SWS: Families in Mindanao who consider themselves poor decline to 37%

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 20 June – The number of families in Mindanao who considered themselves poor has declined to 37% in the first quarter of 2019, the lowest in almost a decade, according to the first quarter 2019 survey of the Social Weather Survey (SWS) on Self-Rated Poverty (SRP) released on June 18.

Rummaging through a garbage dumpsite in Cagayan de Oro City. MindaNews file photo by FROILAN GALLARDO

The polling firm said the first quarter self-rated poverty of Mindanao improved by 12 percentage points from 49% recorded in the last quarter of 2018, going below the island’s previous lowest record of 38% in December 2011.

Administered on 1,440 adults aged 18 years old and above from March 18 to 31 nationwide, the country’s self-rated poverty found a new record-low of 38%, or an estimated 9.5 million families, a decrease of 12 percentage points from 50% in the last quarter of 2018, and 4 points lower than the previous record-low of 42% in September 2016 and March 2018.

The SWS said the self-rated poverty (SRP) score is a “continuing recovery from the 10-point rise within the first three quarters of 2018” where the proportion of families who considered themselves poor saw a continuous rise from 42% in March 2018, 48% in June 2018, and 52% in September 2018. The SRP score eased up a bit to 50% in the last quarter of 2018.

Other than Mindanao, the SRP of Balance Luzon went down by 16 points, from 51% in December to 35% in March 2019; 6 points in the Visayas, from 61% in December to 55% in March; and 2 points in Metro Manila, from 30% in December to 28% in March.

Results of the survey had also shown an improvement in terms of the Self-Rated Food Poor families, which noted a new record-low of 27%, or an estimate of 6.8 million families, from 34% in December 2018.

“The new record-low proportion of Self-Rated Food Poor families comes after the recovery from the 7-point increase in Self-Rated Food Poverty in the first three quarters of 2018,” it said. The proportion of Self-Rated Food Poor families stood at 29% in March 2018, went up to 34% in June, and peaked at 35% in September, before easing up to 34% in December.

Of the 62% Self-Rated Non-Poor families, the SWS said 15% used to be poor one to four years ago (newly non-poor); 20% used to be poor five or more years ago (usually non-poor); and 26% have never experienced poverty.

Among the 38% Self-Rated Poor Families, the SWS said 6% were non-poor one to four years ago (newly poor); 6% non-poor five or more years ago (usually poor); and 26% have not experienced being non-poor (always poor).

The median self-rated poverty threshold, or the “monthly budget that a poor household needs for home expenses in order not to consider itself poor,” was P10,000.

The SWS said the median Self-Rated Poverty Gap or the “amount poor families lack in monthly home expenses relative to their stated threshold” remained the same at P5,000.

The food poverty fell to record-lows in Mindanao and Balance Luzon, according to SWS. Mindanao’s food poverty decreased by 11 points, from 38% in December 2018 to a new record-low 27% in March 2019, while Balance Luzon’s fell by 7 points, from 31% in December to 24% in March.

Metro Manila’s food poverty decreased by 3 points, from 22% in December to 19% in March, and Visayas’s by 2 points, from 44% in December to 42% in March. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)