SWS poll reflects new low in self-rated poverty in PH

SWS poll reflects new low in self-rated poverty in PH
NEW LOW - The Chart of the 2019 First Quarter survey shows a drop to 38-percent in self-rated poverty in the Philippines, a new low that represents about 9.5 million Filipinos. (Courtesy of SWS)

SWS poll reflects new low
in self-rated poverty in PH

The First Quarter 2019 Social Weather Survey, fielded over March 28-31, 2019, found a new record-low 38% (est. 9.5 million) of families considering themselves as Mahirap or Poor.

This is 12 points below the 50% (est. 11.6 million) in December 2018, and 4 points below the previous record-low of 42% in September 2016 and March 2018 [Chart 1, Table 1].

The new record-low Self-Rated Poverty score is a continuing recovery from the 10-point rise within the first three quarters of 2018. The proportion of Self-Rated Poor families rose from 42% in March 2018, to 48% in June 2018, and 52% in September 2018. It subsided by 2 points to 50% in December and fell to 38% in March 2019.

Self-Rated Food Poor falls to new record-low 27%

The March 2019 survey also found a new record-low 27% (est. 6.8 million) of families rating their food as Mahirap or Poor, termed by SWS as Food-Poor.

This is 7 points below the 34% (est. 7.9 million) in December 2018, and 2 points below the previous record-low of 29% [Chart 2, Table 2].

The new record-low proportion of Self-Rated Food Poor families comes after the recovery from the 7-point increase in Self-Rated Food Poverty in the first three quarters of 2018. The proportion of Self-Rated Food Poor families was at 29% in March 2018. It rose by 5 points to 34% in June, and by 2 points to 36% in September. It decreased by 2 points to 34% in December before falling to 27% in March 2019.

15.3% of Filipino families are newly out of poverty

The March 2019 survey found that of the 62% Self-Rated Non-Poor families, a record-high 15% used to be poor 1-4 years ago (“newly non-poor”), and a record-high 20% used to be poor five or more years ago (“usually non-poor”). The remaining 26% have never experienced poverty (“always non-poor”) [Charts 3 and 4, Table 3].

The survey also found that of the 38% Self-Rated Poor families, 6% used to be non-poor 1-4 years ago (“newly poor”), and 6% used to be non-poor five or more years ago (“usually poor”). The remaining 26%, or about three out of four poor families, have never experienced being non-poor (“always poor”).

Self-rated poverty threshold at P10,000; Self-Rated Poverty Gap at P5,000

The median Self-Rated Poverty Threshold – the monthly budget that a poor household needs for home expenses in order not to consider itself poor in general – is P10,000 [Chart 5, Table 4].

The March 2019 survey found that the median Self-Rated Poverty Gap – the amount poor families lack in monthly home expenses relative to their stated threshold – was unchanged at P5,000, or half of the Self-Rated Poverty Threshold.

Meanwhile, the national median Self-Rated Food Poverty Threshold – the monthly budget that a food-poor household needs for food expenses in order not to consider their food as poor – is at P5,000. [Chart 6, Table 5].

The national median Self-Rated Food Poverty Gap – the amount food-poor families lack in monthly food expenses relative to their stated threshold – is P3,000, or about half of the Self-Rated Food Poverty Threshold.

Self-Rated Poverty down in all areas, record-low in Mindanao

The 12-point decline in nationwide Self-Rated Poverty (SRP) in the first quarter of 2019 was due to decreases of 16 points in Balance Luzon, 12 points in Mindanao, 6 points in the Visayas, and 2 points in Metro Manila.

SRP fell by 16 points in Balance Luzon, from 51% in December to 35% in March 2019. This is the same as the 35% in June 2018 [Chart 7, Table 6].

It fell by 12 points in Mindanao, from 49% in December to a new record-low 37% in March. This is 1 just 1 point below the previous record of 38% in December 2011.

It fell by 6 points in the Visayas, from 61% in December to 55% in March. This is the lowest since the 54% in March 2018.

It fell by 2 points in Metro Manila, from 30% in December to 28% in March. This is similar to the 26% in September 2018.

Food Poverty falls in all areas, record-low in Mindanao and Balance Luzon

The 7-point nationwide decline in Self-Rated Food Poverty (SRFP) in the first quarter of 2019 was due to decreases of 11 points in Mindanao, 7 points in Balance Luzon, 3 points in Metro Manila, and 2 points in the Visayas [Chart 8, Table 7].

SRFP decreased by 11 points in Mindanao, from 38% in December 2018 to a new record-low 27% in March 2019. This surpassed the previous record of 30% in December 2011.

It fell by 8 points in Balance Luzon, from 31% in December to 24% in March. This matches the record-low achieved in September 2016 and March 2018.

It fell increased by 3 points in Metro Manila, from 22% in December to 19% in March. This is the lowest since the 18% in March 2018.

It fell by 2 points in the Visayas, from 44% in December to 42% in March. This is the lowest since the 32% in December 2017.

Poverty thresholds and gaps, by area

Self-Rated Poverty measures the proportion of respondents rating their family as poor or mahirap, while the Self-Rated Poverty Threshold (SRPT) is the minimum monthly budget poor families need for home expenses in order not to be poor. The median Self-Rated Poverty Threshold is what the poorer half of the poor need for home expenses.

Starting November 2010 Social Weather Survey, SWS asked its self-rated poor respondents how much they lack (“Magkano pa po ba ang kulang ninyo sa ngayon?”) in their minimum monthly budgets relative to their SRPT. The answer is called the Self-Rated Poverty Gap (SRPG). The median Self-Rated Poverty Gap is how much the poorer half of the poor lack in order not to be poor.

