Global Reach: Philippines

Year Work
Total Funds
Invested To Date


Young people make up 29% of the Philippines population, or about 33 million youth, of the country’s total population of 109.6 million people. Despite urbanization and economic development, the Philippines has been marked with persistent poverty and the inequity between rich and poor continues to increase [1]. Adolescents in the Philippines have limited access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive education and health services and there have been rising rates of teenage pregnancy. Young people in the Philippines face increased challenges obtaining employment and account for almost one-half of the total unemployed, contributing to increased economic challenges.

The Philippines has been one of the hardest-hit by the pandemic in South East Asia with more than 400,000 people testing positive. The pandemic has severely impacted the economy and heightened inequality. According to recent data, 35% of young people have experienced food insecurity during the pandemic [2].

EMpower first partnered with an organisation in the Philippines in 2007 and have worked strategically to positively impact young people. The key areas of focus that EMpower supports in the Philippines strengthens education and livelihood pathways for youth living in under-served communities. Personal and academic development, and health and wellbeing are two other focus areas.


  • Total population: 109.6 million people
  • Young people make up 28.7% of the total population
  • In the Philippines, 47% of the population lives in urban areas and 53% live in rural location. By 2030 more than 50% of the population is expected to be urban. 

Economy & Environment

GDP per capita: 3,102 USD (2018) and declining

GINI index: 44.4 (2015)

% living in poverty: There is high incidence of poverty within the Philippines and data shows that 16.6% of the population lived below the national poverty line (2018) [3]

Food insecurity:  17.6% of the population with prevalence of severe food insecurity (2017-2019)

Although a high proportion of the population has access to basic drinking water, this access is unequal. In 2017, only 80% of the countries poorest households had access to clean drinking water [4].

Key issues that affect youth:

Gender inequality

The Philippines ranks 16 out of 153 in the Global Gender Gap report, which indicates strong gender parity in the country.

Despite this high rating, there continues to be high incidence of violence against women in the Philippines and according to 2017 USAID data, 18.5% of women have experience physical or sexual violence. 

Education (Quality education, SDG4)

The Philippines has a 12-year compulsory educational system, however, dropout rates have been increasing over the past few years despite achieving nearly complete attendance previously.

Livelihoods (Decent work and economic growth, SDG 8)

Young people aged 15-24 in the Philippines account for almost one-half of the total unemployed. Young jobseekers are almost three times more likely than their adult counterparts to be unemployed and low educational attainment is the foremost obstacle in finding decent employment [5]. According to 2010 data, 24% of adolescent girls between 15-24 are neither in education, employed or in training compared to 14% of adolescent boys.

Health and well-being

The rate of adolescent pregnancy in the Philippines has been steadily increasing over the past few years. In 2017, 10.5% of young women have had their first child by age 18.

HIV prevalence is increasing dramatically in the Philippines and is especially impacting young people. Over the past decade, HIV has increased three-fold among adolescent men. Lack of information about sexual health is common and according to USAID, 20% of adolescent girls report not having knowledge about HIV prevention.






[5] ILO: PHL_Employment trends_2015

Other countries in Asia:

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