The results of the 1998 National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) conducted by the National Statistics Office, Department of Health and the Macro International show that women in Region V aged 15-49 years old will give birth to an average of 5.5 children during their reproductive years. The figure is higher than the national average fertility rate of 3.7 children. Bicol Region ranked second highest among regions of the country in terms of fertility rate. The 1998 figure, however, slightly declined from the reported 5.9 births per woman of reproductive age in 1993, wherein Region V ranked highest in terms of fertility rate.
The survey results further show that while the Bicol region had the highest fertility rate of 5.9 in 1993, it ranked second to Eastern Visayas (Region 8) in 1998.
The mean ideal number of children per woman aged 15-49 years old in the region in 1998 was 3.2, a very slight decline from the 1993 average of 3.3 children per woman. Compared to the current average fertility rate, it is apparent that women would have wanted lesser children than what they have.
The survey likewise revealed that only 36.3 percent of married women in Region V used some methods of contraception. This figure is second lowest among regions of the country, despite the high level of knowledge of modern contraceptive methods and their sources (99.4 percent and 97.8 percent, respectively).