The number of Filipino families who experienced involuntary hunger rose to 3.1 million in the first quarter of the year, the Social Weather Stations (SWS) found in its latest survey.
The SWS poll, taken from March 30 to April 2, found 13.7 percent of respondents or an estimated 3.1 million families saying they experienced “involuntary hunger” at least once in the past three months.
The latest hunger rate is two points higher than the 11.7 percent (2.6 million families) recorded in the December survey.
Nevertheless, 2016’s hunger numbers are less than a point from 2015’s first quarter hunger rate of 13.5 percent, and 2015’s whole year-average of 13.4 percent.
The first quarter-2016 rate is composed of 11.6 percent or about 2.6 million families who experienced “moderate hunger,” having gone hungry once or a few times during the first three months of the year; and 2.1 percent or an estimated 481,000 families who suffered “severe hunger,” or having gone hungry often or always during the first quarter.
Moderate hunger refers to suffering from involuntary hunger “only once” or “a few times” in the past three months, while “severe hunger” pertains to experiencing or feeling hunger “often” or “always” in the last three months.
The SWS explained that increase in the first quarter hunger rate resulted from the six-point rise in Mindanao to 19 percent or an estimated 978,000 families from the previous 13 percent or 658,000 families.
There was also a 2.6-point increment in Luzon areas outside Metro Manila, from 9.7 percent of 952,000 families in December last year to 12.3 percent or 1.2 million families during the 2016’s first quarter.
These increases offset a three-point decline in Metro Manila from 17 percent (513,000 families) to 14 percent (429,000 families) and a one point dip in the Visayas from 11.3 percent (484,000 families) to 10.3 percent (449,000 families).
Results of the latest SWS survey on hunger were published in the newspaper BusinessWorld on Monday.
The SWS poll used face-to-face interviews of 1,500 adults nationwide.
It has sampling error margins of plus or minus three percentage points for national percentages and plus or minus six percentage points each for Metro Manila, Balance Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao.