11M Filipino families consider themselves as poor

A family of informal settlers put together garlands of Sampaguita or Jasmine to sell, under the Congressional Ave. bridge in Quezon City. Building on the consistent economic growth of the past 6 years, the Duterte Adminsitration looks to set the stage of elevating the country to having a mostly middle-income society by 2040, by investing heavily in infrastructure and education.

MANILA — An estimated 10.9-million Filipino families are considering themselves as “mahirap” or poor, three points higher than the recorded data in June this year based on the latest Social Weather Stations survey released Friday.

According to the survey fielded on September 23 to 27 this year, the results showed that 47 percent or at least 10.9 million are self-rated poor families, higher than the 44 percent or estimated 10.1 million in June 2017.

The proportion of self-rated poor families, based on the SWS data, had a sharp increase from 44 percent in December 2016 to 50 percent in March this year. Before this, it had been either steady or declining for nine consecutive quarters from the fourth quarter of 2014 to the fourth quarter of 2016.

The recent survey also found that 32 percent or an estimated 7.4-million families rate their food as “mahirap” or poor which is called by the SWS as “Food-Poor,” which is slightly similar to the 32 percent or an estimated 7.3-million families in June 2017.

Since the surveys on self-rated poor respondents in December 2014, the latest results found that three-fourths or 36 percent of them have always been poor, while one-fourth or 11 percent were not poor sometime in the past.

Among these 11 percent, 6 percent said that they are “newly poor” or those who became poor sometime in the last four years, and 5 percent are “usually poor” (became poor five or more years ago).

Meanwhile, on the self-rated nonpoor families, half or 25 percent of them said they have never been poor, while the other half or 27 percent were poor sometime in the past.

Of these 27 percent, 11 percent are “newly nonpoor” (families who were poor sometime in the last four years), and 15 percent are “usually nonpoor” (families who were poor five or more years ago).

Overall, the three-point nationwide rise in the self-rated poverty rate in the third quarter of 2017 was because of a sharp increase in Balance Luzon and a slight boost in Metro Manila, offset by decreases in poverty in Visayas and Mindanao.

A 16-point increase of self-rated poverty was recorded in Balance Luzon from 34 percent in June 2017 to 50 percent in September 2017, similar to 50 percent in March this year. It also rose by three points in Metro Manila from 28 percent in June to 31 percent in September.

A decrease by 8 points from 64 percent to 56 percent, and 12 points from 57 percent to 45 percent, is noted in the Visayas and Mindanao, respectively.

Meanwhile, the steady self-rated food poverty rate was due to four- and five-point increase in Metro Manila and Balance Luzon, respectively, and six- and seven-point decline in Visayas and Mindanao.