The March 2019 median SRPTs by area are P20,000 in Metro Manila, P11,000 in Balance Luzon, P10,000 in the Visayas, and P10,000 in Mindanao [Charts 9-12, Tables 8-11].

Compared to December 2018, the latest median SRPT figures were unchanged in the Visayas and Mindanao, down by P3,500 in Balance Luzon, and up by P5,000 in Metro Manila.

On the other hand, the March 2019 median SRPGs by area are P7,000 in Metro Manila, P5,000 in Balance Luzon, P5,000 in the Visayas, and P5,000 in Mindanao.

The latest SRPGs were unchanged in all areas compared to December 2018.

Food Poverty thresholds and gaps, by area

Self-Rated Food Poverty measures the proportion of respondents rating the food their family eats as poor or mahirap, while the Self-Rated Food Poverty Threshold (SRFPT) is the minimum monthly food budget poor families need in order for their food not to be poor. The median Self-Rated Poverty Threshold is what that poorer half of the food-poor need in order not to consider their food as poor.

The Self-Rated Food Poverty Gap (SRFPG) is how much households lack relative to their self-rated food poverty threshold. The median Self-Rated Food Poverty Gap is how much the poorer half of the food-poor lack in order not to consider their food as poor.

The March 2019 median SRFPTs by area are P7,000 in Metro Manila, P6,000 in Balance Luzon, P5,000 in the Visayas, and P5,000 in Mindanao [Chart 13-16, Tables 12-15].

Compared to December 2018, the latest SRFPT figure was unchanged in all areas, except in Balance Luzon where it fell by P1,000.

The March 2019 median SRFPG for poor households is P3,000 in Metro Manila, P2,200 in Balance Luzon, P2,500 in the Visayas, and P3,000 in Mindanao.

The latest SRFPG figures remained unchanged in Metro Manila and Mindanao, up by P500 in the Visayas, and down by P300 in Balance Luzon.

In the past, the median SRPG has generally been half of the median SRPT. Similarly, the median SRFPG has generally been half of the median SRFPT. This means that the poorer half of the poor lack half of what they need to survive.

Survey background

The March 2019 Social Weather Survey was conducted from March 28-31, 2019 using face-to-face interviews of 1,440 adults (18 years old and above) nationwide: 360 each in Balance Luzon, Metro Manila, the Visayas, and Mindanao (sampling error margins of ±2.6% for national percentages, and ±5% each for Balance Luzon, Metro Manila, the Visayas, and Mindanao).

The area estimates were weighted by the Philippine Statistics Authority medium-population projections for 2019 to obtain national estimates.

The SWS survey questions about the family’s self-rated poverty and self-rated food-poverty are directed to the household head. These items are non-commissioned, and are included on SWS’s own initiative and released as a public service.

The survey question on Self-Rated Poverty is as follows: “Saan po ninyo ilalagay ang inyong pamilya sa kard na ito?” [“Where would you place your family in this card?”]. A showcard with the choices HINDI MAHIRAP (Not poor), SA LINYA (On the line), MAHIRAP (Poor) is shown.

The Self-Rated Poverty Threshold is then obtained by a follow-up question: “KUNG MAHIRAP: Upang hindi na masabing mahirap kayo, magkano sa palagay ninyo ang pinakamababang panggastos sa bahay sa isang buwan na kailangan ng inyong pamilya? Hindi po kasama ang mga gastusin na may kinalaman sa trabaho tulad ng pamasahe.” [“IF POOR: In your opinion, how much money would your family need for home expenses each month in order not to be called poor anymore? This excludes work-related expenses like transportation.”].

The survey question on Self-Rated Poverty Gap is as follows: “KUNG MAHIRAP: Sinabi po ninyo na P(MENTION ANSWER) ang pinakamababang panggastos sa bahay sa isang buwan na kailangan ng inyong pamilya upang hindi na masabing mahirap kayo. Magkano pa po ba ang kulang ninyo sa ngayon?” [IF POOR: You said that P(MENTION ANSWER) is the amount of money that your family would need for home expenses each month in order not to be called poor anymore. How much DO YOU LACK now?].

For Self-Rated Food Poverty: “Tungkol naman sa klase ng pagkain ng pamilya ninyo, saan po ninyo ilalagay ang inyong pamilya sa kard na ito?” [“Based on the type of food eaten by your family, where would you place your family on this card?”] A similar showcard with the choices HINDI MAHIRAP (Not poor), SA LINYA (On the line), MAHIRAP (Poor) is shown to the respondent.

The Self-Rated Food Poverty Threshold is obtained by a follow-up question: “KUNG MAHIRAP: Upang hindi na masabing mahirap kayo, batay sa pagkain, magkano sa palagay ninyo ang pinakamababang panggastos sa pagkain sa isang buwan na kailangan ng inyong pamilya?” [“IF POOR:  In your opinion, how much money would your family need for food expenses each month in order not to be called poor anymore in terms of food?”].

For Self-Rated Food Poverty Gap: “KUNG MAHIRAP: Sinabi po ninyo na P(MENTION ANSWER) ang pinakamababang panggastos sa pagkain sa isang buwan na kailangan ng inyong pamilya upang hindi na masabing mahirap kayo batay sa pagkain. Magkano pa po ba ang kulang ninyo sa ngayon?” [IF POOR: You said that P(MENTION ANSWER) is the amount of money that your family would need for food expenses each month in order not to be called poor anymore in terms of food. How much DO YOU LACK now?].

SWS employs its own staff for questionnaire design, sampling, fieldwork, data-processing, and analysis, and does not outsource any of its survey operations. This report was prepared by Leo S. Laroza and Jose Miguel Alberto M. Carlos.

 

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