The primary asset of the province is its people.  The May 1, 2000 Census of Population and Housing indicated that the total population of (North) Cotabato is 958,643 persons who were of diverse culture and ethnic origin.  It is higher by 95,977 persons over the 1995 Census of Population results.

Males outnumbered females with a sex ratio of 104.5 males for every 100 females. Males totaled 489,963 or 51.11 percent while 468,680 or 48.89 percent are females.  The number of households in (North) Cotabato rose to 188,581 in 2000 or an increase of 18,863 households over the 1995 figure.  This resulted to slight increase in the average household size from 5.07 persons in 1995 to 5.08 persons in 2000.

Based on the regional geographical jurisdiction, the Province of (North) Cotabato had a growth rate of 2.19 or a total population of 857,438 excluding Kidapawan City or 2.29 percent including Kidapawan City.  The province’s annual growth is still below the national average of 2.34%.   It composed 1.12 percent of the overall

Philippine population count, which is 76.5 million in 2000.  On the ranking of provinces in the Philippines by population size, Cotabato ranked twenty-third (23rd). The province registered the largest population in Region XII comprising 26.61 percent of the total population; South Cotabato came second with 17.28 percent;  Sultan Kudarat shared 15.83 percent and Sarangani Provinces shared 12.24 percent.

Seven (7) municipalities of the province showed population growth rates higher than the provincial annual growth rate.   These are Arakan (4.99%), Banisilan (4.18%), Tulunan (4.12%), Pikit (3.65%), Carmen (2.85%), Alamada (2.80%) and Pres. Roxas (2.47%).    However, the municipality of Kabacan had the lowest growth at 0.18 percent.  The City of Kidapawan had a population growth rate of 3.10 percent


Among the 17 municipalities and one city of the province, Midsayap contributed the biggest share (11.03 percent) to the total provincial population.  The City of Kidapawan, the provincial capital, contributed 10.56 percent while M’lang and Pikit followed at 8.15 percent and 7.14 percent, respectively.  The least populous is Antipas with 2.07 percent share to the provincial population.

The household population was recorded at 957,294. This resulted to slight increase in the average household size from 5.07 persons in 1995 to 5.08 persons in 2000.

A large proportion of the population lives in rural areas (76.5%) while only 23.5 percent are found in urban areas.

The percent urbanity of (North) Cotabato province increased from 18.05 percent in 1990 to 23.5 percent in 2000.  The increase was due to the rapid growth of urban population as compared to the growth of rural population.


In 2000, the age group 5 to 9 years had the largest population with 14.15 percent, followed by those aged 10 to 14 years (13.06 percent).  There are more males reported in all age brackets except in the age bracket 80 years and over. This made the age-sex pyramid of the province to deviate from the usual shape, that is, population decreases as age increases.  The same is true in 1995 where the proportion of children aged 5 to 9 years dominated the province with 14.60 percent.

There are more males reported in all age brackets except in the age bracket 80 years and over.


The total population count composed of children (0-9 years) numbered 260,534; youth (10-19 years) 231,368; adult (20-59 years) 417,572 and senior citizens (60 years and above) 49,169.

In 2000, the overall dependency ratio was registered at 77, lower than the 1995 figure of 81 dependents per 100 persons.  This means that for every 100 persons in the productive age group 15 to 64 years, there were 77 dependents, that is, 71 young dependents and 6 old dependents.  (North) Cotabato had a median age of 9 years in 2000, higher than the median age of 18 years in 1995.

Children 0 to 14 years old (young dependents) constituted 40.2 percent or 385,759 while those 65 years and above (old dependents) has a 3.2 percent share or 30,757.  Those 15 to 64 years (working age group) comprised 56.6 percent of the total population or a total of 542,127 persons.


The number of households in the province is 188,581 with an average household size of 5.08 persons.  The 6,565.9 square kilometers land area of the province has a population density of 146 persons per square kilometer in CY 2000, representing an increase of 14.61 persons per square kilometer or 131.39 persons per square kilometers in CY 1995.  The whole North Cotabato Province covers 36% of SOCCSKSARGEN land area.  Midsayap remained to be the most densely populated, with a density of 453 persons per square kilometer followed by Kidapawan, 323 and Pigcawayan with 302 persons per square kilometer while Magpet is sparsely populated with a density of 39 persons per square kilometer.


