poverty in the Philippines

Philippines’ poverty incidence rises to 18.1% in 2021

Ralf Rivas

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Philippines’ poverty incidence rises to 18.1% in 2021


There are 19.99 million Filipinos living below the poverty line. The government estimates that a family of five needs an additional P2,719 per month to move out of poverty.

MANILA, Philippines – The pandemic-induced recession resulted in more Filipinos falling below the poverty line, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported on Monday, August 15.

Preliminary results of the Family Income and Expenditure Survey (FIES) for 2021 showed that poverty incidence among the population rose to 18.1%, equivalent to 19.99 million Filipinos who lived below the poverty threshold of about P12,030 per month.

Poverty incidence in 2018, the last time the survey was conducted, was at 16.7%, equivalent to 17.67 million people.

Meanwhile, the subsistence incidence, defined as the proportion of Filipinos whose income is not enough to meet even just the basic food needs, went up to 5.9% in 2021. The PSA estimated that a family of five needs at least P8,379 per month to meet basic food requirements.

The FIES also showed that the country’s income gap stood at 22.6% in 2021, higher than 2018’s 21.7%. The income gap measures the average amount of income required by the poor in order to get out of poverty in relation to poverty thresholds. The PSA said a poor family needs an additional monthly income of P2,719 to move out of poverty.


At the regional level, the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao remained the poorest region, posting a poverty incidence among families at 29.8%.

The regions with the lowest poverty incidence among families were the National Capital Region, Cordillera Administrative Region, Central Luzon, and Calabarzon.

At the provincial level, the provinces which belonged to the group with the lowest poverty incidence among families in 2015, 2018, and 2021 were Bataan, Batanes, Benguet, Bulacan, Capiz, Cavite, Guimaras, Ilocos Norte, Laguna, Pampanga, and Rizal. The provinces of La Union, Siquijor, and Tarlac have been included in the least poor cluster since 2018. 

Meanwhile, the other provinces that joined the least poor cluster in 2021 were Apayao, Batangas, Cagayan, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Ifugao, Kalinga, Lanao del Sur, Palawan, and Quirino. – Rappler.com

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Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.