THE NUMBER of families considering themselves as mahirap or poor dropped 3 points to 44% (est. 10.0 million) in the Social Weather Stations’ (SWS) Fourth Quarter 2017 Social Weather Survey, after an increase to 47% in September that year.
From the period of December 2016 to September 2017, the proportion of self-rated poor families decreased once, in June, to 44%, after a steady rise from 44% in December 2016 to 50% in March the following year.
Self-rated poverty (SRP) in 2017 had an average of 46%, 2 points short of the record-low average 44% the previous year, SWS said.
“The December 2017 survey also found 32% (est. 7.3 million) of families rating their food as mahirap or poor, termed by SWS as Food-Poor,” the survey said. “This is unchanged from the 32% (est. 7.4 million) in September 2017.”
Self-rated food poverty (SRFP) in 2017 had an average of 33%, 2 points above the record-low 31% of 2016. Meanwhile, the median Self-Rated Poverty Threshold (SRPT) — the monthly budget that a poor household needs for home expenses in order not to consider itself poor in general — is P15,000, from the P10,000 threshold in President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s first year in office and throughout much of the term of his predecessor Benigno S. C. Aquino III. The December median SRPTs by area are P20,000 in Metro Manila, P14,500 in Balance Luzon, P15,000 in the Visayas, and P10,000 in Mindanao.
The latest SRPTs for Metro Manila, the Visayas, and Mindanao are the highest recorded values in those areas, SWS noted, whereas the SRPT for Balance Luzon was previously surpassed by P15,000 in June 2017.
The median Self-Rated Poverty Gap (SRPG) — the amount poor families lack in monthly home expenses relative to their stated threshold — was unchanged at P5,000, or one-third of SRPT. The December 2017 median SRPGs by area are P5,000 in Metro Manila, P6,000 in Balance Luzon, P5,000 in the Visayas, and P5,000 in Mindanao. The latest SRPG for Balance Luzon increased, while other SRPGs remained steady or decreased compared to September 2017.
Except for the unchanged Self-Rated Poverty Gap, these values are higher in December 2017 compared to September 2017, SWS noted.
The national median Self-Rated Food Poverty Threshold (SRFPT) — 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 (SRFPG) — the amount food-poor families lack in monthly food expenses relative to their stated threshold — is P3,000, or half of SRFPT. The December 2017 median SRFPTs by area are P7,500 in Metro Manila, P6,000 in Balance Luzon, P5,500 in the Visayas, and P5,000 in Mindanao. The latest figure for the Visayas is the highest recorded value for that area. Compared to September 2017, figures in Balance Luzon and Mindanao stayed the same, while it declined to a near record-low in Metro Manila. The December 2017 median SRFPG for poor households is P3,000 in Metro Manila, P3,000 in Balance Luzon, P3,000 in the Visayas, and P2,000 in Mindanao. The latest SRFPG for the Visayas is a new record-high for the area. SRFPGs in all other areas remained the same as in September 2017.
SRP’s fourth-quarter nationwide decline was due to a sharp decrease of 10 points in Balance Luzon (to 40%) and slight decrease of 3 points both in Metro Manila (28%) and the Visayas (53%), offset by an increase of 7 points in Mindanao (52%).
Balance Luzon had an average self-rated poverty of 43% in 2017, 3 points higher than the 40% in 2016. Visayas had an average SRP of 58% for 2017, 3 points higher than the 55% in 2016. And Mindanao had an average SRP of 52% for 2017, 1 point above the 51% in 2016. Metro Manila had a record-low average SRP of 31% for 2017, 1 point lower than the 32% in 2016. “This happened only once before, in 1987,” SWS said.
The steady nationwide SRFP in the fourth quarter was due to 2-point increases in Mindanao (to 38%) and Metro Manila (22%), combined with a 6-point decrease in the Visayas (32%), and a steady score in Balance Luzon (32%). Balance Luzon had an average SRFP of 33% for 2017, 5 points above the record-low 28% in 2016. Visayas had the same average SRFP of 37%, as in 2016. And Mindanao had a record-low average SRFP of 36% for 2017, 2 points below 38% in 2016 and 2010. Metro Manila had a new record-low average SRFP of 20% for 2017, 1 point below the previous record of 21% in 2016. The survey was conducted from Dec. 8 to 16, 2017, using face-to-face interviews of 1,200 adults (18 years old and above) nationwide: 300 each in Metro Manila, Balance Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao (sampling error margins of ±2.5% for national percentages, and ±6% each for Metro Manila, Balance Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao).