.1 in 1993 to 3.7 in 1998 ( National Demographic
and Health Survey, 1999:4) Nevertheless, the
Philippine fertility rate remains high by international
Reproduction does not occur at random but is
governed by social and economic conditions.
Metro Manila and other urban areas, for instance,
generally have lower fertility rates than the more rural
population. Thus the total fertility rate or the average
number of children that the urban Filipina would
have at the end of her childbearing years decline by
about 15 percent over the last five years from 3.5 to
3.0, while the rural rate decline only slightly from 4.8
to 4.7 children; consequently, rural women give birth
to almost 2 children more than the urban . ( National
Demographic and Health Survey, p. 4)
Factors that affect the family size
- Women with no education have six children o the
average, or twice as many as college-graduated women
who have only three children (Filipino Women, Issues,
and Trends, 1995:13)
Age at first marriage
- Marrying early increase the chance of having many
- In 1995 it was noted that the average Filipina entered
the marital union at age 23.9 years while her male
counterpart married at 26.6 years.
- The fact that it takes rural-urban migrants at least 15 years
of exposure too urban environment for them to exhibit a
decline in fertility means that assimilation of reproduction
values and behavior patterns is more important than rural-urban
residence per se ( Cabegin, 1986:109).
- The government has even resorted to the enactment of
statutes which provide that a mother can no longer enjoy
maternity leave with pay beyond the fourth child delivery
and that income tax deductions are no longer allowed after
the first four children.