Fewer Filipino families have considered themselves poor in the last quarter of 2021, based on the results of the Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey released on Monday, March 21.
The non-commissioned survey conducted from Dec. 12 to 16, 2021, with 1,440 respondents found 43 percent of Filipino families rating themselves as “mahirap” or “poor,” 39 percent rating themselves as “borderline poor” (between poor and not poor), and 19 percent rating themselves as “hindi mahirap” or “not poor.”
“This compares to September 2021 when 45 percent felt poor, 34 percent felt borderline poor, and 21 percent felt not poor,” SWS said in a statement.
SWS estimated that 10.7 million Filipino families felt they were poor in December 2021, as compared to the 11.4 million households who considered themselves poor in September 2021.
Self-rated poverty falls in Mindanao, Metro Manila; rises in Visayas, Balance Luzon
SWS said the two-point decline in self-rated poor in the fourth quarter of 2021 was due to decreases in Mindanao and Metro Manila, combined with slight increases in the Visayas and Balance Luzon, or Luzon outside Metro Manila.
“Compared to September 2021, self-rated poor fell in Mindanao from 58 percent to 43 percent, and in Metro Manila from 34 percent to 25 percent. However, it rose slightly in the Visayas from 54 percent to 59 percent, and in Balance Luzon from 38 percent to 41 percent,” it explained.
Meanwhile, borderline poor increased in Metro Manila from 30 percent to 47 percent, and in Mindanao from 34 percent to 48 percent.
It was up slightly in Balance Luzon from 32 percent to 34 percent but fell in the Visayas from 42 percent to 33 percent.
“Compared to September 2021, not poor fell in Metro Manila from 37 percent to 28 percent. It also fell in Balance Luzon from 30 percent to 25 percent. However, it rose slightly in the Visayas from 4 percent to 8 percent, while it hardly changed in Mindanao from 8 percent to 9 percent,” SWS said.
Self-rated poverty thresholds decline in Metro Manila, Visayas
SWS also noted that compared to September 2021, the national median self-rated poverty threshold (SRP threshold) fell from P15,000 to P12,000, while the median self-rated poverty gap (SRP gap) fell from P7,000 to P5,000.
In Metro Manila, the median SRP threshold fell from P20,000 to P15,000, while the median SRP gap rose from P10,000 to P7,500.
Meanwhile, in Balance Luzon, the median SRP threshold stayed at P15,000, while the median SRP gap fell from P7,000 to P5,000.
SWS pointed out that the median SRP threshold in the Visayas fell from P15,000 to P12,000, while the median SRP gap fell from P9,000 to P5,000.
In Mindanao, the median SRP threshold stayed at P10,000, while the median SRP gap stayed at P5,000.
SWS said that the SRP Threshold, or the minimum monthly budget self-rated poor families say they need for home expenses in order not to consider themselves as poor, has remained sluggish for several years despite considerable inflation.
“This indicates that poor families have been lowering their living standards, i.e., belt-tightening,” it said.
“In the past, the median SRP Gap has generally been half of the median SRP Threshold. This means that average poor families lack about half of what they need to not consider themselves as poor. An increase in the proportion of the median SRP Gap relative to the median SRP Threshold means a worsening in families’ budget for home expenses,” it added.