One reason behind the low fertility rate and increased death rate is the high risk of major infectious diseases such as typhoid fever, malaria and tuberculosis. The Philippines are among the countries with the highest number of reported cases of tuberculosis, with more than one quarter of a million people living with this disease (but only ten registered deaths from tuberculosis in 2014 - a positive trend from 35 tuberculosis-related deaths only a decade prior).
The Philippine Islands had been a Spanish colony since the 16th century until 1898, when they were handed over to the United States as a result of the Spanish-American War. During WWII, they were under Japanese occupation, but eventually managed to gain their independence in 1946. The country’s capital is Manila, which is also the most-populated city in the Philippines. The Philippines are now a presidential republic, divided into 80 provinces. Filipino and English are the two official languages spoken. It is a founding member of the United Nations and the World Trade Organization.
The Philippines have quite a stable economy, and except for the year 2011, when the growth rate of its GDP reached only 3.66 percent compared to the previous year, the real GDP growth seems solid - since 2012, it has been fluctuating only slightly. The Philippines' national debt is on a decreasing path, always a good sign for a flourishing economy; the most relevant economic sector is the services one, with a share of almost 60 percent in gross domestic product generation. Its most important partners for export and import are Japan, the United States, and China, respectively.