More than half of Filipinos claimed being poor in the first quarter of 2015, according to a survey conducted by pollster Social Weather Stations (SWS).
The “self-rated poverty” poll found 51 percent of Filipino adults or about 11.4 million households consider themselves poor.
The survey was conducted from March 20 to 23 using face-to-face interviews of 1,200 adults nationwide, 300 each in Metro Manila, rest of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.
“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 always included on SWS’s own initiative and released as a public service, with first printing rights assigned to BusinessWorld,” the SWS explained.
According to the polling firm, the first quarter’s 51 percent was “unchanged” from the 52 percent who rated themselves poor in the last quarter of 2014.
Also, this was just three points below the 54 percent average for the four quarters of 2014, the SWS said.
The 2014 self-rated poverty average was the worst during the Aquino administration, matching the average in 2006.
Meanwhile, there was a 12-point decline in self-rated poverty in Metro Manila, from 43 to 31 percent. The 31-percent figure is the lowest since June 2004.
But in the Visayas, self-rated poverty rose five points to 70 percent from 65 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014.
There was also a two-point increase in Mindanao to 62 percent from 60 percent.
In Balance Luzon, self-rated poverty slipped to 44 percent from 45 percent in December.
The SWS first quarter poll used face-to-face interviews with 1,200 adult Filipinos nationwide. Sampling error margins of ±3 points for national percentages and ±6 points each for Metro Manila, Balance Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao applied to the survey.
The SWS poll also found a slight improvement among those who rated themselves “food-poor,” with a five-point decrease to 36 percent (about 7.9 million families) in the first quarter of 2015 from the previous quarter’s 41 percent (about 9.1 million families).
It attributed the drop to decreases of nine points in “Balance Luzon” to a record-low 28 percent in March, four points in Metro Manila to 20 percent that was the lowest since the record-low 19 percent notched in March 2001 and six points in the Visayas to 45 percent that was the lowest since June 2013’s 44 percent, as well as 52 percent in Mindanao that was steady since the September 2014 survey.
Also, the poll found that the median self-rated poverty threshold, or the lowest monthly home expense budget needed by the poorer half of poor households not to consider themselves as such, was at P15,000 in Metro Manila from P20,000 the previous quarter.
It was also P15,000 in Balance Luzon from P8,000; P10,000 in the Visayas from P12,000; and unchanged in Mindanao.
The SWS noted that the amounts for “Balance Luzon” and Mindanao “are at the highest levels…”
Median food poverty threshol–the lowest monthly food budget needed by the poorer half of “food-poor” families not to consider themselves as such–was P9,000 in Metro Manila, P6,000 in Balance Luzon,” P4,750 in the Visayas and P5,000 in Mindanao.
The SWS said the amounts for most areas, except for the Visayas, were at record-high levels.