11.4 M Filipino families see selves poor

MANILA — Some 52 percent of Filipino families—or about 11.4 million households—see themselves as poor in the last quarter of 2014, a new survey by pollster Social Weather Stations showed.

The SWS said the survey conducted Nov. 27 to Dec. 1 showed this was slightly down from the 55 percent (12.1 million households) in the third quarter.

It added this was the lowest self-rated poverty rate in the last five quarters.

But the SWS also noted that despite this slight improvement, 2014 was the worst in eight years in terms of self-rated poverty.

On the other hand, the SWS noted 41 percent or about 9.1 million families considered themselves food-poor, slightly down from the 43 percent in the third quarter.

SWS noted the average self-rated food poverty rate for 2014, at 41 percent, is worse than the 39 percent in 2013 and the same as in 2012.

Results of the survey were posted late Sunday night on the website of SWS’ media partner BusinessWorld.

The SWS conducted the survey from Nov. 27 to Dec. 1 among 1,800 adults nationwide,

Sampling error margins of ±2% for national percentages; ±6% each for Metro Manila, Balance Luzon and Mindanao; and ±3% for the Visayas applied to the survey.

‘Worst’ full-year average since 2006

The SWS said the full-year average of self-rated poverty for 2014 is 54 percent, the worst since in the Aquino administration. It was also the same in 2006.

It also noted the three-point drop in self-rated poverty was mainly due to a decrease by seven points in Balance Luzon. It remained steady in other parts of the country.

By geographic area

By geographic area, self-rated poverty dropped points in Balance Luzon to 45 percent in December 2014 from 52 percent in the third quarter.

SWS said this brought the average self-rated poverty rate in Luzon areas outside Metro Manila to 48 percent, similar to the average for the same area in 2013.

But self-rated poverty in Metro Manila was at 43 percent, the same as in the third quarter. This brought the 2014 average self-rated poverty to 40 percent, the lowest since 39 percent in 2007.

In the Visayas, it remained at 65 percent, in the Visayas, bringing the 2014 average there to 67 percent. This was the worst since 57 percent in 2011.

Meanwhile, in Mindanao, self-rated poverty was at 60 percent, compared to 61 percent in September. This brought Mindanao’s average self-rated poverty rate for 2014 to 62 percent, seven points higher than 55 percent in 2013 but below 67 percent in 2012.

‘Negligible’ improvement in food poverty

SWS also noted the self-rated food poverty this quarter was due to drops in Metro Manila and the Visayas, but remained steady in Balance Luzon and Mindanao.

In Metro Manila, it said self-rated food poverty fell six points to 24 percent in the fourth quarter from 30 percent in the third. This meant Metro Manila’s average self-rated food poverty rate was 27 percent this year, two points below 29 percent in 2013.

In the Visayas, food poverty fell to 51 percent this quarter from 53 percent in the last. The average rate for 2014 in the Visayas was at 51 percent, the worst since 62 percent in 2003.

In Balance Luzon, food poverty remained at 37 percent, bringing the 2014 average to 36 percent.

On the other hand, it remained at 52 percent from last quarter in Mindanao, meaning the 2014 average rate was 50 percent—higher than the 2013 average of 44 percent.

Poverty threshold record high for NCR, Visayas

The SWS showed the self-rated poverty threshold, or the monthly budget poor households need for home expenses not to consider themselves poor in general, was at a record high in Metro Manila and Visayas.

In Metro Manila, this was P20,000 from P15,000 in the third quarter; and P12,000 from P8,000 in the Visayas.

But the threshould stayed at P10,000 in Mindanao, and fell to P8,000 from P10,000 in Balance Luzon.

SWS said the minimum home budget is less than the minimum income that a household needs because it excludes work-related expenses like transportation.

“The December 2014 median self-rated poverty thresholds in Metro Manila, the Visayas and Mindanao are at the highest levels ever reached in those areas, while the latest figure of P8,000 in Balance Luzon was previously surpassed in September 2014 when it was at P10,000,” it said.

As for self-rated food poverty threshold or the monthly food budget that food-poor households need so they would not consider themselves food-poor, this also saw record highs in Metro Manila and the Visayas.

“The median food poverty threshold is the food budget that would satisfy the poorer half of food-poor households,” the report read further.

SWS noted the median self-rated food poverty thresholds in Metro Manila and the Visayas for December 2014 are at the highest levels ever reached in those areas.

In Metro Manila, the fourth quarter median self-rated food poverty threshold was at P9,000 from P8,000.

It was P5,000 in the Visayas from P3,550; and P4,000 each in Balance Luzon from P5,250 and Mindanao from P5,000.