Fewer Filipino families experienced hunger at least once in the past three months, the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey results released on Monday, Dec. 6, showed.
The third quarter of 2021 non-commissioned survey on hunger reported 10 percent of families, or an estimated 2.5 million, that experienced involuntary hunger–or hunger due to lack of food to eat–at least once from July to September.
“The September 2021 hunger rate is 3.6 points below the 13.6 percent (estimated 3.4 million families) in June 2021. It is 11.1 points below the 2020 annual average of 21.1 percent, but 0.7 points above the 2019 annual average of 9.3 percent,” SWS said.
“The resulting 13.5 percent average for the first three quarters of 2021 is less than for last year but has not fully recovered to pre-pandemic levels,” it added.
The nationwide survey was conducted from Sept. 12 to 16 using face-to-face interviews of 1,200 Filipino adults.
Hunger declines in all areas except in Metro Manila
SWS noted that the 3.6-point decline in overall hunger between June 2021 and September 2021 is due to decreases in all areas except in Metro Manila.
It said the experience of hunger is highest in Metro Manila at 14 percent of families, followed by Balance Luzon and Mindanao, both at 10.3 percent, and the Visayas at 6 percent.
SWS explained that the 10 percent hunger rate in September 2021 is the sum of 7.9 percent, or an estimated 2.0 million families, who experienced “moderate hunger” and 2.1 percent, or about 534,000 families, who experienced “severe hunger.”
Moderate hunger refers to those who experienced hunger “only once” or “a few times” in the past three months, while severe hunger refers to those who experienced hunger “often” or “always” in the last three months.
Moderate hunger vs severe hunger
In June 2021, SWS said moderate hunger was 11.5 percent, or an estimated 2.9 million families, and severe hunger was 2.1 percent, or an estimated 524,000 families.
In Metro Manila, moderate hunger and severe hunger were 9.7 percent and 4.3 percent, respectively, in September 2021, compared to 9.3 percent and 4.7 percent in June 2021.
In Balance Luzon, moderate hunger and severe hunger were 8 percent and 2.3 percent, respectively, in September 2021, compared to 13 percent and 2 percent in June 2021.
“The latest moderate hunger rate is the lowest in this area since the 5.0 percent in December 2019,” SWS said.
In the Visayas, moderate hunger and severe hunger were 5 percent and 1 percent, respectively, in September 2021, compared to 7 percent and 1.3 percent in June 2021.
“The latest moderate hunger rate is the lowest in this area since the 3.7 percent in September 2003, while the latest severe hunger rate is the lowest since the 0.3 percent in December 2019,” SWS pointed out.
In Mindanao, moderate hunger and severe hunger were 9 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively, in September 2021, compared to 13.7 percent and 1.3 percent in June 2021.
SWS said the latest moderate hunger rate in Mindanao is the lowest in this area since the 7 percent in June 2019.
Hunger declines among poor and non-poor
“From June 2021 to September 2021, the rate of overall hunger, i.e., moderate plus severe, fell among the self-rated poor, from 15.7 percent to 14.3 percent. It also fell among the non-poor (not poor plus borderline poor) over the same period, from 11.7 percent to 6.5 percent,” SWS said.
“The rate of overall hunger also fell among the self-rated food-poor, from 20.7 percent in June 2021 to 15.5 percent in September 2021. It also fell among the non-food-poor (not food-poor plus borderline food-poor) from 10.2 percent to 7.7 percent,” it added.
SWS noted that the rates of hunger among the self-rated food-poor were always higher than the rates of hunger among the self-rated poor at any point in time.