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Are we poor?

Poverty continues to haunt the Philippines, as almost half of adult Filipinos consider their families poor, a recent survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations showed.

The results of the September 29 to October 2 survey showed that self-rated poverty slightly increased from 48 percent in June to 49 percent, representing an increase from 12.2 million to 12.6 million poor families. This is the highest self-rated poverty in the country since the 49 percent obtained in a similar survey conducted in May 2021.

Among the surveyed, self-rated poverty was highest among respondents in the Visayas at 68 percent, followed by those in Mindanao at 64 percent, Metro Manila at 44 percent and the rest of Luzon at 36 percent.

On the other hand, the number of respondents who rated their families as “borderline poor” dropped from 31 percent to 29 percent, while those who said their families were “not poor” stayed at 21 percent.

Of the estimated 12.6 million self-rated poor families, SWS said 7.7 percent or two million were “newly poor” or those who did not consider themselves as poor one to four years ago. An estimated 1 million said their families were “usually poor” while 9.6 million consider their families as “always poor.”

As rising inflation continues to bear down on the nation, the numbers of those who rate themselves as poor should continue to rise, especially if government fails to take the appropriate action to reign in poverty by lowering the cost of living or increasing employment and income opportunities among poor Filipinos who live a hand to mouth existence.

Poverty has been a part of life in the Philippines for many decades now, and there must be a reason why attempts to reduce it significantly have so far been proven to be unsustainable. Until government can come up with a formula that is feasible, doable and sustainable, we won’t be able to make a noticeable dent in the numbers of the millions of Filipinos who consider themselves poor.*

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November 2022
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