55% in SWS survey say they are poor
An estimated 11.8 million Filipino families rated themselves as poor, while some 8.8 million families said they were “food-poor,” a recent survey by Social Weather Stations (SWS) found.
The survey was conducted from Dec. 11 to 16 nationwide and the results were first published in the BusinessWorld newspaper.
SWS found 55 percent of the respondents saying that they were poor, up from 50 percent, or 10.8 million families, three months earlier.
It also found that 41 percent of the households considered themselves food-poor, up from 37 percent, or 7.9 million, in September. The poverty threshold is the monthly budget that households need in order not to consider themselves poor.
The full-year self-rated poverty averaged 52 percent last year, unchanged from 2012, while the full-year self-rated food poverty average declined to 39 percent from 41 percent.
Self-rated poverty increased across areas, except in Mindanao where it stood at 59 percent, down from 61 percent in the previous quarter. The full-year average was 55 percent, lower than the 67 percent in 2012.
Luzon (excluding Metro Manila) recorded the biggest jump in self-rated poverty—eight points from 42 percent to 50 percent, leading to a full-year average of 48 percent, up six points from the previous year.
Self-rated poverty also rose in Metro Manila (from 44 percent to 46 percent) and in the Visayas (from 62 percent to 68 percent), resulting in averages of 43 percent and 63 percent, respectively, or both two points higher than their 2012 full-year averages.
Self-rated food poverty, meanwhile, remained unchanged in Mindanao at 47 percent, registering a full-year average of 44 percent for 2013, 12 points lower than that in 2012.
A six-point quarter-on-quarter surge was both recorded in the rest of Luzon (from 30 percent to 36 percent) and in the Visayas (from 46 percent to 52 percent), yielding full-year averages of 36 percent and 47 percent, respectively.
The 2013 full-year result in the rest of Luzon was three points higher than the previous year (from 33 percent to 36 percent) while that in the Visayas saw a two-point decrease (from 49 percent to 47 percent).
In Metro Manila, self-rated food poverty slightly increased to 32 percent from September’s 29 percent, which led to an average of 29 percent in 2013, or two points lower than the previous year.
SWS said the self-rated poverty threshold has remained sluggish despite inflation.
The median threshold increased to P10,000 a month in Mindanao, declined to P12,000 in Metro Manila and P9,000 in the rest of Luzon, while it was unchanged at P10,000 in the Visayas.
The median self-rated food poverty threshold, meanwhile, fell to P6,000 a month in Metro Manila and P4,500 in the rest of Luzon, while it remained at P5,000 and P4,000 in the Visayas and Mindanao, respectively.
The median threshold is the amount that would satisfy the poorer half of poor households, SWS said.
The survey, which involved face-to-face interviews of 1,550 Filipinos, had a margin of error of plus-or-minus 2.5 percentage points for the national level. The error was plus-or-minus 4 percentage points for the Visayas and plus-or-minus 6 percentage points for Metro Manila, the rest of Luzon and Mindanao.—Rafael L. Antonio, Inquirer Research
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