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Urban Population of the Philippines (2020 Census of Population and Housing)

Reference Number: 2022-271
Release Date: 05 July 2022

Urban population of the Philippines increases by 7.20 million

  1. In 2020, 58.93 million or 54.0 percent of the total 109.03 million population of the Philippines lived in urban barangays. This represents an increase of 7.20 million persons from the 51.73 million urban residents in 2015. The rural population or those who lived in barangays classified as rural in 2020 comprised the remaining 50.10 million persons or 46.0 percent of the total population. (Tables 1 and A)

Level of urbanization improves by 2.8 percentage points

  1. The level of urbanization or the proportion of the total population living in barangays classified as urban was recorded at 54.0 percent in 2020. This is 2.8 percentage points higher than the 51.2 percent level of urbanization in 2015. (Figure 1)

Figure 1 Proportion of Urban and Rural Population in the PHilippines

Five regions surpass the national level of urbanization

  1. Across regions, aside from the NCR, which is classified as entirely urban, four other regions posted a level of urbanization higher than the national level (54.0%). These were: Region IV-A - CALABARZON (70.5%), Region XI - Davao (66.8%), Region III - Central Luzon (66.3%), and Region XII - SOCCSKSARGEN (55.5%). In 2015, the same five regions posted the highest level of urbanization. (Table 1)
  2. On the other hand, the five regions with the lowest level of urbanization were: Region VIII - Eastern Visayas (14.7%), Region II - Cagayan Valley (19.5%), Region V - Bicol (23.8%), Region I - Ilocos (25.5%), and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao or BARMM (27.6%). (Table 1)

Table Total Population and Level of Urbanization by Region

Rizal ranks first in terms of level of urbanization among provinces

  1. Of the country’s 81 provinces, 11 provinces registered a level of urbanization higher than the national level in 2020 (54.0%). Rizal topped the list with 94.6 percent urbanization rate, followed by Bulacan (85.7%), and Laguna (79.3%). (Table 2)

Table 2 Total Popluatio

All but one of the 17 HUCs outside the NCR exceeds 60.0 percent level of urbanization

  1. Among the 17 highly urbanized cities (HUCs) outside the NCR, 16 had a level of urbanization of at least 60.0 percent. The City of Angeles and City of Mandaue had the highest level of urbanization with 100.0 percent each. They were followed by the City of Olongapo (98.5%) and the City of General Santos (98.4%). With an urbanization level of 56.0 percent, the City of Tacloban was the only HUC outside the NCR that posted an urbanization level lower than 60.0 percent. (Table 3)

City of Davao registers the biggest urban population among the HUCs outside the NCR

  1. In terms of population, the City of Davao posted the biggest urban population among the HUCs outside the NCR, with 1.63 million urban residents or a level of urbanization of 91.8 percent. It was followed by the City of Cebu with 908,195 urban population and 94.2 percent level of urbanization, and the City of Zamboanga with 869,929 urban population and 89.0 percent level of urbanization. (Table 3)

Table 3 Total Population

Two component cities and eight municipalites are classified as entirely urban

  1. Excluding the HUCs/municipality in the NCR and the 17 HUCs outside the NCR, two component cities were classified as entirely urban (100%), namely, the City of Santa Rosa and the City of Cabuyao both in the province of Laguna. Moreover, the eight municipalities that were classified as entirely urban were: Taytay and San Mateo in Rizal, Marilao in Bulacan, Jolo in Sulu, Santo Tomas in Pampanga, Morong in Bataan, Talaingod in Davao del Norte, and Kalayaan in Laguna. (Tables 4 and B)

Table 4 Total Population and Urban Population

Tempo of urbanization decelerates to 2.4 percent in 2020

  1. Between the period 2015 to 2020, the tempo of urbanization was computed at 2.4 percent. This is lower by 2.2 percentage points compared with the 4.6 percent tempo of urbanization that was posted between the period 2010 to 2015. (Table 5)
  2. The urban population of the Philippines increased at an average of 2.8 percent annually during the period 2015 to 2020. In comparison, it is lower than the 4.1 percent average at which the urban population of the country grew annually during the period 2010 to 2015. Moreover, the rural population improved by 0.4 percent annually between the period 2015 to 2020 from a 0.5 percent annual decline between the period 2010 to 2015. (Table 5)

Table 5 Average Annual Growth Rate

Proportion of urban barangays to total barangays gains by 1.2 percentage point

  1. Out of the 42,046 barangays in the Philippines in 2020, 7,957 barangays or 18.9 percent were classified as urban. In 2015, 7,437 barangays were classified as urban, representing 17.7 percent of the total 42,036 barangays during that year. (Tables 6 and C)

Table 6 Total Number of Barangay and Urban Barangays

More than half of the barangays classified as urban belongs to Category 1

  1. More than half (56.4%) or 3,525 of the 6,247 urban barangays in 2020 (excluding the 1,710 barangays in the NCR that were automatically classified as urban) were classified under Category 1, that is, they had a population size of at least 5,000 persons. Altogether, the population of these 3,525 Category 1 urban barangays totaled to 38.99 million or 85.8 percent of the total urban population in the country (excluding the 13.48 million urban residents in the NCR). In 2015, 53.0 percent or 3,037 of the 5,731 urban barangays (excluding the 1,706 barangays in the NCR that were automatically classified as urban) were classified under the same category. The corresponding population of these 3,037 Category 1 urban barangays totaled to 32.53 million or 83.7 percent of the country’s total urban population in 2015 (excluding the 12.88 million urban residents in the NCR). (Tables 7 and 8)
  2. The barangays classified as urban based on the presence of establishments with at least 100 employees (Category 2) totaled to 1,191, making up 19.1 percent of the total urban barangays in 2020. In comparison, Category 2 urban barangays totaled to 1,010 in 2015, accounting for 17.6 percent of the total barangays during that year. (Table 7)
  3. The remaining urban barangays, 1,531 or 24.5 percent of the total urban barangays in 2020, and 1,684 or 29.4 percent of the total urban barangays in 2015, 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 were classified under Category 3. (Table 7)

Table 7 Number of Urban Barangays by Category


Table 8 Total Urban Population by Category



National Statistician and Civil Registrar General


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