Filipino families who consider themselves poor rise to 10.9M

Mara Cepeda

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Filipino families who consider themselves poor rise to 10.9M
The results of a Social Weather Stations survey show that as of September, 47% of Filipino families rated themselves as poor, up by 3 percentage points from June

MANILA, Philippines – More Filipino households consider themselves poor in the third quarter of the year compared to the previous quarter, according to the results of a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey released on Friday, December 1. 

The results of the 3rd Quarter 2017 SWS survey, done from September 23 to 27 but released only on December 1, showed that 47% or an estimated 10.9 million families tagged themselves as poor. 

This is 3 percentage points higher than the findings in June 2017, when 10.1 million Filipino families perceived themselves as poor. (READ: No poor Filipino by 2040: Can Duterte gov’t set the stage?)

This means that between June and September, 800,000 more families considered themselves to be poor.

Balance Luzon vs Mindanao

The SWS said the 3-percentage point rise was due to a “sharp” increase in Balance Luzon and a “slight” increase in Manila, which were offset by decreases in self-rated poverty among families in the Visayas and Mindanao.  

In Balance Luzon, self-rated poverty rose by 16 percentage points to 50% in September from 34% in June. In Metro Manila, the rating increased to 31% from 28%.

Meanwhile, self-rated poverty decreased by 12 percentage points in Mindanao to 45% from 57% in June, the lowest in the region since December 2011. (READ: FAST FACTS: Poverty in Mindanao)

Self-rated poverty also went down in the Visayas to 56% from 64%.

The survey results also showed that Filipino families said they need a budget of at least P10,000 to not consider themselves poor. This is self-rated poverty threshold.

Self-rated food poverty at 32%

Families said they need at least P5,000 in food expenses so they will not consider themselves “food-poor.” 

The survey showed that 32% or 7.4 million families rate themselves as food-poor, the same rating in June 2017.  

Self-rated food poverty rose in Balance Luzon by 5 percentage points to  32% in September from 27% in June. 

The rating also increased in Metro Manila to 20% from 16%. Self-rated food poverty in Mindanao declined by 7 percentage points to 34% from 41%, and also in the Visayas where it fell by 6 percentage points, or to 38% from 44%.

 The Third Quarter 2017 Social Weather Survey was conducted among 1,500 adults: 600 in Balance Luzon, and 300 each in Metro Manila, Visayas, and Mindanao. The survey has sampling error margins of ±2.5% for national percentages, ±4% for Balance Luzon, and ±6% each for Metro Manila, Visayas, and Mindanao. –

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at or tweet @maracepeda.