By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz
Fewer Filipinos are considering themselves poor, down by around 900,000 families, in the fourth quarter of 2017 Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey released on Wednesday.
The nationwide survey conducted from December 8 to 16, 2017 with 1,200 respondents found 44 percent or an estimated 10 million families considering themselves as poor.
This is three points below the 47 percent or around 10.9 million families in the third quarter survey conducted in September 2017.
Although fewer Filipinos rate themselves as poor, SWS pointed out that the average of 46 percent for all quarters of 2017 is two points short of the record-low average 44 percent in 2016.
SWS attributed the three-point nationwide decline in the self-rated poverty in the fourth quarter of 2017 to a sharp decrease in the rest of Luzon and slight decreases in Metro Manila and the Visayas, offset by an increase in Mindanao.
Self-rated poverty decreased by 10 points in rest of Luzon, from 50 percent in September 2017 to 40 percent in December 2017.
It also decreased by three points each in Metro Manila and Visayas, from 31 percent in September to 28 percent in December, and from 56 percent in September to 53 percent in December, respectively.
However, self-rated poverty increased by seven points in Mindanao, from 45 percent in September to 52 percent in December.
The survey also found 32 percent or an estimated 7.3 million families rating their food as poor, described by SWS as food-poor.
This is unchanged from the 32 percent or 7.4 million in September 2017.
The median self-rated poverty threshold or the monthly budget that a poor household needs for home expenses in order not to consider itself poor in general is P15,000.
SWS also found that the median self-rated poverty gap or the amount poor families lack in monthly home expenses relative to their stated threshold was unchanged at P5,000, or one-third of the self-rated poverty threshold.
Meanwhile, the national median self-rated food poverty threshold or the monthly budget that a food-poor household needs for food expenses in order not to consider its food as poor is at P6,000.
The national median self-rated food poverty gap, which is the amount food-poor families lack in monthly food expenses relative to their stated threshold is P3,000, or half of the self-rated food poverty threshold.