52% rate themselves as ‘poor’ – SWS poll

Published by rudy Date posted on January 13, 2009

The number of families considering themselves as poor stayed at 52 percent, the same as the September 2008 figure, according to the latest Social Weather Station (SWS) survey.

About 52 percent Filipino families consider themselves poor, while the remaining percentage was divided equally—with 24 percent each—among those who believe they are along the poverty borderline and those who considers themselves not poor, according to the Fourth Quarter 2008 Survey by SWS conducted from November 28 to December 1, 2008.

The latest self-rated poverty rate puts to 53 percent the 2008 average—with figures ranging from 50 percent to 52 percent for the most part of 2008. The figure only soared once to 59 percent during the second quarter of the year.

The 2008 average is slightly similar to 2006’s 54 percent and above the 50-percent average in 2007.

The survey also includes Filipino families’ estimation on their “Food-Poor” level, with 42 percent considering themselves as “food-poor.” Another 30 percent said they were on the “Food-Borderline,” while the remaining 28 percent put themselves on “Not Food-Poor.”

December 2008’s self-rated food poverty reflected a four-point increase over the 38 percent in September last year.

It brings to 42 percent the 2008 average on self-rated food poverty—similar with that of 2006 and higher than 2007’s 38 percent.

Regional perceptions

Rise in self-rated food poverty reflects the largest in Mindanao with an increase of 20 points from 31 percent in September to 51 percent in December. It only rose 2 percent in Metro Manila, from 40 percent to 42 percent.

Poverty rates, according to a SWS press statement, declined in Luzon but rose in Mindanao and in Metro Manila.

Self-rated poverty in Luzon (outside of Metro Manila) dropped seven points from 51 percent in September 2008 to December’s 44 percent—only slightly higher than its recorded low of 42 percent in March 2005.

The same survey puts Visayas’ self-rated poverty figure at 60 percent and Mindanao’s at 59 percent—both rising five and seven points, respectively, from September 2008.

Rural area residents seem to have been feeling the effect of poverty more, with 56 percent against those who live in urban areas with 47 percent.

‘Poverty’ threshold

The self-rated poverty Threshold remains at P10,000 monthly, despite its supposed 58-percent increase by the Consumer Price Index (CPI). CPI is the main measure of inflation.

In Mindanao, the threshold was at P5,000, even though it had already reached to as much as P10,000 before.

“The NCR [National Capital Region] median poverty threshold of P10,000 per month for December 2008 is equivalent to only P6,489 in base year 2000 purchasing power, after deflation by the CPI. The deflated poverty threshold for NCR of below P7,000 per month is a throw-back to living standards of twenty years ago,” the survey reported.

The self-rated poverty threshold refers to the monthly budget a poor household needs in order not to consider themselves poor.

“It [threshold] has been sluggish for several years despite considerable inflation. This indicates that poor families have been lowering their living standards, i.e., belt-tightening,” the survey added.

Poverty thresholds for poor households in the balance of Luzon (all regions on the main island, except Metro Manila) is marked at P7,000 and P6,000 in Visayas.

In December 2008, meanwhile, the food poverty threshold was put at P5,000 in Metro Manila, P4,000 in the balance of Luzon, P4,000 in Visayas and P3,000 in Mindanao.

The SWS survey was conducted using face-to-face interviews with 1,500 adults nationwide. The survey has a sampling error margin of plus or minus 2.5 percent for national figures, plus or minus 6 percent for Metro Manila, Visayas and Mindanao and plus or minus 4 percent for the balance of Luzon.
— Bernice Camille V. Bauzon, Manila Times

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