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Urban Population in the Philippines (Results of the 2015 Census of Population)

Reference Number: 2019-040
Release Date: 21 March 2019

Level of Urbanization in the Philippines reached 51.2 percent

In 2015, the level of urbanization or the percentage of population residing in urban areas in the Philippines was recorded at 51.2 percent. This means that a total of 51.73 million persons resided in barangays classified as urban. There were 7,437 barangays classified as urban and 34,599 as rural. The level of urbanization in 2010 was only 45.3 percent.

Level of Urbanization


Table 1


For the period 2015-2010, the difference between the annual growth rates of the urban and rural population (tempo of urbanization) was 4.6 percent. The tempo of urbanization for the period 2007-2010 was 4.4 percent.

Five regions surpassed the national level of urbanization

Across regions, aside from the NCR, which is classified as entirely urban, four other regions posted a level of urbanization higher than that of the national level (51.2 percent). These were Region IV-A (66.4 percent), Region XI (63.5 percent), Region III (61.6 percent), and Region XII (51.6 percent). In 2010, the same five regions posted the highest level of urbanization.

Urbanization by region 2015-2010


Table 2


a/ The 2015 total population and urban population exclude Filipinos in Philippine embassies, consulates, and missions abroad (2,134 persons).
b/ The 2010 total population and urban population exclude Filipinos in Philippine embassies, consulates, and missions abroad (2,739 persons).


Three component cities and five municipalities were entirely urban

Excluding the HUCs/municipality in the NCR and the 17 HUCs outside the NCR, there were 75 component cities all over the country that had at least 50.0 percent of their total population residing in urban barangays in 2015. Three of these component cities were classified as entirely urban, namely, Cabuyao City and Santa Rosa City in Laguna and Antipolo City in Rizal. Excluding Pateros in NCR, the five municipalities that were classified as entirely urban were: Marilao in Bulacan, Kalayaan in Laguna, Taytay in Rizal, Talaingod in Davao del Norte, and Jolo in Sulu.


Entirely Urban Component Cities and Municipalities


Table 3


Proportion of urban barangays increased

Of the 42,036 barangays nationwide in 2015, 7,437 barangays or 17.7 percent were classified as urban barangays. On the other hand, 5,697 barangays or 13.6 percent of the 42,025 barangays in 2010 were classified as urban barangays. These include all barangays in NCR which were automatically classified as urban per PSA Board Resolution No. 01 series of 2017-098.

Proportion of urban barangays


More than half of the urban barangays outside NCR belonged to Category 1

More than half (53.0 percent) of the urban barangays in areas outside NCR (AONCR) in 2015 were classified under Category 1, that is, they had a population size of at least 5,000. Altogether, the population of these Category 1 urban barangays in AONCR totaled to 32.53 million or 83.7 percent of the total urban population in the country. In 2010, 64.8 percent of the 2,586 urban barangays were classified under this same category. Compared with 2010, the population in urban barangays was at 26.88 million which is 89.6 percent of the total urban population in AONCR.

The barangays outside NCR which were classified as urban based on the presence of establishments with at least 100 employees (Category 2) totaled to 1,010 in 2015, making up 17.6 percent of the total urban barangays in AONCR. By comparison, Category 2 urban barangays outside NCR totaled to 798 in 2010, accounting for 20.0 percent of the total barangays during that year.

The remaining urban barangays, 1,684 or 29.4 percent of the total urban barangays in AONCR in 2015, and 608 or 15.2 percent of the total urban barangays in AONCR in 2010, had at least five establishments (with 10 to 99 employees) within the barangay, and at least five facilities within the two-kilometer radius from the barangay hall. These urban barangays belonged to Category 3.

Table 4

Table 5

Detailed results are available in the 2015 POPCEN Report No. 4 – Urban Population.





Assistant Secretary
Deputy National Statistician


Census of Population by Year Published

Philippine Population (1990-2015)

Annual Growth Rates

Reference Period Annual Growth Rate*
2010-2015 1.72
2000 - 2010 1.90
1990-2000 2.34
*Annual growth rate for the Philippines in percent.

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