More Filipino families considered themselves poor in 2018 – survey

Aika Rey
More Filipino families considered themselves poor in 2018 – survey
Results of a Social Weather Stations survey show that the average self-poverty rate in 2018 was at 48%, up by two percentage points from 2017

MANILA, Philippines – More Filipino families considered themselves poor in 2018, according to the results of the 4th quarter 2018 Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey on self-rated poverty released Friday, January 11.

The survey, which was conducted December 16 to 19, 2018, said that the average self-poverty rate in 2018 was at 48%, or two percentage points higher than 2017’s 46%. In 2016, only 44% of Filipino families think they are poor.

Despite the year-on-year increase, less Filipino households tagged themselves as poor in December 2018, when the self-poverty rate declined to 50% or an estimate of 11.6 million.

This is lower than the 52% or 12.2 million Filipino households that rated themselves as poor in the September 2018 survey. (READ: No poor Filipino by 2040: Can Duterte gov’t set the stage?)

DECLINE. Less Filipino households think they are poor. Photo from SWS

The decline came after an increase in self-rated poverty for two consecutive quarters: 6 percentage points (48%) in June, and 4 percentage points (52%) in September.

SWS said the decline in December was due to a “sharp decrease in Mindanao and a slight decrease in the Visayas, offset by increases in Metro Manila and Balance Luzon.”

Less Filipino families living in Mindanao tagged themselves as poor, with a 16-point difference from 65% in September to 49% in December.

In the same period, self-rated poverty declined from 67% to 61% in Visayas, and increased in Balance Luzon from 47% to 51%, and in Metro Manila, from 26% to 30%.

‘Food poor’

The survey also found that at least 34% or 7.8 million families rated their food as “poor,” lower than the September record of 36% or 8.5 million households.

The decline came after increases in the personal assessment of food poverty during the two previous quarters. Self-rated food poverty rose by 5 percentage points (34%) in March, and two percentage points (36%) in September.

The 2018 average of self-rated food poverty is 33% – similar to the 2017 figure.

FOOD POOR. Less Filipinos rate their food as 'poor' in December 2018. Photo from SWS

Inflation or the increase in the prices of goods started spiking by the end of the 1st quarter of the year, when the March 2018 inflation rate surged to 4.3% from February’s 3.4%. It surpassed economic managers’ target of 2% to 4% in 2018.

Prices continued to accelerate until October, at 6.7% – the highest in more than 9 years. Economists then attributed the high inflation to several factors, such as the upward trend in global fuel prices, agricultural damage caused by Typhoon Ompong (Mangkhut) in September, and depleted rice supply.

Inflation eased to 6% in November and slowed down to 5.1% in December, as prices of petroleum in the global market significantly dropped.  

The latest SWS survey was conducted among 1,440 adults: 360 each in Balance Luzon, Metro Manila, Visayas, and Mindanao. The survey has sampling error margins of ±2.6% for national percentages, ±5% for Balance Luzon, and ±6% each for Metro Manila, Visayas, and Mindanao. –

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Aika Rey

Aika Rey is a business reporter for Rappler. She covered the Senate of the Philippines before fully diving into numbers and companies. Got tips? Find her on Twitter at @reyaika or shoot her an email at