FAST FACTS: How poor do Filipinos rate themselves?

MANILA, Philippines – Would you consider your family “poor?” Have they experienced hunger even once in the past 3 months? Every quarter, pollster Social Weather Stations (SWS) conducts a survey among Filipinos asking these questions.

The results present an overview of self-rated poverty and involuntary hunger incidences in families over many years and a few administrations.

According to their second quarter 2018 survey results, they approach 1,200 adults for each survey, with 300 respondents each in Metro Manila, Balance Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

Below, we take a look at SWS’ results from 2001 to 2018, compare them with the year’s Gross Domestic Product, and identify who our leaders were at the time when Filipinos said they were least or most hungry.

How have Filipinos rated themselves in terms of poverty and hunger under the Duterte administration?

President Rodrigo Duterte has held his position for only two years, but his numbers so far show that he is continuing the trend of lower poverty and hunger rates that started in 2014.

In the 3rd quarter of 2014, self-rated poverty started to decline, starting at 55%, until it reached 42% in the 3rd quarter of 2016. The numbers began to fluctuate after that, but have stayed within the 42% to 50% range.

That is, until 2018, which shows a steady increase, ending in 52% in the 3rd quarter of the same year. Will this trend continue or will the numbers decline again? 

 

Involuntary hunger numbers began to decline in the last quarter of 2014, fluctuating within a range of 9.4% to 17%. The SWS has not released their data on involuntary hunger for the 4th quarter of 2018.

 

The highest number for self-rated poverty under the Duterte administration is 52% in the 3rd quarter of 2018, while the highest for involuntary hunger occurred in the 4th quarters of 2016 and 2017, at 13.9% and 15.9%, respectively. 

What are the lowest and highest self-rated poverty and hunger statistics over the past 17 years?

SWS has been regularly posting survey results on their website as early as 2001, so we can look at self-rated poverty and involuntary hunger data spanning 17 years and 3 administrations.

The most number of respondents rated themselves poor in 2001 and 2002 at 66%. 2001 marked the beginning of former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s term, as she served as Philippine president until 2010. During that period, there were fluctuations in self-rated poverty scores, but there was a significant decrease over time.

The lowest rating since 2001 happened in 2010, with 43% of respondents rating themselves poor.

There was a slight increase during former president Benigno Aquino III’s term starting in 2011, before the steady decrease starting in 2014.

Meanwhile, the number of people who suffered from involuntary hunger increased starting 2001, reaching its peak in 2009 at 24%. It slowly began to decrease since then, with major decreases starting 2014.

Why did numbers decrease in 2014?

According to economist JC Punongbayan, GDP growth and low inflation during that time could be the reason.

 

As the chart above shows, the Philippines’ GDP has been growing above 6% since 2012, while inflation was at a low of 0.7% in 2015. These may have accounted for the reason Filipinos felt less poor or hungry in the years that followed. (READ | Fast Facts: Philippine inflation rate over the years– Rappler.com

Vernise Tantuco

Vernise Tantuco is on Rappler's Research Team, fact checking suspicious claims, wrangling data, and telling stories that need to be heard.

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