MANILA, Philippines – The number of Filipino families who consider themselves poor fell to a “new record low” in the first quarter of 2019, based on the results of Social Weather Stations survey released on Tuesday night, June 18.
According to the results of the First Quarter 2019 Social Weather Survey conducted from March 28 to 31, there were 38% or an estimated 9.5 million families who considered themselves poor.
This is 12 points lower than the 50% (estimated 11.6 million families) recorded in December 2018, and lower than the previous record of 42% in September 2016 and March 2018, SWS said in a statement.
Among geographic areas, the biggest drop in self-rated poverty was in Balance Luzon, where the number of families who consider themselves poor fell to 35% in March from 51% in December 2018, a 16-point difference.
Self-rated poverty was at 37% in Mindanao, a 12-point drop from 49% in December 2018 to a new record-low 37% in March. The March figure is just one point lower than the previous record-low of 38% in December 2011.
In the Visayas, self-rated poverty fell by 6 points to 55% in March from 61% in December 2018, and in Metro Manila, 28% from 30%, a 2-point difference.
The SWS also said that families who considered themselves “food-poor” fell to a new record low of 27% or an estimated 6.8 million families.
This is 7 points less than the 35% or estimated 7.9 million families recorded in December 2018, and 2 points below the previous record-low 29% in March 2018.
Self-rated food poverty dipped by 11 points in Mindanao to a new record-low 27% in March from 38% in December 2018.
There were also less families who rated themselves food-poor in other geographic areas: Balance Luzon, from 31% to 24%; Metro Manila, from 22% to 19%; and Visayas, from 44% to 42%.
Based on the survey findings, households said they need a monthly budget of P10,000 for home expenses to not consider themselves poor. The SWS referred to this amount as the median Self-Rated Poverty Threshold.
“The median Self-Rated Poverty Threshold is what the poorer half of the poor need for home expenses,” the pollster said.
Other findings of the survey:
- The median Self-Rated Poverty Gap – the amount poor families lack in monthly home expenses relative to their stated threshold – was unchanged at P5,000
- The national median Self-Rated Food Poverty Threshold – the monthly budget that a food-poor household needs for food expenses in order not to consider their food as poor – is at P5,000
- The national median Self-Rated Food Poverty Gap – the amount food-poor families lack in monthly food expenses relative to their stated threshold – is P3,000
The SWS said Self-Rated Poverty measures the proportion of respondents rating their family as poor, while the Self-Rated Poverty Threshold is the minimum monthly budget poor families need for home expenses in order not to be poor.
Between the surveys held in the last quarter of 2018 and the March survey, inflation finally slowed down, falling within target in February after months of high inflation.
The survey was conduced among 1,440 adult respondents: 360 each in Balance Luzon, Metro Manila, the Visayas, and Mindanao. It has sampling error margins of ±2.6% for national percentages, and ±5% each for Balance Luzon, Metro Manila, the Visayas, and Mindanao.
The SWS said the area estimates were weighted by the Philippine Statistics Authority medium-population projections for 2019 to obtain national estimates. – Mia Gonzalez/Rappler.com