By Alexandria Dennise San Juan
Filipinos who considered themselves as poor or “mahirap” fell to 50% or at least 11.6 million families in the last quarter of 2018, the recent Social Weather Stations survey showed.
In the fourth quarter 2018 survey done on December 16-19, it was found that half of the Filipino population rated themselves as poor, two points below the 52% or 12.2 million families in September 2018.
The latest survey result came after a 10-point increase in self-rated poverty over two consecutive quarters in 2018.
The proportion of “Self-rated Poor” families was at 42% in March 2018. It increased by 6 points to 48% in June, and by 4 points to 52% in September.
However, the resulting average Self-Rated Poverty rate this year rose by two points from the average 46% in 2017 to 48% in 2018. It was also four points above the record-low average of 44% in 2016.
“This is the second consecutive increase in the annual Self-Rated Poverty rate since 2016,” the SWS noted.
SWS has attributed the 2-point nationwide decline in Self-Rated Poverty (SRP) to a sharp decrease in Mindanao and a slight decrease in the Visayas, offset by increases in Metro Manila and Balance Luzon.
SRP significantly decreased by 16 points in Mindanao, from 65% in September 2018 to 49% in December 2018.
It also fell by 6 points in the Visayas, from 67% in September to 61% in December.
However, the SRP increased by 4 points in Balance Luzon and in Metro Manila, from 47% in September to 51% in December, and from 26% in September to 30% in December, respectively.
Self-Rated Food Poor decreases
Meanwhile, the same survey also found that 34% or at least 7.9 million of families rated their food as poor or “mahirap,” termed by SWS as “Food-Poor.”
Self-Rated Food Poor also subsides by two points from the 36% or 8.5 million in September 2018 after a 7-point rise over two consecutive quarters.
The proportion of Self-Rated Food Poor families increased by 5 points to 34% in June from 29% in March 2018. It also rose by 2 points to 36% in September before it fell by 2 points in December.
This gives an annual average Self-Rated Food Poverty of 33% for year 2018, similar to the average 33% in 2017, and two points above the record-low 31% in 2016.
SWS pointed out that the 2-point nationwide decrease in Self-Rated Food Poverty (SRFP) was due to decreases in Mindanao and the Visayas, combined with a slight increase in Metro Manila and unchanged value in Balance Luzon.
SRFP decreased by 8 points in Mindanao, from 46% in September 2018 to 38% in December 2018, and by 5 points in the Visayas, from 49% to 44%.
However, SRFP increased by 1 point in Metro Manila, from 21% in September to 22% in December, and was steady at 31% in Balance Luzon.
7% newly poor families
The December 2018 survey also found that of the 50% Self-Rated Poor families, 7% used to be non-poor one to four years ago or considered as “newly poor,” while 6% used to be non-poor five or more years ago or “usually poor.”
The remaining 37% or about three out of four poor families said they have never experienced being non-poor or considered as “always poor.”
The survey showed that of the 50% Self-Rated Non-Poor families, only 1% used to be poor one to four years ago or those “newly non-poor,” and 14% said they used to be poor five or more years ago or “usually nonpoor.”
The remaining 27% have never experienced poverty. They responded as “always non-poor.”
The recent Social Weather Survey was conducted through face-to-face interviews of 1,440 adults nationwide: 360 each in Balance Luzon, Metro Manila, Visayas, and Mindanao.