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SWS survey 2023 shows growing perception of poverty among Filipinos

With inflation on the rise, 48% of Filipinos now consider themselves poor, up from 45% in June 2023, according to a Social Weather Station (SWS) survey conducted from September 28 to October 1, 2023.

The SWS reported that the number of families self-identifying as poor has increased to 13.2 million compared to 12.5 million in June 2023.

Among these families, 1.8 million are experiencing poverty for the first time while approximately 9.7 million families said they have always been poor, and 1.7 million families indicate they are usually poor.

The survey revealed the most significant increase in self-rated poverty in Mindanao, rising to 71% from 54% in June. In Metro Manila, the figure climbed to 38% from 35%, and in the Visayas, it increased to 59% from 57%. However, in Balance Luzon, which excludes Metro Manila, self-rated poverty dropped to 35% from 39%.

Those who consider themselves poor said they require at least P15,000 per month for household expenses. This threshold has remained consistent for the past seven quarters, which, according to the SWS, suggests that poor families are lowering their living standards and tightening their belts. This is a concerning trend for an economy primarily driven by consumer spending.

In Metro Manila, the monthly expense threshold stayed at P20,000, but it dropped to P13,500 in Balance Luzon. In the Visayas and Mindanao, the threshold remained at P15,000.

The gap between the required threshold and respondents’ actual income decreased to P5,000 in September, down from P7,000 in June. In Metro Manila, this gap increased to P10,000 from P9,000, while in Balance Luzon, it fell to P5,000 from P7,000. In the Visayas, the gap remained at P6,000, but it dropped to P5,000 from P7,000 in Mindanao.

The SWS survey also found that the percentage of families experiencing hunger remained at 34%. The self-rated food poverty threshold—how much families feel they need to avoid hunger—has stayed at P8,000 for the past three quarters.

Families falling short of this threshold said they lack P3,000 to meet it. In Metro Manila, this threshold increased to P10,000 from P8,500 in June 2023, and the gap increased to P5,000 from P3,000. In Balance Luzon, the threshold rose to P8,000 from P7,000, with the gap remaining at P3,000. In the Visayas, the food poverty threshold and the gap stayed at P8,000 and P3,000, respectively.

However, in Mindanao, the threshold decreased to P6,000 from P7,000, and the gap reduced to P2,750 from P3,000.

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