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Optimism among Filipinos drops slightly in end-2023 – SWS

Michelle Abad

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Optimism among Filipinos drops slightly in end-2023 – SWS

HOLIDAY SEASON. Shoppers enter a mall in Manila on November 17, 2022.


While a Pulse Asia survey in December found almost all Filipinos faced 2024 'with hope,' another from SWS finds just 4 in 10 Filipinos were confident their quality of life will improve in 2024

MANILA, Philippines – A little under half of Filipino adults in December 2023 were optimistic their life will improve in 2024, slightly down from three months earlier, a survey from Social Weather Stations (SWS) found.

Optimism among Filipinos drops slightly in end-2023 – SWS

In the survey conducted from December 8 to 11, 44% of Filipinos referred to as “optimists” said their quality of life will improve in the next 12 months. Another 44% said it would stay the same, a minority 5% or “pessimists” said it would worsen, and 7% abstained from answering.

The net personal optimism score, which SWS computes by subtracting the percentage of pessimists from the percentage of optimists, is +39, classified as “very high.”

But it was down from the “excellent” +42 in September 2023, when 48% of Filipinos were optimists.

The 44% of Filipinos who were confident their quality of life will improve in the next year differs greatly from the 92% who faced 2024 “with hope,” according to a survey from another pollster, Pulse Asia. It was conducted from December 3 to 7, just days before the SWS survey.

Dip in optimism in Balance Luzon, Visayas

The SWS attributed the three-point decline in the national net personal optimism score from September to December 2023 to decreases in Balance Luzon, or Luzon outside Metro Manila, and in the Visayas.

Meanwhile, the score was steady in Mindanao, and Filipinos living in the capital region were more optimistic.

While Balance Luzon maintained its “excellent” net personal optimism, it still dropped by 10 points, from +50 to +40.

Visayas experienced a slight decrease from +30 to +27, going from “very high” to “high.” It has the lowest net personal optimism among the island groups.

Mindanao’s optimism stayed the same at an “excellent” +43.

Metro Manila residents gained 17 points in its optimism, from +30 to +47.

College graduates’ optimism down

The SWS noted a dip in optimism among Filipinos who graduated from college or took post-graduate studies – from +46 to +38.

Meanwhile, Filipinos who finished junior high school, either attended or graduated vocational school or senior high school, or attended some college stayed steady from +46 to +45. These groups’ optimism was classified as “excellent.”

Those who finished elementary or had some high school education remained “very high” in their optimism, also steady from +38 to +36.

The groups with the least educational attainment – those who either had no formal education or some elementary education – had their optimism down from +30 to +24. But this was still classified as a “high” level of optimism.

Self-rated poor less optimistic

The December survey also found almost half of the respondents or 47% rating themselves as poor. This group’s net optimism fell six points from +39 to +33.

Meanwhile, there was a fifth of respondents who considered themselves not poor, and a third of “borderline” poor Filipinos, or those who placed themselves on a line dividing “poor” and “not poor.”

Their net optimism stayed around the same in the last quarter of 2023, from +46 to +47 among “not poor” families, and from +43 to +44 among “borderline” poor families.

In December 2023, inflation eased for the third straight month to 3.9%, the Philippine Statistics Authority reported. This means that the respondents experienced only easing inflation rates between the last two times the survey was taken in 2023.

But while national inflation eased, rice inflation remained a problem until the end of the year. It rose to a 14-year high of 19.6% in December from 15.8% in November.

This particular inflation rate hits close to the gut for Filipinos, not only because rice is a staple food, but because affordable rice was one of the promises from President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s campaign that stuck with the masses.

The average inflation rate in 2023 was 6%, which failed to meet the government’s target of 2% to 4%. –

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Michelle Abad

Michelle Abad is a multimedia reporter at Rappler. She covers overseas Filipinos, the rights of women and children, and local governments.