If the present annual growth rate continues over the years, the population is expected to double in 30 years based on the 2000 Census.  By the year 2030, there will be 1,917,286 million Cotabateños.  The municipality of Kabacan had the longest time to double its population while Arakan has the shortest time.


Majority (89.53 percent) of the households in (North) Cotabato were headed by males.  Among males, headship rate peaked at ages 30 to 39 years (30.39 percent) while headship rate for females was the highest at age groups 50 to 59 years (23.30 percent) and 60 to 69 years (21.52 percent).

Of the 698,109 household population 10 years old and over, 46.59 percent were married.  Following closely were those who were single (45.37 percent).  

Widowed, divorced/ separated, and those with other marital arrangements made up 3.82 percent, 0.58 percent, and 2.76 percent, respectively.

There were higher proportion of males reported among single individuals (54.76 percent) and those with other marital arrangements (51.44 percent).  On the other hand, married (50.14 percent), widowed (71.68 percent), and separated/divorced (56.90 percent) populace were dominated by females.

There were 147,412 ever-married women 15 to 49 years old in (North) Cotabato, of which 47.84 percent had one to three children while 38.75 percent had four or more children.  The average number of children ever-born to an ever-married woman in Cotabato was 3.18.  The proportion of ever-married women 15 to 49 years old who were childless was 9.11 percent.  This figure increased by 3.57 percentage points from the reported figure in 1990 (9.83).

Ever-married women 15 to 49 years old recorded an average age at first marriage of 21 years.  About 17.49 percent of ever-married women 15 to 49 years got married before they reached the legal age of marriage (18 years), 69.59 percent at the age of 18 to 29 years, and 3.14 percent at 30 years and over.
Of the 832 thousand household population 5 years old and over, 45.86 percent attended or completed elementary, 26.66 percent high school, 7.86 percent were college undergraduates, 2.24 percent were academic degree holders, 2.30 percent had post secondary education, and 2.38 percent has pre-school.  Less than one percent (0.34 percent) has post baccalaureate studies.

Males dominated among those who attended/completed elementary (54.2 percent).  On the other hand, females dominated among those who attended/completed pre-school (50.57 percent), high school (50.40 percent), post-secondary (51.33 percent), among college undergraduates (53.10 percent), academic degree holders (61.62 percent), and those with post baccalaureate studies (61.13 percent).

Those who had not completed any grade made up 9.89 percent, a 1.59 percentage point decline from 1995.  There were more females (50.89 percent) among them.

However, majority (86.7 percent) of the household population of North Cotabato were literates.  Females and males had the same literacy rate of 86.7 percent in 2000.

The age group 15 to 19 years (91.96 percent) registered the highest proportion of literate persons.  This was followed by age groups 20 to 24 years (91.95 percent), and 30 to 34 years (89.37 percent).         

On the other hand, of the 832,452 household population 5 years old and over, 786,426 or 94.47 percent remained in the same city/municipality where they were five years ago, 10,303 or 1.24 percent moved in Kidapawan City or other municipalities of North Cotabato, 12,536 or 1.51 percent from other provinces, and only 58 or 0.08 percent from other countries.


More than half of the household population in North Cotabato were dominated by Roman Catholics comprising 547,895 or 57.23 percent.  Others were 19.68 percent, Islam believers, 7.27 percent Evangelicals, 2.62 percent members of the Southern Baptist, 2.21 percent Iglesia Ni Cristo members, 2.01 percent Aglipayans, and 1.85 percent United Church of Christ in the Philippines members.  About 6.82 percent were from other religious affiliations that included Protestant, Seventh Day Adventist, or other religions. 


Of the 957,294 households population in (North) Cotabato, 31.68 percent classified themselves as Hiligaynon/Ilonggo, 22.64 percent as Cebuano, 17.75 percent as Maguindanaon, 6.88 percent as Ilocano, 4.70 percent as Karay-a, 4.37 percent as Manobo/Ata-Manobo, and 3.60 percent as Boholano.  About 7.71 percent considered themselves as belonging to other ethnic groups.        


The benchmark data on Life Expectancy at Birth was estimated at 71.84 years for females and 66.44 years for males, thus women outlived men by about 5 years.  The provincial figure is slightly higher than the regional estimate at 64.87 years (male) and 70.76 years (female).

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