THE number of Filipinos who considered themselves poor went up to 44 percent in the fourth quarter of 2016, yielding “a new record-low annual average,” the latest Social Weather Stations survey says.
The polling firm says 44 percent or around 10-million families considered themselves poor in the survey that was first published in Business World on Monday.
That was two points above the 42 percent average in self-rated poverty for the third quarter of 2016 or around 9.4 million families.
The quarterly self-poverty rate as of December brought the average annual rate to 44 percent, which is lower than the 47 percent recorded in 1987.
The latest survey was conducted on Dec. 3 to 6 via face-to-face interviews with 1,500 adults nationwide, and with sampling error margins of ±3 points for the national percentages, ±4 for “Balance Luzon” and ±6 points each for Metro Manila, the Visayas and Mindanao.
SWS says the self-rated poverty reading “has been either steady or declining for nine consecutive quarters-from 52 percent in December 2014 to 51 percent in March and June 2015, 50 percent in September and December 2015, 46 percent in April 2016, 45 percent in June 2016, 42 percent in September 2016, and 44 percent in December 2016.”
December took last year’s self-rated poverty average rate to 44 percent, six points below 2015’s average and, SWS noted, “a new record-low annual average that surpassed the previous record low of 47 percent in 1987.”
Last quarter saw an eight-point increase in “Balance Luzon” to 42 percent from September’s 34 percent, which was matched by drops of five points in Metro Manila (to 31 percent from 36 percent) and two points in Mindanao (to 47 percent from 49 percent). The rate was a flat 56 percent in the Visayas.
The same survey also found that 34 percent of the respondents, or an estimated 7.7-million families, considered the type of food they ate as food for the poor, up four points from September’s 30 percent or an estimated 6.7-million families.
The movement was due to increases of eight, seven and three points in “Balance Luzon” (to 32 percent from a record-low 24 percent in September), the Visayas (43 percent from 36 percent) and Metro Manila (to 23 percent from 20 percent) that offset a four-point drop in Mindanao to 37 percent from 41 percent.
The fourth-quarter reading brought the 2016 average self-rated food poverty rate to 32 percent, also a new record-low average that surpassed the previous record-low 35 percent that was recorded in 2015.
SWS says the reading on “self-rated food-poor has been either steady or declining for six consecutive quarters, from 35 percent in September 2015 to 33 percent in December 2015, 31 percent in April… and June 2016, 30 percent in September 2016 and 34 percent in December 2016.”
The SWS survey placed the median self-rated poverty threshold”•the lowest monthly home expense budget needed by the poorer half of the poor households not to consider themselves as such”•at P18,000 in Metro Manila as well as P10,000 in “Balance Luzon,” the Visayas and Mindanao.
The median food poverty threshold”•the lowest monthly food budget needed by the poorer half of “food-poor” families not to consider themselves as such”•was P10,000 in Metro Manila, P4,000 in Mindanao and P5,000 in “Balance Luzon” and the Visayas.