Hunger drops to single digit in Q1 SWS survey

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THE SHARE of families that experienced involuntary hunger at least once in the past three months fell by 6 points from 15% to 9.9%, or around 2.3 million families in the first quarter of 2018, according to the First Quarter 2018 Social Weather Survey by the Social Weather Stations (SWS).

SWS noted this is only the second time hunger has been in the single-digit range since March 2004’s 7.4%.

The survey gauges a family’s experience of hunger according to the “involuntary suffering” they experienced due to food scarcity.

Quarterly Hunger by this year’s first quarter survey is the sum of 8.6% (est. 2.0 million families) who experienced Moderate Hunger and 1.3% (est. 306,000 families) who experienced Severe Hunger, SWS noted.

(Moderate Hunger refers to those who experienced hunger “Only Once” or “A Few Times” in the last three months, while Severe Hunger refers to those who experienced it “Often” or “Always” in the last three months. The polling group said respondents who did not state their frequency of hunger were classified under Moderate Hunger.)

Moderate Hunger fell by 3.6 points (from 12.2% in December 2017 to 8.6% in March 2018), the lowest since the 7.9% in June 2017, and Severe Hunger fell by 2.4 points (from 3.7% in December to 1.3% in March), the lowest since the 1.2% in September 2003.

SWS also found the hunger rate falling in all areas, particularly Metro Manila and Mindanao, which respectively lost 8.7 points from 14.7% (est. 457,000 families) to 6.0% (est. 190,000 families), and 8 points from 15.3% (est. 802,000 families) to 7.33% (est. 390,000 families).

Quarterly Hunger fell by 6.7 points in Balance Luzon, from in 17.7% (est. 1.8 million families) in December to 11.0% in March (est. 1.1 million families).

In the Visayas, Quarterly Hunger decreased slightly by 0.3 points from 13.3% (est. 589,000 families) in December to 13.0% in March (est. 583,000 families).

SWS said the drop in Quarterly Hunger was also “due to a decrease in the incidence of Hunger among both the Self-Rated Poor and Self-Rated Non-Poor.”

Quarterly Hunger fell by 8.2 points among the Self-Rated Poor, from 24.9% in December to 16.7% in March. SWS noted that this is similar to the 16.7% in September 2017. It also fell by 4.0 points among the Non-poor (Not Poor plus Borderline) over the same period, going from 8.9% to 4.9%, which the polling group said is the lowest since June 2015.

Hunger also fell among the Self-Rated Food Poor, falling by 8.0 points from 28.8% in December to 20.8% in March. It also fell by 4.5 points among the Not Food-Poor/Food-Borderline, from 9.9% to 5.4%.

The noncommissioned survey was conducted from March 23-27, using face-to-face interviews of 1,200 adults nationwide: 300 each in Metro Manila, Balance Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, with sampling error margins of ±3% for national percentages and ±6% each for the said areas. — Charmaine A. Tadalan