Siniksik na Pilipinas

A thought experiment: what if all of RP were concentrated in a single island?


Ready for some math?

First, let’s look at the population counts. As of the NSO census of 2007:

  • Population of RP = 88,566,723
  • Population of Metro Manila = 11,566,325

This means that 13 per cent of Filipinos live in Metro Manila, or around 1 in 8 people!

Now, how do the land areas compare?

  • Land area of RP: 299,764 sq. km
  • Land area of Metro Manila: 636 sq. km

This means that Metro Manila is only 1/500 of the country’s total land area or 5% of Luzon.

Dividing the population by the land area gives us the average number of people per square km, or population density:

  • Population density of RP: 295 people per sq. km
  • Population density of Metro Manila: 18,170 people per sq. km

Metro Manila is 60 times more dense than the country as a whole!

If you fit all 88 million Filipinos with the population density of Metro Manila, the land area they will occupy is (88 M/11 M) x 636 sq. km = 4,875 sq. km. This is just a bit larger than the land area of Bohol, which is 4,821 sq. km.

Finally, I leave you with a bit of global perspective: Metro Manila is the 11th most populous metropolitan area in the world and one of the densest. Tokyo is the most populous– with 32 million inhabitants (3 times more than Metro Manila)– but Metro Manila is 4 times more densely-populated!

(Inspired by maps of “The World’s Population, Concentrated” at Per Square Mile.)


17 Comments on “Siniksik na Pilipinas”

  1. ekstranghero says:

    any thoughts on what we should do with the rest of the island? hehehe. but i guess it would be a cost efficient, no? all DPWH projects will be concentrated in bohol only, nuclear plants can be created in, say, metro manila, and people in bohol won;t have to worry with the possible meltdown. πŸ˜€ i like this experiment. πŸ™‚

    • glad you liked it ekstranghero. πŸ™‚ i was told that was indeed the idea behind the plan for the three metropolitan areas (Metro Manila, Metro Cebu, and Metro Davao), as part of Marcos’ experiment of “The New Society”.

      • ekstranghero says:

        this is the part where you’ll probably start cursing me like hell (i hope hindi naman), but i really think The New Society experiment could have been awesome. πŸ™‚

      • hey, no cursing allowed here! πŸ™‚ to be honest, I know next-to-nothing about The New Society. I prefaced the previous comment with “I was told” because someone literally just shared this tidbit in connection with this infographic. I am not embarrassed to admit my ignorance (well, maybe just a little)– I am new to this after all, and happy to learn as I go along…

      • ekstranghero says:

        oh well, even those very “knowledgeable” ones about the topic are not sure if Marcos and his ideas are evil or not. i know veeeery little about it… probably just one or two book pages more (and i’m even exaggerating here!) than your next-to-nothing knowledge on this. πŸ™‚ so, i guess we can just leave this topic for now. hehehe. thanks, pinayobserver, for this nice post. πŸ™‚

      • you’re welcome– stay tuned for more. πŸ˜‰

  2. Miguel says:

    We have 1/3 the population of America, but only 1/32 the land mass 😦

    • why the sad face? πŸ™‚ There is– can be– strength in numbers. As for the land area, there’s not much we can do about that. But we do have an 80% longer coastline (36,000 for RP vs. 20,000 km for USA). πŸ˜‰

  3. hello pinayobserver, I liked this infographic of yours πŸ˜€ This is interesting:) Perhaps this only shows that many Filipinos are too concentrated on Manila, (perhaps because it’s the “juicy short head vs the long tail” – you capture 1/8 of the population with such a small land mass, talk about focus) – but also–that in terms of business development, Filipinos who often hate traffic and the busyness of life in Manila should travel, explore and make inroads in so many islands of the Philippines πŸ˜€ I dunno if my comment’s dumb haha, but I can remember Gawad Kalinga’s Tony Meloto having said that we have so much land that needs many businesses.- guess he’s referring to all that πŸ˜› This infographic only stresses that point.

  4. Tim De Chant says:

    Fantastic! I love your take on the idea.

  5. Grg Camia says:

    this is a good idea if we live in a perfect world.

    • thanks for dropping by, Grg.

      Just to clarify (to all), this is not meant to be a “proposal” but rather an experiment to visualize and communicate population densities. Having said that, no one is stopping you from letting your imagination fly into sci-fi territory. πŸ˜‰

  6. Soli Garcia says:

    Congrats on your first data visualization experiment! Hopefully there’d be more to follow.

    This made me think about what the “real” Metro Manila is nowadays, apart from what is nominally in the National Capital Region and under the jurisdiction of the Metro Manila Development Authority. The contiguous urban area definitely goes as far east as Antipolo, and southeast to Taytay. People from San Jose del Monte and Meycauayan in Bulacan also commute to jobs in the Metro. Southward, the same holds true for at least San Pedro, Laguna, and Bacoor, Cavite. I guess what I’m trying to drive at is that MM might not be able to sustain its current density without the economic support of outlying areas at slightly lower densities, in the same sense that Manhattan wouldn’t be like that if it weren’t for the five boroughs, and the tri-state area beyond that. On the other hand, LA is pretty much spread out. I guess this means that there are just so many more interesting questions to explore with data and pictures…

  7. Jarod Regulus says:

    just a clarification… I think you made a typo here…

    Land area of RP: 299,764 sq. km
    Land area of Metro Manila: 4,875 sq. km

    Yet in calculating the area needed for the whole population you said,

    If you fit all 88 million Filipinos with the population density of Metro Manila, the land area they will occupy is (88 M/11 M) x 636 sq. km = 4,875 sq. km.

    I think the land area of Metro Manila should be 636, not 4,875

  8. […] The problem is that the government is only seeing ONE area, Manila, which is, in truth, crowded. Going to the provinces, however, one would realize that it is the absolute opposite of the capital, both in terms of population density and economic resources. Perhaps this URL would shed light on this matter: […]

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